Growing Jumbo Pink Banana Squash will pay off in big ways. It is a hardy variety of winter squash that can easily produce hundreds of pounds of food that tastes great, and stores all winter. Jumbo pink banana squash is easy to grow and will reward you with a delicious and useful bounty of food.
Keep reading to learn about planting jumbo pink banana squash, watering requirements, nutritional needs and how to naturally repel damaging insects. I’ll tell you when to harvest, how much space they need, and how to manage the growing habits so they do not take over the rest of your garden.
Why You Should be Growing Jumbo Pink Banana Squash
Unlike some other varieties of vegetables that are large, the Jumbo Pink Banana variety is also very delicious, stores great, and is an excellent choice if you are trying to maximize your food harvest.
Jumbo pink banana squash can be used in thousands of recipes including any recipe calling for pumpkin, butternut or acorn squash.
In this day and age of uncertain times, the news has been filled with reports of concerns about the food supply due to recent flooding of croplands and coronavirus pandemic issues. Combined with concerns about cancer-causing pesticides used on mass-produced foods, you have good reason to grow as much of your food as you can. Growing jumbo pink banana squash can give you peace of mind by adding hundreds of pounds to your food storage.
As a bonus, honeybees love the blossoms as well!
Jumbo Pink Banana Squash – Perfect for a Survival Garden
Jumbo pink banana squash is a perfect choice for a survival garden. In fact, the first time I grew jumbo pink banana squash, it was from three seeds that were in a five-year-old survival seed pack that my husband had bought. Those three seeds all sprouted and resulted in nearly 200 pounds of squash. And that was in our short high altitude Rocky Mountain growing season!
Banana Squash vs. Butternut Squash
As far as taste goes, as much as I love butternut, I do believe the Banana Squash to be just as tasty, if not superior to Butternut. You can replace Banana Squash in any recipe calling for pumpkin or butternut squash.
Last year I grew both butternut squash and jumbo pink banana squash. If my results growing winter squash last year are typical, then the banana squash came out the clear winner.
I planted 3 banana squash plants and 3 butternut squash plants. We harvested 13 banana squashes ranging from 12″-32″ long and weighing 9-18 pounds each.
Of the butternut squashes, I had only one full-grown, ripe butternut, weighing about 2 pounds. I also harvested 4 small, immature butternuts that were a little over a pound each.
That came out to about 180 pounds for the jumbo pink banana squash and about seven pounds of butternut squash. All the plants were treated the same, given the same amount of organic nutrients, water, space, and sunlight. I had no significant pest issues with either variety.
Jumbo pink banana squash can be grown wherever there are at least 105 frost-free days. The days to maturity for butternut are 110-120, so that could explain my pathetic butternut results.
Living in the mountains of Colorado with a short growing season, I usually wouldn’t even try for anything over 95 days, but I took a chance, and am so glad I did. I did start the seeds indoors 3 weeks before our last frost date.
Jumbo Pink Banana Squash Planting Considerations
All winter squash gets a bad rap for taking up precious garden real estate. It is also a truth that squash vines have a mind of their own. As you will see from the pictures of my garden last year.
A quote by Mr. Edward C. Smith from one of my favorite garden books, The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible puts it the best.
Q:”Where does a gorilla sit at the opera?”
A: “Anywhere it wants to.”
As Mr. Smith states, “It’s the same with winter squash. Given half a chance, winter squash will take over your whole garden. It is a vine, a very long and vigorous vine that will grow and grow and grow-into and all over any part of the garden it can reach.”
One day my adorable little starts were pathetic little plants that suffered the fate of being planted out on a terribly dry and windy day. I was unsure they would make it. The next day (ok, maybe a few weeks or so later) I was shocked at how fast they had taken off and the amount of territory they had claimed.
I had made the mistake of planting them right in the middle of my garden, where they then invaded my once neat rows of broccoli and cauliflower. By then it was too late to train them. They had become free-range squash. They made it alright. Right in, through and among all the other plants in the garden. One even snuck into the hoop house.
Consider growing jumbo pink banana squash on the corners or outer edges of your garden. If your garden is fenced against deer (or in our case goats), young vines can be trained along the outer perimeter. If deer or goats are not a concern, then you can let them grow out and away from the rest of your garden onto your grass or other areas where they can become true free-range squash.
The photos below are from our garden last year. I did not train the squash, partly because I did everything wrong with these plants, and didn’t expect them to make it. And partly because I was naive. I did not know what was coming.
Understanding the “Days to Maturity” on the Seed Packet
The seed packet will say 105 days to maturity. If you start them indoors, 2-3 weeks before transplanting in your garden, you should start counting the days from the date they are transplanted in your garden, not the date they were started from seed.
If you live in a zone with at least 120 frost-free days, you can start the seeds directly in the garden. Start counting the days when your seedlings get their first true leaves. It takes around 9 days for squash to germinate. If you have 120 or fewer frost-free days, you’ll need to start the seeds indoors.
Starting the Seedlings Indoors
It’s best to start seeds indoors no later than two to three weeks before your last frost date. You can get seeds for jumbo pink banana squash here.
I start seedlings in 4″ pots using a good seed starting mix. Plant the seed in about an inch deep. Keep the starting mix moist but not too wet. Make sure your 4″ pot has drainage. I use a seedling heat mat until the seedlings are up and then I remove the heat and turn the lights on.
Once the seedlings have true leaves, I fertilize them with an alfalfa meal tea or a fish emulsion.
Hardening Off Your Plants
Before transplanting, be sure to harden the plants off. I use a fan on low setting over the seedlings as they sprout. This helps them build nice strong stems.
When the weather warms up, you can begin to harden off the plants. Place them in an area outside protected from the wind and sun, gradually exposing them to more sun and wind. Start with an hour a day, moving up to a full 24 hr. day outside before transplanting.
When your plants are outside in pots, they will dry out very fast, be sure to water them thoroughly. You might need to water them more than once a day if they are outside on a warm windy day.
Direct Sowing Seeds in the Garden
You can directly sow jumbo pink banana squash seeds into the garden right after your last frost date.
Dig a hole roughly 12″-18″ deep and about 18″ wide. You’ll want to plant in a raised mound so that over time your soil doesn’t sink in, creating a depression where a puddle can form. This can cause the plant to rot.
Be sure to include plenty of composted manure in the hole. Winter squash is a heavy feeder. I used a combination of manure in the hole the squash plant is planted in along with some compost we made from chicken manure. About every two weeks I made an alfalfa meal tea and watered it in.
I use this alfalfa meal on almost all of my plants with great success. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it.
Prepare the ground for transplanting your seedlings that same way as above, for direct sowing. Squash is very frost sensitive so wait until after your last frost date to plant hardened-off seedlings into the garden.
Be warned that squash plants do not like having their roots disturbed. When transplanting, gently loosen the rootball from the container, and turn it upside down, catching it with your other hand. Do not touch or score the roots.
Mulching is a must if you live where you receive little rainfall, like us. The more the better. Really, 6-12 inches is good.
We like to use pine needles since they are free in our yard, they do the job and stay in place. Also, I know they haven’t been treated with anything, unlike most straw.
Aged wood chips (not black walnut) dried grass clippings (don’t use them fresh, as they contain too much nitrogen) dried leaves and newspapers all make excellent free mulch.
Watering your squash will depend on how dry it is. In general, if the soil is dry 2-3 inches down (just stick your finger in the soil near the base of the plant to check) it is time to water.
If you get plenty of rain, you may not need to water much, if at all. Plants love rainwater!
Harvesting Jumbo Pink Banana Squash
Banana Squash can be harvested young as summer squash. To get the most out of them, you will want to wait until they are mature to harvest. For me, I wait as long as possible.
The day before our first hard frost, I will cut them. By then there is no time to leave them to finish in the sun. Be sure to leave as much stem as you can on the squash. A winter squash without a stem will not keep very long, so be careful not to pick them up by the stem, lest you break it off.
One sure way to know they are ready is if you can press your fingernail gently into the flesh and it does not leave a mark. Another way is when they turn from yellow to a pink/tan color. They do not all turn salmon pink, some will remain yellowish tan, and that is perfectly fine.
Pink Banana squash should be stored in a cool dry place. A root cellar, basement, a box under a bed in a cool bedroom. We simply placed them all on a wire shelf in our kitchen. They have kept 5 months and counting!
Jumbo Pink Banana Squash Pests
As with other winter squash, jumbo pink banana squash can have its fair share of pests, depending on where you live.
The squash vine borer (in the Eastern US)
To control the Squash vine borer, bury the main stem of the plant as it grows in a few inches of mulch or soil.
To do this, take a garden hoe, pick ax, or spade shovel and trench out a small ditch to train it to grow in. It only needs to be an inch or two deep, and about an inch or two wide.
As the vine grows, bury it with compost, mulch, or whatever soil you have around. This will also train your squash to grow inside the little ditch, and away from your other plants in the garden.
Also, the vines that are buried send down roots, which helps the plant to recover if the Squash Vine Borer does go to town on the vines.
If the vine borer can’t get to the stem to lay eggs, you have a much better chance of preventing the resulting damage.
Another method to control the squash vine borer is companion planting with plants that repel the vine borer.
Try bee balm, radishes, oregano, catnip, tansy, mint, nasturtiums, and marigolds. I have found basil, garlic, oregano, and onion to repel many pests.
The Cucumber Beetle
Cucumber Beetles are widespread across the US and Canada. They can be spotted or striped. Cucumber beetles will also eat your squash plants.
These pests are active early in the growing season and love to munch on seedlings just after they emerge from the ground. Bacterial and viral diseases can also be spread from plant to plant by cucumber beetles.
Companion planting tansy and nasturtium will help repel cucumber beetles.
The Old Farmers Almanac has a great article on how to get rid of these pests.
Squash bugs are destructive pests that feed on winter squash, pumpkins cucumbers, and other related plants. As squash bugs feed, they inject a toxic substance into the plant that can kill the plant or adversely affect fruit production.
Floating row covers, neem oil, diatomaceous earth and in extreme cases, organic pesticides are all options for squash bugs. This webpage has great information about controlling
There is also some promising research that indicates planting icicle radishes as a companion to squash can reduce squash bugs by 75%, which is comparable to the effectiveness of commercial pesticides. The radishes should be planted at least a week before the squash is.
Other Natural Pest Control Methods
As mentioned above, companions planting can be an effective way of keeping pests away from your winter squash.
Another great idea for controlling pests if to encourage beneficial insects in your garden. This site has a great list of beneficial insects, how to attract them, and what they prey on.
Inviting beneficial insects to your garden and checking your plants daily for eggs is the best way to reduce all pests. Also, be sure to not plant winter squash where you had it growing the previous year. The eggs of some pests can remain in the soil.
I encourage you to try this old-school squash in your garden this year. If you have a little extra real estate to utilize, the payoff can be big!
Jumbo Pink Banana Squash has become my favorite winter squash. We really love the soups, pies and bread I have made with them. I don’t think you will be disappointed if you give jumbo pink banana squash a try!