How to Grow Cushaw Squash


Cushaw squash, also known as sweet potato cushaw squash, produces a 10 to 20 lb. squash often used as a substitute for pumpkin in pies. Planted in late spring after the danger of frost has passed, this winter squash matures in 85 to 110 days. Skin color varies from green and white striped to cream colored at maturity, and may be sold as cushaw pumpkin.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden tiller
  • Well-rotted manure
  • Compost
  • Fertilizer, 5-10-10 and 13-0-44
  • Garden hoe
  • Black plastic mulch
  • Knife
  • Till the soil to a depth of 8 to 12 inches in a sunny area that receives six to eight hours of sunlight a day. Amend the soil with a 2- to 4-inch layer of well-rotted manure or compost and adjust the pH to 6.0 to 6.5.

  • Apply 5 qt. of 5-10-10 fertilizer per 100 foot row before planting. Mix the fertilizer into the top 6 inches of soil. Side-dress with 1 pint of 13-0-44 per 100 foot row at three weeks and at six weeks to boost growth.

  • Plant seed to a depth of 1/2 to 1 inch in late spring after the danger of frost has passed in your area and soil temperatures have warmed to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Sow three to four seeds in each hill spaced 3 to 5 feet apart.

  • Water cushaw squash once or twice a week to saturate the soil to the root level. The amount and frequency of watering depends on weather conditions, soil type and the rate of growth of your cushaw plants. Check the soil 1 inch below the surface of the soil and water when it feels dry to the touch.

  • Mulch with black plastic to conserve moisture and keep soil warm. Mulch creates an effective weed barrier and prevents soil compaction.

  • Harvest cushaw squash in the fall when color develops and skin toughens. Cut the squash from the vine, leaving a 2-inch section of the stem attached to the squash. Squash harvested without a section of vine typically rot easily and do not store well. Store in a dry, well-ventilated area for winter.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid bruising cushaw squash when harvesting or storing, as cuts and bruises cause the squash to spoil quickly. Eat bruised squash immediately after picking.

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