Winter squash and sweet potatoes are the only two crops that we pick and store to put in our Eatwell boxes later. All the other crops we grow on the farmed are harvested as needed and put directly into our boxes.
The first job when harvesting winter squash is to cut the squash from the vine once they are ripe. The stems are hard to cut, so we use long-handled cutters.
We then pull a trailer through the field with plastic bins on it. A couple of the guys stand in the bins while the others throw each squash to them. The bins fill quickly. We then take them to the farm yard, where they are unloaded and await transport to the storage room.
We have almost fifty bins of butternut squash which, will be stored in a special room at Terra Firma Farm in Winters. They have extra space, as they do not have a full crop this year. Our crop is our biggest ever.
The ideal conditions for winter squash storage is a dry atmosphere at 60F. In these conditions, the squash should keep very well until March.
We always leave the crop on the vine as long as we dare so we get a rich tasty flesh.
We sowed the seeds for this crop in the middle of June. Normally we sow at the end of May, before we start harvesting the lavender. We decided to change to a later planting, as the crop had been maturing in early September. The sun can damage the crop quickly at that time of the year. By planting two weeks later, we have delayed harvest by a month and I believe we have a better crop.