Thursday, August 14, 2014

Squash Talk

Ed has a squash patch going in the garden at the farm this summer. We bought squash seeds at Native Seeds/SEARCH in Tucson, Arizona, with the hope that some of them would grow well in Michigan. The soil at the farm is clay, and the farm, on the west side of the county, has summer temperatures that are much hotter than the lake shore where our lake garden is located.

There are four different kinds of squash or gourds growing. Ed has them separated by patches of corn in an attempt to keep the squash from cross pollinating. The variety of squash shown above is called "Mayo Blusher" and it will be round to elongated in shape and a blush pink when it is ripe.

Mayo Blusher has an apricot colored flesh that is supposed to be sweet. This squash is a good keeper, according to the Native Seeds/SEARCH catalog. It is a variety that is a landrace, heirloom, or wild crop relative with a long time connection to the Southwest. The collection of squash seeds at Native Seeds is phenomenal.

Ed is also growing two different kinds of Hubbard squash this year. The one pictured above is called "Navajo Orange Hubbard" and it is a squash that is grown across the Navajo nation in the southwest. The seed was collected at a Navajo fair in northern New Mexico and is available from Native Seeds/SEARCH in Tucson.

He is also growing a Hubbard variety called "Improved Blue Hubbard." We are both hoping that these two kinds are planted far enough away from each other so that the pollination will be unique to each variety. Otherwise we will get crossed squashes. Maybe we'll see a new variety of the big Hubbards.

One last word about squash and this is a warning. I grew four Butternut squash plants in the lake garden last year. We harvested over 60 pounds of squash off those four plants. This year there are four KINDS of squash and many more plants.

So this is fair warning to my Thumb area friends. If you see the hatchback up on my Chevy Volt and I'm standing in the parking lot by my office handing out squash, well, you can run the other way, or you can enjoy the bountiful harvest that is growing in our August garden and eat squash.

LINK to an interesting article about pollination of squash

Native Seeds/SEARCH website

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