Organic Summer Crookneck Squash - Cucurbita maxima
Introduced to colonial gardeners in the 1700’s by the native Lenape people of the Delaware Valley and a favorite in home gardens since 1828. With a bit of an unusual appearance this soft squash with bright lemon yellow skin offers a distinct mild and sweet flavor. Also commonly known as summer crookneck, golden summer crookneck and early summer crookneck. Despite its name, summer squash is a warm-season crop and can be grown during warm frost-free weather. This sweet and mild nutty flavored squash has a light yellow flesh on the interior and is softer than carrots or apples. Known for its vigor and versatility, this high producing squash can be used in an array of culinary delights.
Excellent in casseroles, soup, roasted, baked, steamed and even freezes really well. Best when harvested while they are young and tender, or when they are about 4” – 7” long, if rind gets too tough, it is too old to use. The main difference between a summer and winter squash is harvesting before the rind hardens and the fruit matures. Enjoy the delicacy of squash blossoms as they are a delight and can be added to accentuate any dish. Squash plants have both male and female flowers on the same plant and pollen must be carried manually or by pollinators (bees) to make the transfer. By using a small painters brush you can assist the pollination process yourself. Harvest cycle is about 42 - 65 days. Plucking out old fruit allows for new fruit to grow.
- Sun: Full
- Indoors: 3 weeks before last frost
- Direct Sow: When soil is warm
- Seed Count: 20
- Days to Maturity: 50-65
- Plant Size: 2'-4'
Keep soil moist while seeds are germinating. Plant 4-6 seeds per 3' diameter mound. Keep mounds 3'-5' apart. Thin to 2 or 3 strongest plants. Can also be planted in rows, beds, or containers. Use mulch at base of plant. Direct sow for strongest plants.
If starting seeds indoors, it is key that your new starts be hardened off. This is a process that requires taking them outside during the day, for a period of time, before they are planted. This acclimates your seedlings to the outside world, meaning the elements like the wind and sun. We do it for several weeks to a month as this strengthens their stems and overall plant structure.
- Start for a short period of time initially, then graduate to more time each day
- One week minimum is recommended
- Bring them inside in the early evening and overnight
- Keep an eye on them and constantly water them. Make sure they have not blown over.