By Jennifer Poindexter
Squash is a favorite vegetable of many gardeners because they produce high yields, have unique flavors, and they come in different varieties which can produce most of the year. Whether you’re new to growing squash or looking for a different type of squash to grow, you’ve come to the right place.
I’m going to walk you through the general types of squash and share a few varieties which might deserve your attention.
Here are numerous varieties of squash you might want to consider adding to your gardening plot:
General Types of Squash
Squash can be broken down into two main categories: summer and winter. Summer squash enjoy growing in ample sunlight, well-draining soil, and warm temperatures.
Winter squash requires the same. However, don’t let the term winter throw you. Winter squash are still planted when the weather is warm.
They require approximately 100 frost-free days. Therefore, depending upon your planting zone, they may be planted anywhere from May to July.
The biggest differences between summer and winter squash are their flesh and plants. Summer squash has a thinner skin. It’s great for baking, frying, or grilling.
Whereas winter squash has a harder skin which is better for storing the squash over the winter months. Winter squash is typically baked but can also be enjoyed raw.
Summer squash plants are bushier where most winter squash plants vine. Take your growing space into consideration when figuring out how to incorporate different varieties of squash into your garden.
Specific Varieties of Squash
Now that you understand the general types of squash, let’s dive into the specifics. Here are eighteen different varieties of squash you may wish to incorporate into your growing space:
1. Yellow Squash
Yellow squash is what most of us think of when we think of summer squash. These plants produce high yields.
It’s hard to miss this vegetable with its bright yellow skin. There are straight and crookneck varieties of yellow squash. Decide which option you like best and consider adding this variety to your summer garden.
2. Cucuzza Squash
Cucuzza squash is a type of gourd that’s approximately three feet long. This option has a sweeter flavor similar to yellow squash.
Though this squash is green, and you shouldn’t eat the skin, the flesh is edible and may be used in place of traditional yellow squash since their taste is so similar.
3. Black Futsu Squash
This squash is a winter variety which originated in Japan. You could use this squash in recipes or for decoration.
Black futsu squash is hard to miss with its dark, bumpy skin. As the skin cures, it changes colors to a rich orange and develops a nutty flavor.
4. Sweet Dumpling Squash
This little squash has a cream-colored base and green accents on its skin. Sweet dumpling is a winter variety that has an exceptionally sweet flavor, hence its name.
The entire squash is edible, including the skin. However, the skin is easy to remove. This squash is versatile as it’s used for baking, broiling, in soup, and makes a great ingredient to stuffing.
5. Pattypan Squash
Pattypan squash is a small, bright yellow squash that’s shaped similar to a top with a ruffled skirt around it.
If you’d like to enjoy this unique squash, it’s great when prepared by sautéing, frying, or baking. This squash is a summer variety and has a similar taste to yellow squash.
6. Tromboncino Squash
The tromboncino squash is hard to miss. This green squash is a summer variety that forms a long neck and curves almost like a musical instrument.
Tromboncino squash do have runners and will need room to sprawl and grow in your gardening area. Since this variety is closely related to butternut squash (only a summer variety), be prepared to make similar preparations for it.
7. Delicata Squash
I love squash because there’s a variety to suit almost anyone. The delicata squash proves this with its thick cucumber shape, cream base color, and green stripes.
This variety of squash is high in potassium, so health-conscious gardeners love growing it for this reason alone. Delicata squash is completely edible, skin included, and though it’s a summer squash, it frequently gets looped in with winter squash because it’s harvested later than most other summer squash varieties. Plus, it has a harder skin than most summer squash varieties.
8. Tatume Squash
Tatume squash is a dark, round squash with a vibrant flavor and harder skin than most other types of squash. This is what makes it such a favorite to many.
What makes this squash even more enjoyable is it’s simple to prepare by either grilling or baking. Plus, you may harvest and treat the squash as either a summer or winter variety.
Many people forget about the pumpkin when talking about squash. I’m not sure why we separate these crops into different categories of our mind, but a pumpkin is one of the most popular varieties of squash.
Pumpkins are generally grown in the middle to late summer. Some are large while some remain small. They come in various shapes and can be used for decorative purposes or for culinary use.
10. Hubbard Squash
Hubbard squash is a beautiful, unique type of winter squash. This option has a striped skin that’s bumpy and an interesting base of colors between all the textures. This type of squash can be green, orange, yellow, or even blue.
Though this squash has a sweet flavor, it’s most commonly used in soup as the texture can be a bit odd when used in other types of recipes.
11. Mirliton Squash
Mirliton squash is also known as the chayote squash. This is a unique squash in appearance as it’s green, with bumpy and spiky skin.
This squash is a perennial variety in planting zones seven through eleven. You may plant the entire squash in the ground to produce a new plant. It can take approximately thirty days to harvest from this plant after its been pollinated.
12. Sweet Meat Squash
The sweet meat squash is a winter variety that’s also an heirloom. If you’d like a sweeter squash or something to make a delicious pie, this could be the variety for you.
This squash is also thought to be one of the easiest varieties to store over winter. When you need a long-lasting winter squash, reach for sweet meat.
13. Zephyr Squash
The zephyr squash is a unique hybrid. It’s a cross between a yellow summer squash, delicata, and an acorn squash.
This is a summer variety and is harvested before fully mature. When growing a zephyr squash, it’ll look like a straight neck yellow squash with half of it remaining green. Due to its hybrid nature, this squash has the sweet flavor of summer squash and the nutty flavor of an acorn squash.
14. Kabocha Squash
The kabocha squash originated in Japan. It’s used for baking, steaming, pureeing, or stuffing. This is a beautiful squash with a dark green base.
However, it has a speckled design of cream-colored dots all over it. Many people love this squash variety for its exceptionally sweet flavor and its fluffy, smooth texture that’s similar to the texture of sweet potato flesh.
15. Zucchini (Regular and Round)
Zucchini is another high-yielding variety of summer squash. You can grow this crop in a straight form or a round form.
They both share a similar flavor, but the round zucchini looks more like a pumpkin. Whether looking for something traditional or unique, there should be a type of zucchini to suit your preference.
16. Early White Bush Scallop
If you’re interested in growing a different summer squash, the early white bush scallop could be for you. This is a white, round squash with a scallop design.
Like most summer squash, it produces a harvest quickly as this plant should be ready to enjoy in less than two months.
Butternut squash is one of the more well-known varieties of winter squash. It’s typically roasted or used in soup.
The flavor of this squash is why so many love it as it’s a cross between the texture and flavor of a sweet potato and pumpkin.
Our last squash variety to discuss is another winter variety: the acorn squash. These smaller squash are named due to their acorn shape.
This squash variety is usually baked and is enjoyed for its sweeter flavor. However, it also has a slight nuttiness to it as well.
You now have eighteen different squash varieties to choose from. If you enjoy both summer and winter squash varieties, it’s wise to make room for both in your garden.
Then you can enjoy summer squash at harvest time and savor your winter squash over the colder months.