Organic Winter Squash Production on California's Central Coast: A Guide for Beginning Specialty Crop Growers
Winter squash production can be done with low capital investment and simple infrastructure. Squash has low seed cost, modest fertility needs, and relatively little labor requirements during the growing season. The broad leaf canopy minimizes weed pressure, and many varieties are fairly resistant to pests and diseases. “Winter” or “hard” squash is grown in the warm season and can be stored for some months (through the winter). Unlike “summer” squash (zucchini and other “soft” squashes) that must be harvested daily and stored in a cooler, winter squash has a flexible window of harvest and sale (with proper dry storage). These characteristics make winter squash a viable crop for beginning specialty crop growers.
This guide addresses the steps involved in growing winter squash organically on the Central Coast of California, with a focus on planting to moisture to minimize weed pressure.