Squash and Pumpkins

Kathryn Fontenot, Singh, Raghuwinder, Strahan, Ronald E., Brown, Sebe, Koske, Thomas J., Sexton, Mary  |  7/7/2017 4:04:20 PM

Squash and pumpkins are among the most popular and productive warm-season vegetables in Louisiana. In many cases, a few plants will supply enough produce for an entire family. Squash and pumpkins belong to the gourd family called the “cucurbits.” They are believed to be native to Central America (especially pumpkins). Most types are good sources of vitamin A, but they are mainly desired for their flavor and texture. Squash and pumpkins can be combined with spices to create savory soups and soufflés or combined with cream and sugar to make pies and sweet breads. For gardeners on carbohydrate restricted diets, try using spaghetti squash or yellow and green zucchini sliced thick in place of noodles.

These crops thrive in warm weather. They will tolerate some low temperatures but are very frost sensitive. Seeds need a soil temperature of at least 60° F to germinate. Plant squash after the danger of frost has passed, and the soil has begun to warm. In south Louisiana, this is about mid-March. In north Louisiana, wait until early-April. Plantings can again be made throughout summer if the vegetables have enough time to mature before frost.

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