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University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County
Summer squash (those with a thin, soft outer shell) should be harvested when they are small and tender. Leaving the fruit on the plant too long may result in overly large squash or fruit decay. The fruit can become bitter. It also results in fewer flowers developing later on, reducing yield.
When harvesting be careful to not damage the fruit or stems. Twist off the fruit instead of cutting it. Storage time for most squash and cucumbers is short. Uncut, they may be stored for a few weeks under refrigeration.
Winter squash (those with a hard, inedible shell) take longer to mature (2-4 months). Pick fruit when it is thoroughly hardened on the vine, and store in a cool place.
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