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Better winter squashes?

16 years ago

Hello! I grow winter squash because they are "self storing". I don't have to do anything significant to keep them for autumn and winter eating.

I have noticed that seed breeders are increasingly breeding them to be ever smaller in size--typically "single-person portions". Well, that's a problem because I think smaller squashes don't keep as well.

I am suspicious that "bush" types are becoming more popular, even among winter squashes, because several of my squashes were such which was a surprise. Probably easier for the farmers to manage.

Performance was poor this year. The weather didn't help (unusually cold this spring), but I think some of it, too, were the breeds. Contrary to its description, Cornell's Bush Delicata was the ONLY squash that got powdery mildew as of yet! It has performed poorly. It was sluggish (I wonder if this is a side-effect of being a dwarf) and is going to be a poor yielder (despite a warm September), with only one small fruit looking likely to make it to maturity. This plant was strongly hypped by the seed supplier, but I wonder how such a small plant can produce any significant amount of winter squash.

Neck pumpkins which in theory should be excellent keepers got a systemic fungus. Didn't kill them but they made only 1 small fruit.

Healthiest pumpkin (no disease, in fact) was ironically a hull-less seed type. It surprised me by turning out to be another "bush" type; it made exactly one pumpkin but the plant has been healthy and the pumpkin is good-sized. Of course this one is just for the seeds anyway.

Next year I am thinking of trying Jaspee de Vende, which is supposed to be a good, sweet squash. No idea how big they are, or how they perform. But I have the seed and I thought it worth a shot after other disappointments. I found several ringing endorsements of it for vigor of the vines, flavor, and keeping ability.

My own priorities are plant vigor (I don't use pesticides or fungicides), keeping ability, flavor, and, if possible, an attractive shell to look nice before we eat it (aesthetics always seem to make food taste better).

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