When to Pick White Bush Squash From a Garden

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"White Bush" squash begins green and ripens to white.
"White Bush" squash begins green and ripens to white. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

"White Bush" squash (Cucurbito pepo "White Bush") are sure to attract attention, whether on the dinner plate or in the garden. This white squash is a type called patty pan -- small flattened disks with fluted edges that look a little like flying saucers. They are warm-weather annuals and take approximately 55 days from seed to harvest. Don't rely on the calendar to tell you when to pick your "White Bush" squash though, or you may be left with a tough, disappointing dish.

About White Bush Squash

"White Bush " is an open-pollinated variety of patty pan summer squash. It grows in full sun in well-drained soil that has plenty of organic matter. The plant is bushy and reaches about 3 feet tall with an open, vining habit. The more squash you harvest, the more fruits the plant produces. Cut the squash from the plant with a sharp, clean knife and wear gloves if your hands are sensitive to the prickly hairs on the squash plant. Check each "White Bush" squash for its size, color and consistency to determine the right time to harvest.

Size

"White Bush" is one of the largest varieties of patty pan squash. It grows from 5 to 7 inches across and 2 1/2 to 3 inches tall. The squash should be harvested smaller, when it's around 2 to 3 inches across, for the best flavor and texture. Squash harvested at its full size can be tough and bland with large seeds. The fruits develop quickly and can be ready as soon as four days after flowers are pollinated, so check the plant every day once it starts bearing. Harvesting summer squash too large is one of the most frequent mistakes gardeners make with the plant, notes University of California Cooperative Extension.

Color

As you gauge the size of the fruit, with "White Bush," you can also gauge readiness based on color. This variety starts out pale green and turns white as it ripens. The flesh is also white. You can harvest the squash when it is still pale green, though it is at its most attractive when the color is even to the top of the fruit. The skin of the squash also dulls from glossy to matte as the fruit matures.

Consistency

Unlike most fruits and vegetables that soften as they ripen, squash gets harder. A "White Bush" patty pan is at its best when the skin is soft. If you can't dent the skin with your thumbnail, toss it on the compost heap, advises University of Illinois Extension. Summer squash varieties, including patty pan types, hold most of their nutrients in the skin, which you lose if you have to peel the skin. Small, tender, glossy "White Bush" patty pan can be cooked and eaten whole, skin, seeds and all.

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