Red October Hubbard Squash
In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the entire process of planting, growing, harvesting, and storing the Red October Hubbard Squash. This versatile and nutritious winter squash is a must-have addition to any garden, and we’re here to help you succeed in nurturing it from seed to storage.
|Days to Grow||100-110 days|
|Square Foot Garden Spacing||1 plant per 4 square feet|
|When to Plant||3-4 weeks before last frost date (indoors), after last frost date (outdoors)|
|Yield||3-5 squash per plant|
|Frost Tolerance||Not frost tolerant|
|Hours of Light Needed||6-8 hours of direct sunlight|
|Soil Conditions||Well-draining, fertile soil with a pH of 6.0-6.8|
|Days to Maturity||100-110 days|
Planting Your Red October Hubbard Squash
1.1 Starting Seeds Indoors
To get a head start on the growing season:
- Begin by planting Red October Hubbard Squash seeds indoors 3-4 weeks before the last expected frost date.
- Fill seed trays or small pots with a high-quality seed starting mix, and plant the seeds at a depth of 1 inch.
- Place the containers in a warm, sunny location, ideally with a consistent temperature of 70-75°F.
- Keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged.
Seedlings should emerge within 7-10 days.
1.2 Transplanting Seedlings Outdoors
Once the risk of frost has passed and soil temperatures have warmed to at least 60°F, prepare to transplant the seedlings outdoors. Harden off the young plants by gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions for 7-10 days. During this time, select a suitable location in your garden that offers well-draining, fertile soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8 and receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily.
1.3 Preparing the Soil and Transplanting
Till the soil to a depth of 8-12 inches and amend it with organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure. Conduct a soil test and make any necessary adjustments to ensure optimal pH and nutrient levels. Transplant the Red October Hubbard Squash seedlings into the prepared garden bed, spacing them 3-4 feet apart within rows and allowing 6 feet between rows.
Section 2: Growing and Caring for Red October Hubbard Squash
2.1 Watering and Fertilizing
Maintain consistent soil moisture throughout the growing season, providing approximately 1 inch of water per week. Avoid overhead watering to minimize the risk of diseases. Instead, apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer at the time of transplanting and again at the flowering stage to support healthy growth and fruit development.
2.2 Mulching and Weed Control
Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or wood chips, around the base of the plants to help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Hand-weed or cultivate carefully to avoid damaging the shallow roots of the squash plants.
2.3 Pest and Disease Management
Monitor your Red October Hubbard Squash plants for signs of pests, such as squash bugs and cucumber beetles, and diseases like powdery mildew. Then, employ preventative measures like crop rotation and proper sanitation. If necessary, use organic or chemical controls as your local extension office recommends.
Section 3: Harvesting Your Red October Hubbard Squash
3.1 When to Harvest
Red October Hubbard Squash is ready to harvest when the rind has hardened, and the stem has dried, typically between 100-110 days after planting. The fruit should be deep red, and the rind should resist puncturing when pressed with a thumbnail.
3.2 How to Harvest
Cut the squash from the vine using a sharp knife or pruning shears, leaving a 2-3 inch stem attached to the fruit. Avoid handling the fruit roughly, as this may cause bruising and reduce storage life.
Section 4: Storing Your Red October Hubbard Squash
4.1 Curing the Squash
To extend the storage life of your Red October Hubbard Squash, cure the harvested fruit by placing it in a warm, well-ventilated area for 7-10 days. The ideal curing conditions are temperatures between 75-85°F and relative humidity around 80-85%. In addition, curing helps to toughen the skin and heal any minor cuts or bruises, reducing the risk of decay during storage.
4.2 Proper Storage Conditions
Once the Red October Hubbard Squash has been cured, store the fruit in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area. The optimal storage conditions are temperatures between 50-55°F and relative humidity of 60-75%. Basements, root cellars, or insulated garages are suitable storage spaces. Avoid storing the squash directly on the ground; instead, place them on shelves or wooden pallets to promote air circulation.
4.3 Periodic Inspection and Rotation
Inspect your stored Red October Hubbard Squash regularly for signs of decay or damage. Remove any affected fruit promptly to prevent the spread of decay to other stored squash. Rotate the remaining squash periodically to ensure even air circulation and minimize potential spoilage.
4.4 Storage Life Expectancy
Red October Hubbard Squash can last for up to 5-6 months when properly cured and stored. However, it is important to monitor the fruit throughout the storage period, as individual storage conditions may vary.
Section 5: Enjoying Your Red October Hubbard Squash
5.1 Culinary Uses
Red October Hubbard Squash boasts a dense, sweet, and nutty flesh that can be used in a wide variety of dishes. Enjoy it roasted, steamed, or pureed for use in soups, casseroles, pies, and more. Its rich flavour and velvety texture make it a delicious and nutritious addition to your fall and winter menus.
5.2 Nutritional Benefits
Red October Hubbard Squash is packed with essential nutrients, including vitamins A and C, potassium, and dietary fibre. Incorporating this winter squash into your diet can support a healthy immune system, promote good vision, and aid digestion.
Conclusion: Mastering the Art of Red October Hubbard Squash Cultivation
By following this comprehensive guide, you can confidently plant, grow, harvest, and store Red October Hubbard Squash. Enjoy the satisfaction of cultivating this delicious and nutritious winter squash variety and savouring the fruits of your labour throughout the colder months.
Seeds and planting
Links and Resources
(These are some of what I use)
These nursery bags
These Grow bags
mybackyard.ca Seeds Page
Get a Head Start on Spring: The Benefits of Starting Your Seeds Indoors
Saving Vegetable Seeds: A Comprehensive Guide to Gardening Success
myBackyard.ca Planting Guide
Pollock Tomatoes (North hardy Tomato variety)
Tomatoes (Useful information on starting tomatoes from seed)
When to start planting seeds
Germination testing your seeds
Looking for sources for seeds?
Chitting your way to more potatoes
So it's before the first frost; what can I plant?
Individual seed and plant information is available in the "Gardening Shortcut Links" above under "North Hardy Plants to grow". I have successfully grown all of these, and most I grow year to year.