How to Grow Acorn Squash

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Acorn squash (Cucurbita pepo var. turbinata) is an annual vine that produces round, ribbed, green or gold fruits. Organically rich, fertile, freely draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5 and spots that receive at least six hours of direct sunlight every day are best for growing acorn squash. To provide the good drainage and warm soil this plant prefers, grow acorn squash on hills 3 feet wide and 4 to 6 inches high.

Tip

  • Grow acorn squash after the final local average frost date in your area. Frost damages acorn squash plants and fruits.

Spacing Varieties

Acorn squash plants include vining, semi-bush and compact bush varieties. Vining and semi-bush varieties spread in all directions, but compact bush varieties are more contained. Space the plants according to their type.

  • Grow three vining acorn squash plants, such as 'Cream of the Crop' and 'Ebony,' 1 foot apart on one hill, and space the hills 5 to 6 feet apart in rows 7 to 12 feet apart.

  • Grow two semi-bush varieties, such as 'Table Ace' and 'Tay-Belle,' 18 inches apart on one hill, and space the hills 5 to 6 feet apart in rows 8 feet apart.

  • Grow compact bush plants, such as 'Table Gold' and 'Table King,' 3 feet apart in 3-foot-wide, 4- to 6-inch-high rows spaced 5 feet apart.

Watering Acorn Squash

For good fruit production, established acorn squash plants need 1 inch of water per week, from rainfall or watering. Water acorn squash when the soil is dry to a depth of 1 to 2 inches, and apply enough water to moisten the soil to the depth of the root balls. Seedlings may need watering less often than established plants, and in hot, dry, windy weather, mature acorn squash plants may need watering twice per week or more often.

Warning

  • Don't water acorn squash so much that the soil becomes soggy.

Applying Fertilizer

A mid-season application of nitrogen fertilizer boosts plant growth in acorn squash. Forty to 50 days after sowing, evenly sprinkle 1/2 cup of 46-0-0 fertilizer along each 25 feet of row, 1 foot from the acorn squash plants. Water the fertilizer into the soil.

Alternatively, spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of compost or aged manure around the plants after planting or when seedlings are 2 inches tall, and apply 1/4 cup of 46-0-0 fertilizer 40 to 50 days after planting. Compost and aged manure provide slow-release nutrients for acorn squash plants.

Warning

  • Don't allow fertilizer to contact acorn squash leaves or stems. Rinse off any that accidentally contacts the plants.

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