Are you growing squash in Iowa, but don’t know when the best time to harvest them is?
Harvesting squash is not as easy as it seems.
- Squash have a very short window when they can be harvested and still taste great.
So if you harvest them too early they may not be ready and taste bad. And if you harvest them too late they may become infected with mold, fungus, insects, etc., and become inedible.
Today, I’m going to teach you the ideal time to harvest squash in Iowa:
- To Learn More About HOW to Grow Squash, Check Out This GUIDE!
When Do I Harvest Squash in Iowa?
As you may have already guessed, there are two main factors that determine when you should harvest your squash: the physical features of the squash & weather (time).
Harvest Squash if They Look Like This!!!
The physical features of squash are what most gardeners commonly rely on to determine if they are ready to be picked off the plant or not.
In general, you should harvest squash if they have the following physical features:
- The entire squash is a solid red color. If the squash is a lighter shade of red, it is not ready to be harvested
- The squash is slightly soft. Too hard means it is not ready. Too soft means it is overripe (but still edible)
- Easily able to be deattached from the the plant. This means it has absorbed all the nutrients it needs and is ready.
Harvest Your Squash During THIS Time of Year!!!
In general, you should harvest squash:
- 65 to 85 days after starting squash from seed
- 40 to 50 days after planting squash in your garden
- 20 to 30 days after squash first appear
And no matter what, you should ALWAYS harvest your squash before the first frost of the year. Frost will immediately kill your squash plant and make your squash inedible.
For your reference, I have created this table for average frost dates for most major cities in Iowa. If your city is not listed below you can find its Last & First Frost Dates HERE.
Iowa Last & First Frost Dates
It should be noted that you should not overly rely on the first frost of the year. The average first frost of the year is only correct 30% of the time.
Instead, pay close attention to your local weather.
When you know a frost is coming you need to take action.
- If squash are in pots, bring them inside
- If squash are in the ground, cover them in burlap and hope they survive
- Pick all squash. If they are not ready, place them in a brown paper bag and store them for approximately 1 to 2 weeks to see if they become edible.
If you want to learn WHEN to harvest ANY Vegetable in Iowa, head over to HERE and just type in the vegetable you want to grow.