The Wonderful Hubbard Squash
The Hubbard Squash is an ideal choice for squash soup, mashed squash, squash baked in the shell, or "not-exactly-pumpkin-but-just-as-good” squash pie. In fact, Hubbard squash is sometimes referred to as a green, though somewhat warty, pumpkin. Like many types of squash, Hubbard squash is fun to grow, especially if you like large plants that take up plenty of room. Most of the Hubbard squash you find in the stores weigh 2 to 3 pounds, a nice size for baking, but it's possible to grow a Hubbard squash that weighs up to 50 pounds. That's not as large as some of the more immense pumpkins that find their ways to state fairs, but 50 pounds is still nothing to be sneezed at.
The Hubbard squash is a winter squash, which means it grows on vines rather than as a bush, develops a hard outer shell, and can keep for months in a cool location once harvested. Unlike summer squash, which are not terribly good keepers, a crop of winter squash can provide food for a family throughout the winter months, which is of course why they are called winter squash. While a 6 month storage time is generally enough to satisfy most people, the squash can be cooked and then frozen for even longer storage.
Like most of the winter squash varieties this plant has quite a long growing season, often in excess of 100 days. Since it is a warm weather plant, and one that does not tolerate frost, it usually has to be started indoors in cooler regions. In that way late frosts can be avoided, and as a matter of fact, seeds placed in cool soil usually do not germinate, even after the soil eventually warms up. Starting the seeds indoors a few weeks before the last frost should yield some nice established plants by the time you plan to set them out. Once the seeds are placed in starter soil, covered with a half-inch of soil, and kept moist, they should germinate within 2 weeks.
Not Exactly A Space Saver - You'll either need a large garden area or not plan on growing much more than Hubbard squash, as they will take up some room, but two or three plants placed in a hill, with hills at least 3 feet apart if you're planning on a number of plants, would be about right.
It may pay to look closely at the seed packets when purchasing Hubbard squash seeds, especially if you're not interested in growing monster plants. There are varieties available that grow to a smaller, more manageable size. There are also varieties of winter squash that grow on shorter vines. Find the right variety, and you might just have room for more squash or for other vegetables when laying out your garden.
Don't Bother To Peel - If you've only grown summer squash up to now, such as zucchini, and plan to peel your Hubbard squash before cooking it, you'll be in for a thankless chore. The winter squashes, including Hubbard squash, have hard tough outer skins, and trying to peel them usually isn't worth the effort. It's far better to cut them in half, cook them, and then scoop the meat out, just as you would do with a pumpkin. You might even try saving the shell of half a squash, and use it for a container for squash soup, though its shape doesn't really lend itself to being a bowl as far as stability is concerned. Just a thought. In any event, this green or sometimes purple or white warty squash is often overlooked. Most don't realize how sweet and pleasant tasting it really is.