Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We Have Squash!!

I love growing squash! It's so much fun and so interesting! I am a little nuts about squash like other people are about heirloom tomatoes. I know people that grow three dozen different types of tomatoes! I like to grow several different types of squash, whatever kind I find interesting.

The picture at the top is the acorn squash growing on the fence along the driveway. There has been a battle this summer between the acorn squash and the morning glories, to see who would take over the fence. It sure is beautiful!
Most of the squash that I planted this year has done very well and there have been some surprises! This is an ambercup and blue hubbard cross, bound to be delicious with those two for parents! Who knows, maybe it will be fabulous. If I keep pollinating it back to itself for a few generations, I might have a stable new variety of maxima squash. Wouldn`t that be fun!

This is our favourite winter squash variety, ambercup. It is so sweet and delicious without being overly stringy. It`s also small and easy to peel and bake, easier than hubbard, anyway. Those giant hubbard have to be cut with the axe!

We also like buttercup. I planted very decorative buttercup squash this year. Aren't they beautiful! I have about two dozen of these growing in the squash field. These are "turban" squash, also called "Turk`s cap", and are a type of buttercup. Buttercup squash are easy to handle, sweet and delicious, and I like these for fall decorating. The only drawback I have found with the buttercup is that they don't keep as well throughout the winter in the cold cellar. The softer skin that makes them a little easier to peel and cook, also prevents them from keeping as long.

This is a Hopi black squash. The Hopi indians used to grow them in the three sisters fasion. I also planted Hopi pale gray squash, which are suppose to be very good "keepers" but I don't think they did very well. I couldn't find one out there, anyway. Perhaps when the large squash leaves, weeds and grass has died back I will find a few. I hope so.

I planted a few spaghetti squash this year for the first time. Someone told me that the stringy inner part looks and tastes like spaghetti noodles and is good with sauce on it, much like you would eat spaghetti. I planted a few, just a few to try. There are four of them growing out there now and they look like they are doing very well. I don't know how the guys will go for having squash instead of noodles, time will tell. It's bound to be healthier but that's not necessarily a "seller" at our house, unfortunately.

I planted three other types of interesting squash, "upper ground sweet potato" squash that is suppose to taste a lot like sweet potatoes, (we love sweet potatoes!), "sweet mama" squash which should be very sweet and "pink banana" squash, just because it was interesting.
The "sweet potato" squash" are huge, the size of a very large pumpkin! Isn't it lovely and big! There are two of them! That should give us quite a lot of "sweet potato" squash.

The "sweet mama" squash are smaller and grew on a trellis. I have two of those growing with the tomatoes.

I have already received a few seeds for "Sweet dumpling" squash to grow next year.

Squash is so easy to grow and so much fun! Because most of what I grow are maxima, they do tend to cross a bit even though I do hand pollinate most of it, but I'm ok with that.

I would love to plant a very large field full of various squash and have a "pick your own squash" week in the fall. Maybe next year I'll do that. I could grow some jack-o-lantern pumpkins in there too.

I have a surprise jack-o-lantern pumpkin plant growing in the old chicken pen now. We don't have chickens at the moment and the growth in there is amazing. It is so thick with huge weeds, and this pumkin, due to the old chicken manure in there. I am looking forward to seeing the size of those pumpkins! The stems on this pumpkin plant stretch to the roof of the 6' pen and have leaves to match in size. Amazing growth! The massive weeds in there with it prevent any pumpkin viewing at this time, but they will all die back with fall comes.

I also have a squash or pumpkin growing in the old compost pile. Its so weedy I can't see what it is right now.

I have never seen a squash borer but I have planted the squash in a different field so far every year. Maybe it's just not a problem up here. Something has to compensate us for the winters!

I can grow squash! I cannot, however, seem to grow luffahs...


Janice said...

This year the only squash that survived in my garden was the acorn squash. Squash borers almost always kill all of my vines. This year we applied copper, this is suppose to help. I can't say it was a 100% foolproof method though. Growing loofahs, I guess I never considered that. Interesting!

Leigh said...

Wow, you certainly do have a lot of varieties of squash! Most of them I'm not familiar with. Traditionally I always grow acorn and butternut. But this year I tried buttercup. Very sweet and tasty. I'm a little afraid to try more than one variety because I'm trying to learn to save as many seeds as I can.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

Acorn, buttercup and butternut squash will not cross pollinate with each other, as they are all three different varieties of squash, so they are a good mix to plant if you are concerned about pure seed.

Acorn is a pepo, the same type as zucchini and spaghetti squash. Buttercup is a maxima, like most of mine. Butternut is a moschata and will only cross with other moschata squash.

If you stick to one type from each of the four main squash varieties, you won't have cross pollination problems.

I hand pollinate, usually at dawn, so its not a big problem but a small one. I can always buy pure seed for the ones that we really like, such as ambercup.

A lot of folks seem to have squash borer problems. I have not seen any. Is it because I change their location every year? Have you tried that Janice ?

I so want to grow luffahs to sell with my handmade soap, just no luck so far. :-(

Granny J said...

It will be interesting to see if the pink banana squash is pink inside. I love squash and hope to have a couple of plants next year.

The Girl in the Pink Dress said...

Your squashes are looking tasty, and you have so many of them!
I'm am actually crazy about squash.
Also wanted to grow luffas, but we don't really have the climat. Maybe in a greenhouse!
The Girl in the Pink Dress

Michelle's Green Thumb said...

When experimenting with your spagetti squash just remember it will have a lot of water in it - I've done it in a lasagna & it's quite nice (yes, substituted for pasta as I don't like pasta). Pre-cook the squash (cut in half length wise & either nuke it or bake it). Scrape out the long strands & drain them really well (I do it with tea towels). A bit labour intensive, but it's a nice change & the hubby appreciates lasagna in any shape or form.

note on the cross-pollination: a friend grew honey dew & cantalope melons last year that cross pollinated. She had a melon that when cut looked like the two put together - one half honey dew & the other cantalope. She said it was fabulous & saved the seeds. Wonder what they turned into this year...

The Japanese Redneck said...

Looks like you have almost more squash than you know what to do with!

Glad to see it growing so well for you.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

Thanks for the tips, Michelle! I'll remember that when its ready.

We'll be giving lots away, I'm sure!

Kelle said...

Your squash look great! I'm the only one who truly loves squash in our household( although I sneek it in when they aren't looking, pureed it's hidden easily*wink*) We do grwo pumpkins, Cinderella and mini's and my absolute favorite squash is calle Sweet Dumpling, it's small like a mini pumpkin, but green and yellow with a light orange flesh, that melts in you mouth! They are just right for me, two make a meal, add a salad or a meat and it's great.

Thank you for commenting on our blog and thank you for your compliment. Your blog is wonderful and I'm now a follower.
Blessings from,
The Never Done Farm

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Wow, what a great harvest you will have - our squash will most likely not ripen this year, which is something I have not ever had happen before. At least I can look at your harvest - beautiful!

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

Oh dear! Why wouldn't your squash be ripening this year? Was it started too late? Sometimes they will ripen anyway and just be small, if you leave them out there long enough.

Hi Kelle, Welcome! I have some seeds to grow Sweet Dumplling squash next year! I'm looking forward to it!

Granny J, I think the pink banana squash is orange inside, the outside is suppose to be pink? That was my understanding, anyway. Oh well, I'm sure it'll be good, regardless. I'm going to Google it and see what info is out there.

Michelle said...

Very interesting read on your squash. I would love to buy some of your seeds & to learn more about what varieties to plant to avoid cross pollination.
My pumpkins are growing in the compost section too. Hoping to expand growing space to accommodate more winter squash next year.

kellysc99 said...

I love pumpkins, squash, and gourds. They are my very favorite things to grow! Here in Georgia, everything started out wonderfully but then burnt up. We couldn't keep it watered enough for all of those 100+ days. I guess I'll be going to the pumpkin farm this year. Loved looking at your pictures, though. Have you tried Baker Creek Seeds? They have so many interesting varieties!

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

There are four main species of squash C. maxima (hubbard, ambercup, buttercup, some varieties of prize pumpkins, such as Big Max), C. mixta (cushaw), C. moschata (butternut, sweet potato), and C. pepo (most pumpkins, acorn squash, summer squash, zucchini). They will cross pollinte within those four species but rarely with fruit from another species. Most of what I grow are maxima as they are usually sweeter and just better for baking.

I'm so sorry you lost your pumpkins! That's so sad! They do need a lot of water. I hand watered with the hose all thorugh the spring this year, but haven't needed to since.

I have grown a lot more varieties in the past but have narrowed it down some, discarding a few every year that just don't meet the standard. I am always adding a few too. I'm looking forward to growing the Sweet Dumpling squash next year!

I am working on a system to prevent cross pollination.

Ottawa Gardener said...

I love squash too. When we move onto our rural property, I'll finally have the squash field of my dreams and be able to grow more than my usual 2-3 kinds. The pink fleshed one sounds very nice.

Oh, have you been to Homegrown Goodness? If not, you might like it.

Lorie said...

Wow! What a variety. Wish we had more room to grow such beauties. Thanks for sharing a glimpse of you wonderful garden.

Wills Kitchen said...

Your squash are beautiful! I have not cooked much with squash but we do like the spaghetti squash. We mostly have the yellow and zucchini but I may have to look for some of these. Do you grow celery root? That is a new vegetable root we have really come to love.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

I haven't even trid it, Will, but I have seen it in the store. Does it taste like celery? I may have to get some. If we like it a lot, we'll grow it. We have decided to grow only what we will eat and really like. Anything else is not worth the trouble.

We LOVE the winter squash. I have another blog post about them with lots of recipes here: