With the changing leaves and the cooling temperatures, late season vegetables are ready for harvesting. Knowing when exactly to harvest specific vegetables is a problem for many people, but Iowa State University Extension specialist Linda Naeve has advice for those curious about winter squash.
"Winter squash is interesting because it has a very firm skin, so when the fruit becomes full-sized, do the finger nail test. If you can't really penetrate the skin with force, it should be nice and firm. Also, on many winter squashes, that stem should be dried, fairly woody. The vine may be starting to die down, but not necessarily," Naeve says.
"The best time to harvest winter squash is right before frost, and the reason I say that is, if the vines are still alive, the bugs, the insects, the beetles will move right near the squash. And if your vines are already died down, you might start to see that, so I'd get them out of the garden right away."
On this Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with Naeve and Iowa State Extension horticulture specialist Richard Jauron about late-season harvests. They also answer questions from listeners.