The color is close, but the stem is still green. Does the stem dry? Is it easy to pick when ripe, or do I have to actually cut the stem? I am a newbie gardener, so any help is appreciated.
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Yes, the stem will start to dry and turn brown when the squash is ripe for picking. There should be no green striping on the squash itself; it should be a uniform tan color. Cut the stem leaving 1-2 inches of the stem on the squash. My mom used to dip them in a bleach/water mixture--very little bleach, just about a capful to a gallon of water. She said that prevented fungus from attacking the picked squash.
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I think that you can harvest when the stems start to turn brown and the fruit ( in the case of butternut squash) turns tan. They will be ok with a light frost, but may want to harvest before a hard frost. If you dip them in a solution of water with a little bleach it will kill any bacteria that may be on it. They will keep for a long time if you store them in a cool room where the air can circulate around them.
Thank you! I did not know about the bleach water. That is a good idea!
Evidently my squash isn't ready yet, but at least I know what to look for now!
We have a couple of butternut squash plants, but mostly acorn squash varieties, and the weak bleach solution works on all of the winter squash as well as the storing techniques. One thing that works well for storing is those plastic storage cubes that you can stack. The top is completely open and the bottom and sides are grated. You can stack them and the air can circulate all around it.
The first time I planted winter squash, I picked some too early. It was pretty pale on the inside, not very flavorful either, LOL.
I've got one that has turned tan, but, I am waiting. SIL said you wait till pretty late for those.
My Acorn squashs' rotted before getting big.
Now, how do you know when to pick a cushaw?
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