Squashes come in many varieties; shapes, colours and sizes. Ornamental Gourds are inedible. They are all technically fruit as they are grown from flower and are grown similarly to pumpkins. They require plenty of sun and water to grow to their potential and fully ripen.
Squashes' seeds can be sown indoors in individual pots during spring and kept in a bright and warm location or directly outside later; late May-early June. They should be sown on the side to prevent rotting. If the weather has not warmed up sufficiently, the young plants may need some fleece protection.
How you choose to grow your squashes will depend on the variety as well as your location and the space you have available on your plot. They require a lot of space; plant approximately 4 feet apart, directly in the soil. Some may be grown vertically and trained on a sturdy structure that will hold the heavy foliage and fruits when they are formed. Others can be grown in large containers, which will require plenty of watering if they are in compost.
Do watch for problems, such as slugs, rats and mice, and mildew on the large leaves.
Water well during dry spells and feed them once per week. To improve the quality of your fruits, you can pinch out excessive fruits that form to give you a few large ones or half a dozen smaller ones per plant.
Once the fruits have grown large enough to be sitting on the ground, place something underneath them to prevent them from rotting in the soil; such as a piece of wood or similar protective barrier. You can move them enough without breaking the stems to expose them to sunlight away from the large leaves that often shade them.
Alike pumpkins, squashes should be firm and fully ripened for harvesting during the autumn providing they have had adequate summer sun. Cut them off at the stalks and let them sit in the sunshine until their skins harden up.
Squashes can be stored in a cool place for a period of time, dependent on the variety.