When to Harvest Pink Banana Squash

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Pink banana squash is a large, torpedo-shaped squash with a pale pink rind weighing between 10 and 30 lb. when mature. It is a winter squash, meaning it should be harvested at the end of the season, when fully ripe, so its seeds are mature. It can be used immediately or stored for later use. Banana squash stores well for months because of its thick rind. Other varieties include blue, orange and Pink Mammoth Jumbo, which grows 4 feet long and weighs 75 lb.

Planting

Pink banana squash grows on a vigorous vine, reaching about 20 feet, so give it plenty of room to spread and don’t crowd it with other squash or vegetables. Air circulation is important to ward off mildew. Plant seeds or transplants in groups of three in soil amended with plenty of compost after the soil has warmed to 65 degrees Fahrenheit and the night air temperatures are steadily in the mid-50s.

Culture

Water the plants regularly and deeply during hot weather. Squash plants bear both male and female flowers and are pollinated by bees. When the squashes begin to form, tuck straw under and around them to keep them out of the mud and reduce watering to weekly. Fertilize at planting time and every two weeks with a handful of all-purpose organic vegetable fertilizer scratched into the soil around the base of the plants.

Harvest

Pink banana squash takes between 105 and 115 days to reach maturity from seed, about 75 days from transplants. They are ripe enough to eat when their rind turns salmon-pink. Although they usually reach 30 inches long, you can pick them at 18 inches long if you want to use them immediately. If you plan to store them, cut them from the vine with a knife, leaving about 3 inches of stem attached. Cure the squash by letting it sit for about a week in a dry place at about 70 degrees. Then store in a cool, dry place that stays between 50 and 55 degrees.

Use

The easiest way to cook pink banana squash is to halve it lengthwise, remove the seeds, smear it with butter or olive oil, add salt and pepper, and microwave it for 10 to 12 minutes. To bake pink banana squash, peel it, cut it in chunks, toss the chunks in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper and herbs of your choice, and then bake for 15 minutes in a roasting pan at 350 degrees. Squash, like pumpkin, is used in pies, muffins, cakes and soups.

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