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One Hundred Pounds of Squash

Inside a Fairytale Squash

It was love at first sight when I came upon this display at a farmers’ market. A fully ripe Fairytale Squash is light brown like the one on the left under the halved squash in the photo. I harvested all my Fairytale squashes green this autumn. Fortunately, winter squashes are usually happy to ripen off the vine if you store them someplace warm.

How much squash could you use in a year? Five pounds? Twenty five? How about one hundred pounds of rich, delicious, orange goodness? Back in January I explained how easy it is to grow winter squash. I’m telling you now: with a single hill of the right variety of squash, you can grow 100 pounds or more!

Really Big Squash

I once bought a 27 pound Blue Hubbard squash along with a 20 pound Neck Pumpkin and shared stories about them on this blog. Articles about them included the following:

These squashes were so large, I hold the farmer who grew them in high esteem; I expected never to grow such large squashes. Then I fell in love with Fairytale Squash.

Fairytales Come True

Last autumn, the farmer who had sold me my giant Blue Hubbard and Neck Pumpkin put together a display that included a Fairytale squash sliced open. It was gorgeous! I took a lot of photos and, as winter set in, I bought a Fairytale squash at a fire sale price.

Neck Pumpkin and Blue Hubbard

The largest squash I’d dealt with were a Blue Hubbard (27 lbs) and a Neck Pumpkin (20 lbs) I’d bought at a farmers’ market. Neck Pumpkins I grow each year are descended from that original 20 pounder.

Sadly, I never tasted that squash. It got soft very quickly after I bought it, so I ended up harvesting the seeds and composting the rest of it. Honestly, the squash was in bad shape when I bought it; from the get-go I had wanted it for its seeds.

This spring, I planted a single hill of seeds from that Fairytale squash—four seeds started in June and transferred to the garden in July. In about a month, those four plants had taken over half the space I’d reserved for winter squashes; they were crowding out a hill of Butternuts and a hill of Neck Pumpkins (as well as three hills of pickles, my entire carrot patch, and two rows of bush beans).

Fairytale Squash incursion

About a month after planting, a single hill of Fairytale Squash had overtaken a 14 foot long, four foot high trellis. This is was massive growth, though still immature; it hadn’t yet produced blossoms. Eventually, the vines filled twice the volume they do in this photo and produced 5 large fruits. Because I planted late, I lost several very young fruits to autumn’s first frost.

By the end of August, I was hacking off the ends of some Fairytale Squash vines and training others back on themselves. When fruits finally set, I marveled at how large they grew and despaired just a little that they never ripened from dark green to the soft brown I’d seen at the farmers’ market.

Finally, after the first frost, I harvested the unripe Fairytale Squashes and moved them into our dining room where I figured warmth would help them along. There are at least five of these beauties, the smallest of which is over 15 pounds. The largest is a full 33 pounds! This single hill, starting very late in the season, produced more than 100 pounds of food! Had I planted a month or two earlier, it might have produce far more.

Want 100 pounds of winter squash? You can grow that!

Ripening Fairytale Squash

The dining room provides a warm environment for my Fairytale Squashes to ripen. The stack weights, perhaps, 90 pounds, and there’s one more squash on the piano bench.

Find more You Can Grow That! posts here:


One Response to “One Hundred Pounds of Squash”

  • Bren:

    This is a beautiful post Daniel… enjoy the images as well. I wish I could grow squash and gourds that looked like that! Thank you for sharing link on #gardenchat Twitter w/ us!

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