Tips on Growing

Acorn Squash

Starting Seeds

Ensure you have at least a three and a half month growing season in full sun. Acorn squash takes two and a half to three and a half months to mature, and, like most types of winter squash, can’t be picked before they are ripe.

  • Extra acorn squash seeds can be saved for six years.
  • Start seeds inside three to four weeks before you expect the last frost of the season.[2] Check your state’s almanac to see when that will be. If you have a longer growing season, start your seeds outdoors about two weeks after the first frost.
  • Cover the seeds in a warm damp paper towel for a few hours, while you prepare your soil. 
  • Plant six seeds in three-inch (7.6 cm) pots. Seedling trays are not generally big enough for squash seedlings. Fill the pots with seed mix and sprinkle with warm water before planting each seed one inch (2.5 cm) deep.
  • Place the seeds in a sunny window that you can supplement with fluorescent light. Cover the pot with plastic wrap for the first few days to improve germination. Generally, the seeds sprout within 5 to 12 days.
  • Place the seeds in a sunny window that you can supplement with fluorescent light. Cover the pot with plastic wrap for the first few days to improve germination. Generally, the seeds sprout within 5 to 12 days.
  • Aim to plant your seedlings when the soil has warmed to approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius).
  • Loosen the soil to a depth of at least 12 inches (30.5 cm). Then, plant in three-foot (0.9 m) mounds with approximately three seedlings per mound. Planting atop a mound ensures that the roots will not rot, since squash require a lot of watering.
    • If you are planting seeds directly into the garden, plant them in a mound with six seeds per mound. Thin to three plants after germination.[4]

How To Plant

First thing you need to consider is do you have enough to accommodate the acorn squash plant size — which is considerable? You’ll need about 50 square feet (4.5 sq. meters) per hill with two to three plants in each. That’s a lot of ground, but the good news is that one or two hills should provide plenty for the average family. If the square footage is still too much, acorn squash plant size can still be squeezed in with the use of sturdy A-frame trellises and grown vertically. Once you have allotted space for growing, acorn squash is easy to cultivate. Mound your soil into hill to keep the plant’s ‘feet’ dry.

When growing acorn squash, plant five or six seeds per hill, but wait until the soil temperature rises to 60 F. (15 C.) and all danger of frost is past since the seeds need warmth to germinate and the plants are extremely frost tender. These vines prefer temperatures between 70 and 90 F. (20-32 C.). While the plants will continue to grow at higher temperatures, the flowers will drop, thus preventing fertilization.

  • Place mulch around your squash for the first few weeks if you have a weed problem. After the broad leaves start to form, you should weed by hand regularly. The large leaves will shade out some weeds.
  • Water your squash mounds when the soil begins to dry out. Let it soak for a few minutes to reach the whole root system. Water below the leaves to avoid powdery mildew and scab.
  • The acorn squash plant size makes them heavy feeders. Make sure your soil is rich and you feed them regularly with a good all-purpose fertilizer. Add plenty of sun, a soil pH of 5.5-6.8, and 70-90 days before the first fall frost and you have all that’s needed for how to grow acorn squash.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Acorn Squash Growing Tips For Your Garden


Amend your soil with compost in the winter, if possible. Aim for a pH content between 5.8 and 6.8 for best results.[3]

Natural Pesticides

Look out for squash vine borers that leave “sawdust.” You can remove them by hand. Cover your plants with netting cheesecloth while they are young, if you have a problem with cucumber beetles.[5]

Here are 7 natural methods to reduce pests and disease with your Acorn Squash.

1. Remove Egg Masses

8 Ways To Get Rid Of Squash Bugs & How To Prevent Them

  • Pick egg masses from the underside of leaves in the early morning hours and later in the day.
  • I fill a vase with water and dish detergent and flick the bugs into the water.
  • You can scrape eggs off of the leaves with a knife and let them fall to the ground for beetles to eat.

Check your plants on a weekly basis as eggs hatch in ten days.

2. Use An Old Board

Put an old board or a shingle in the garden during the night. Both adult and young squash bugs will gather under the

Squash the bugs in the morning.

3. Use Companion Plants

Another natural way to help eliminate squash bugs is to plant squash bug repellent plants in your garden.

Good choices are nasturtiums and white icicle radishes.

Plant throughout your squash beds for best results. Other good options include marigolds, calendula, dill, and oregano.

4. Attract Beneficial Insects

Tachina fera fly on calendula

There are certain insects that can help control squash bugs.

One such insect is the Tachinid Fly. This fly lays her eggs on the adult squash bugs and when they hatch they burrow
inside the squash bug to eat, killing the bug.

Planting dill and calendula with your squash will draw the Tachinid Fly to your garden.

5. Diatomaceous Earth

This powder is made up of ground up diatoms that cut the exoskeleton of insects and dry them out.

This only works for young squash bugs. Be sure to choose the food grade for the garden – such as this bag of Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth available on Amazon.

Spread a layer at the base of the plant. Reapply after rain and be careful not get on the blossoms as it will kill
beneficial insects as well.

6. Natural Squash Bug Spray

You can make your own squash bug spray that is non-toxic and effective.

To treat the soil around the plant, mix about 2 quarts of water with one onion (cut up) and a few cloves of garlic.

Allow the mixture to sit for a few hours until the scent is strong. Pour the mixture at the base of infected squash plants.

Another natural spray that has worked for me is peppermint Castile soap.

Simply fill a spray bottle with Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Soap and spray plants in the morning at the base of the plant and on the underside of leaves.

7. Plant Lots of Squash

Butternut squash plants

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