Summer squash and winter squash, what is the difference?

I had to look this one up because my guess was that summer squash matures in the summer and winter squash …. well, that’s where my guess was obviously just a guess. So I checked with Cornell University to find out what the difference is between summer squash and winter squash.

The similarities

Both summer squash and winter squash grow best in full sun. Both are also easy-to-grow annual vegetables. Both grow on vines: summer squash grows 2 to 4 feet long and winter squash grows 3 to 15 feet long. Both summer squash and winter squash need soil temperature over 60 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate. Each vegetable plant blooms around mid-summer, displaying a large yellow or yellow-orange star-shaped flower. Each flower has the potential to become a squash.

Vegetable names of each summer-winter squash

Examples of summer squash include zucchini and yellow squash. Examples of winter squash include acorn squash and butternut squash.

Simple distinction

The skin of summer squash is soft and edible while the skin of winter squash is hard and non-edible. Summer squash is ready for harvest in about 45 days or early to mid-summer. Winter squash requires 80 to 100 days to harvest, which means winter squash is harvested in late summer to early fall.

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Sources: Summer Squash and Winter Squash from Cornell University