Will my squash ripen?

If you’re growing winter squashes or pumpkins, you should hopefully have some decent sized fruits on the plants by now and they’ve still got a few weeks to grow and ripen, so all should be fine. Below is a little guidance that may help to get the most from your plants depending on what stage they’re at….

Still producing male only flowers, and no fruit

This might be the case if weather has been cooler in your area, if there aren’t many bees and pollinators in the plot, or if you planted quite late in the season. They may still produce some small squashes if conditions are ok. If they do, give them a weekly liquid feed, prune out new fruits once you have 2 or 3 on the plant to give them the best chance to grow, and prune back leaves/vines. The squashes that do form will probably stay quite small, but if it’s warm enough they may still ripen – once harvested you can leave them to further ripen on a sunny windowsill indoors.

Some small fruits on the plant:

In this instance, we’d recommend now pruning out any new fruits that form, and thinning out vines to force the plant to focus on the fruits that are already established. Keep watering and give them a fortnightly feed. It’ll help to keep the plant as warm as possible, so it may be worth covering with horticultural fleece if the weather cools early this autumn.

Good sized fruits, but not ripe yet:

If this is the situation, then your plants are on track. Leave the fruits on the plant to ripen over the next few weeks, and harvest them before the first frosts arrive, once leaves start to die back and the stalks turn woody.