Winter squash are replacing summer squash.

Zucchini is probably the most reliable of warm season vegetable through summer, even when tomatoes are having a bad year. A single zucchini plant produces enough for a household. Two plants produce enough to share with neighbors. Pattypan, crookneck and other varieties of summer squash may not be quite as reliably productive individually, but can be assembled as a delightfully variable team that produces early in summer, and is just now finishing.

The fruit of summer squash is best when immature and tender. It gets tougher and loses flavor as it matures. Because development of seed within maturing fruit exhausts resources, plants are actually more productive if the fruit gets harvested while immature. In other words, they can either make many small fruits, or a few large fruits. The plants have coarse foliage on big but relatively confined annual plants.

Winter squash is very closely related to summer squash. The shabby annual vines sprawl over much larger areas, and can even climb fences and shrubbery. The main difference though, is that each plant produces only a single fruit or only a few individual fruits that are allowed to mature completely through summer. Their ripening fruit is just now becoming available as summer squash are running out. The fruit is supposed to be best after frost has killed the foliage, which could take a while here.

Hubbard, acorn, turban, spaghetti, kabocha and butternut squash, as well as the many varieties of pumpkin, are the more popular types of winter squash. Unlike summer squash, winter squash can be stored for quite a while, and need to be cooked to be eaten. While winter squash do not produce as many fruiting female flowers as summer squash produce, they seem to make at least as many male flowers that can be harvested while still fresh.

Male flowers can be stuffed, battered and fried, or simply fried. After they have been pollinated and set fruit, female flowers are typically too wilted to be eaten. All squash produce more male flowers than female flowers. Even the most fruitful of summer squash produce about three times as many male flowers as female flowers.

13 thoughts on “Pumpkins Exemplify Ripening Winter Squash

      1. Well not really but could be that way – lol – but I got the teaching note – thanks for your replies – you are such a passionate and inspiring gardener because you have the knowledge and the teaching side

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  1. LOL — I read the comments on this post before the post itself, and wondered what you meant about beaten flowers! I’ve always wondered about the flavor of battered squash flowers

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    1. That’s funny because it took me a moment to understand it too. I do not think of them as battered, even though they obviously are. I knew them as ‘fiori’ (such as ‘fiori di zucca fritti’) when I was a kid. My great grandmother made them so long ago that I can barely remember them. Some of us knew them as ‘fiori con formaggio’, whether they were stuffed with cheese or not. I also remember them as ‘fleurs au fromage’, although I can not imagine why. No one around spoke French. It probably came from a neighbor.

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