As we move into the colder months in Ohio, the seasonality of our food is beginning to shift. One popular produce item that we can see throughout the different seasons is squash, which comes in over 100 varieties!

These varieties are separated into two categories, depending on the season they’re harvested for: summer and winter. You may be wondering – what is the difference between summer and winter squash, and why is it called winter if squash can’t grow in cold climates?


Photo via Epic Gardening

The Difference

For starters, one of the main differences between winter and summer squash is it’s texture. Summer squash is characterized as being soft-skinned, making it more tender and moist overall. In contrast, winter squash is considered to be more hard-shelled, making it ideal for storing throughout the cold months (hence why it’s called winter squash).



As a vining plant, winter squash grows in a specific direction, allowing you to grow it away from other plants and maximize your grow space. In contrast, summer squash tends to grow in bushes, which take up a bit more space in your garden.

Summer squash is harvested throughout the entire summer, whereas winter squash is harvested from late summer to autumn (and sometimes early winter!). Farmers will typically harvest summer squash after approx. 50-65 days of growing, whereas winter squash can be harvested after approx. 60-110 days.

Winter squash is only considered tasty once it has matured, whereas summer squash is considered to be best when harvested young. Both winter and summer squash cannot tolerate freezing temperatures, and it’s recommended that they be planted 2-3 weeks after the last frost in your area.


Varieties of Squash

As mentioned before, there are over 100 varieties of squash, both winter and summer, that can be grown and harvested here in the U.S.



The most popular varieties include:


  • Crookneck
  • Pattypan
  • Straightneck
  • Zucchini 
    • Baby, Golden, Green, Grey, Round, and Yellow.


  • Acorn
  • Butternut
  • Carnival
  • Delica
  • Spaghetti Squash


Looking for chance to expand your palate and taste test different varieties of squash? Consider visiting our first indoor market of the season at Old Trail School for our annual Squash Tasting this Saturday, November 6th from 9am to 12pm!







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