Delectable, tiny, and absolutely beautiful Golden Nugget Squash has the flavor and texture that I’ve always wanted from winter squash without all the hassle. I grew these for the first time last Summer and now they will be making their way in to my gardening plans every year. These sweet nuggets are one of my favorite new crops.
Golden Nugget, a 1966 All American SectionsAll American Sections (AAS) winner, is a small and quickly maturing variety of winter storage squash. Growing them is a breeze compared to dealing most of their curcubit family members that can have monstrous vines which take eons to produce harvests.
Growing winter squash has definitely been a source of frustrations for me in the past. Squash borers have been horrible across the Southeastern US for 3 years straight, and last year they were joined by armies of squash bugs and squash beetles. I hate these pests so much that I had almost given up on growing any winter squash, until I grew Golden Nuggets. I don’t think they are particularly resistant to all of the squash pests. But, they mature in only 85 days. So, if timed correctly, they can produce a harvest before being found and destroyed by bugs. I planted ours after pulling onions in May, around the time the first wave of squash borers had already done their damage in the garden. By mid-August these little beauties were harvested and adorning our dining room hutch.
The growth habit of Golden Nugget is much different than typical winter squash. They are compact bush type plants that are ideal for small spaces and raised bed gardens. You could even grow these little beauties in large pots. In addition to being perfect for small spaces, they would also be great for large farms. Because Even though they are small, pound per pound Golden Nugget would probably produce more food per acre than other winter squash varieties. Each plant produces an average of five to six squash, with some plants in ideal conditions producing up to 10 of these softball-sized babies!
Golden Nugget is not only quicker and more productive the most others, they are far more delicious than any squash I’ve had. They are incredibly sweet like a pie pumpkin. But, their texture is buttery and less watery than pumpkin. They are wonderful roasted, grilled, or used in soups. When mixed with black beans, peppers, and onions, Golden Nugget is a perfect filling for vegetarian enchiladas.
There are so many delicious ways that I would love to try them. But, unfortunately I am down to our last one. I imagine these would store far longer then the four months I have had this one sitting around. Next year I will be growing many more golden nuggets and will hopefully have enough to enjoy them throughout the Winter months.
- Plant in well drained soil that has been amended with plenty of compost.
- Sow seeds after danger last Spring frost. If you are in an area with a long growing season, plant 120 days prior to average last frost date.Planting later in the season might avoid many squash pests.
- Plants will form compact bushes 3-4ft in diameter.
- They are ready to be harvested when the skins are hardened enough that a fingernail can not dent them.
- 2-3 inches of stem should be left attached to increase storage time. They store for up to 6months.
- The sweet flavors of these delicious squash will be greater after they have been stored for a month.