Last Updated on August 5, 2022 by Griselda M.
Growing acorn squash is rewarding as you get to harvest a large crop of about five fruits per plant from some varieties.
Acorn squash is a type of winter squash that is similar to pumpkins. Keep reading to learn the differences between both fruits and to know how to grow acorn squash.
Differences Between Acorn Squash And Pumpkin
The major differences between these two fruits are:
- Acorn squash and pumpkins vary by the shape of the fruit, the size of the fruit, and the seeds. Acorn squash is round in shape and has about 4-6 seeds in each fruit. Pumpkins have a different shape and have a hard shell with one seed inside.
- When you pick acorn squash, the skin is should be tough and green, with the flesh being tender and delicious. When harvesting pumpkins, they will also have tough skin and should be fully colored with firm flesh.
- As for the nutrition values, the acorn squash has about 115 calories per cup while the pumpkin has about 137 calories per cup. Acorn squash also has more fiber and less fat than pumpkin. However, if you want to make the best-tasting pumpkin pie, then it’s better to buy canned pumpkin instead of acorn squash.
- After cooking, pumpkins will have a crunchy texture while acorn squash will have a softer texture.
- Pumpkins are larger than acorn squash. Pumpkins are large, orange-fleshed gourds that are grown as a fruit. Acorn squash is a small, yellow-fleshed gourd that is grown as a fruit.
- Acorn squash and pumpkin can be eaten raw, though pumpkins taste better when cooked.
Growing Acorn Squash – Step By Step Guide
Growing acorn squash from seed is easy and fun. It’s the best way to start your own garden. Growing acorn squash from seed takes about 80-100 days and is a great learning experience.
The seeds are inexpensive and can be planted directly into the ground without first having to be soaked. Acorn squash seeds take about six weeks to germinate, so you will have a baby acorn squash in about two months. It’s a wonderful winter squash that grows large and tastes delicious.
Let’s see how we can grow acorn squash from seeds:
Step 1: Preparing seeds
First of all, you need to get good quality seeds. The best way is to buy it from a specialized shop. If you don’t have one near you, you can try to find it online. When buying the seeds, make sure they are healthy and fresh. It’s better to get them in a shop where they keep them in cool, dry conditions.
Step 2: Germinate
Place the seeds on a damp paper towel to help them germinate. However, this is not necessary if the growing medium is moist and warm. The germination period will last around 6 to 12 days.
Step 3: Plant
Once germinated, plant them in a pot with a little soil. Plant the seeds in a sunny spot, but not in direct sunlight. When the seeds sprout, keep an eye on them. Make sure that they don’t dry out.
Step 4: Harvest
When the squash is ready to be harvested, it should have a nice shape and size. You can start picking them when they are small, but it’s better to wait until they are big enough to eat. It will take between 10 to 12 weeks to grow the acorn squash.
Step 6: Ready to eat!
Once the acorn squash is ready to eat, you can cut off the stem and peel off the skin. If you want, you can wash the squash, but it’s not necessary. It’s also possible to eat it raw. The acorn squash is an easy and healthy food to add to your diet.
Requirements For Growing Acorn Squash
The following are some of the things you should know about growing acorn squash.
- Acorn squash is winter squash. It can be grown during the summer if it is protected from freezing temperatures.
- The ideal soil temperature for growing acorn squash is 70°F to 75°F. If you live in a colder area, you may want to grow it indoors.
- You should plant your squash seeds no more than one inch deep and at least two inches apart in full sun. The direct sun makes them sweeter.
- Water your squash plants thoroughly when they are small. Don’t let your squash sit in water; allow it to dry out before watering again.
- Fertilize your squash plants with a slow-release fertilizer every two weeks until the plants start producing fruit.
Take-Home – Growing Acorn Squash
Growing acorn squash is easy and fast and you can expect a big harvest from a few plants. As long as you provide them with the right growing conditions, acorn squash will be good to go.
You can grow them in a container on a deck or patio. You can also plant them in the garden. However, be sure to provide a trellis so that they don’t fall over. When growing squash in a container, add a few small stones to help the roots establish themselves.
What does acorn squash look like when growing?
Acorn squash is a round, oblong, or pear-shaped fruit with green skin and tan flesh. It grows in a bunch of 5 to 8 fruits on a long stem called a “pistil.” The stem is about 2 feet long.
What is the growing season for acorn squash?
The growing season for acorn squash is between March and November.
How long is the growing cycle of acorn squash?
According to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) publication, "Agricultural Statistics," from the USDA's Crop Production and Agronomy Statistics, Acorn Squash (Cucurbita maxima) has a "days to harvest" of 155. This is the number of days from seeding to harvesting.
Do acorn squash need a trellis?
Yes. It is best to grow these on a trellis because the vine can become very long and difficult to manage. It is possible to grow them on a wall but they are prone to slugs and snails which can cause damage.