Why You Should Plant Squash in Your Survival Garden This Season

It may seem early for most of us to be thinking about planting squash, but you’ll want to plant some in your survival garden this year. It’s more of a survival food than you might think.

Squash is healthful because it contains carotenoids and fiber. Plus, winter squash stores for months, allowing you to enjoy summer’s produce in the cold months.

And it’s versatile, too. You’ve probably had roasted or baked squash. And, as you may know, you can use it to make bread and muffins or even pancakes.

Soup, pie and baby food are other ways to prepare squash. Eat the blossoms. Roast the seeds. Make squash chips from that over abundance of zucchini. I’ve heard squash shoots and young leaves are edible as well.

To talk about squash yesterday on DestinySurvival Radio was Shannon Carmody, Public Program Manager at Seed Savers Exchange. I call our time together Squash 101. We covered the topic from several angles.

When you get squash seeds from SSE, you can count on non-GMO, open pollenated or heirloom seeds. That means you’ll have confidence to save your own seeds for the future or to share with others.

Shannon gave an overview of the difference between winter and summer squash as well as the four squash species. You’re no doubt familiar with zucchini as summer squash. Winter squashes include acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squash, to name a few. There’s an amazing array of squash varieties in a rainbow of colors, shapes and sizes.

Storage time can vary for winter squash varieties, but keeping them in a cool dry place insures they’ll last longer.

Squash need a lot of space to grow, but if you have limited space, there’s good news. You can grow them vertically on a trelis, if the fruits aren’t the heavy kind. Of course, bush varieties take up less space, which makes them suitable for container growing.

If you’re saving seeds, be sure not to grow two kinds of squash of the same species. You can grow both summer and winter squash at the same time. Thankfully, squash won’t cross breed with melons or cucumbers.

Hand pollenation is another technique to practice when you’re saving seeds. Or you may want to do it to increase the amount of squash fruits you get. I mention it because you may have a situation like me and Shannon, where you don’t have many fruits, since there aren’t enough bees to pollenate your squash well.

As for disease and pest control, the best solution is to have good soil and good seed. Being observant can reduce problems or eliminate them before they happen.

If you have healthy plants during the growing season, you’ll have masses of plant material to put into your compost pile.

With all that squash has going for it, why wouldn’t you plant it in your survival garden this season?

I encourage you to hear the whole interview with Shannon Carmody on DestinySurvival Radio for February 23, 2012.

Do you have your own tips for growing or preparing squash? Be sure to leave a comment below and share what you know with other survival gardeners.


Additional Resources

Seed Savers Exchange is an excellent source for squash seeds. You can also find squash seeds from a number of companies who sell heirloom and open pollenated seeds. You’ll find a few of these companies on the Survival Gardening page in the Prep Mart.

View info on the Health Benefits of Squash.

View an article on How to Dry Summer Squash.

Visit the Prep Mart Survival Gardening page to view sponsors who can help you improve your soil and keep pests at bay.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.

3 thoughts on “Why You Should Plant Squash in Your Survival Garden This Season”

  1. Recently on national radio there was a story about young children in Cincinnati suffering from malnutrition because their parents had diluted their baby food to make it go farther. I read that some varieties of squash were developed as food for young children. Candy Roaster is mentioned as a good variety. It is nutritious and its natural sweetness appeals to children. If you look online for “Squash as baby food” you can find recipes and instructions (You Tube) on how to prepare this kind of food. Some winter squash will keep over the winter and reproduce from its own seeds. For a few dollars you could start gardening with squash and give squash to someone who could use it but cannot garden. It is great for adults too.

    1. Thanks for the good points. It’s amazing and wonderful that squash is so versatile and useful. Shannon mentioned North Georgia Candy Roaster as being a sweet tasting squash, and I think Seed Savers Exchange carries it.

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