Common Name: Squash (Cucurbita pepo)
Seed Saving Level: Advanced
Planting: Squash plants take up lots of space, so make sure you have enough room. Plant in direct sun, protected from wind. They don’t transplant well. Germinates in 4-8 days. Only water roots, and try to avoid getting foliage wet.
Harvesting: Once blooms appear and fall off and the squash begin to form, remove any new blooms to focus energy on fruit production. To avoid rot, place squash on a board, flat rock, or some mulch. Winter squash must be fully vine-ripened before harvest, usually in late summer or early fall when vines start to yellow and die back.
Seed Saving: Winter squash are yellow-orange when fully mature. Harvest mature squash and set aside for 3-4 more wks for seeds to ripen. Rinse off the pulp or mix it with water. Viable seeds will sink. Pull out seeds and lay on a paper towel to dry for 2 more weeks.
Sources: Complete Guide to Saving Seeds (2011) by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough, Power Plants: Simple Home Remedies You Can Grow (2014) by Frankie Flowers/Bryce Wild, Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners (2002) by Suzanne Ashworth, almanac.com.
Books and ebooks:
- Winter Squash, SNAP-Ed Connection, U.S, Department of Agriculture, opens a new window
- Growing Winter Squash - August 21, 2002, Backyard Gardener, Jeff Schalau, County Director, Arizona Cooperative Extension, opens a new window
Recipe: Spaghetti Squash with Capers, Tomatoes, and Watercress
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp capers
- 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes with their juice
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
- 1 bunch watercress
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Spaghetti squash satisfies everyone in my family. It’s fun like spaghetti, sweet like winter squash, and can be prepared simply by tossing it with tomato sauce, pesto, or your favorite pasta accompaniment. This is one of my favorite combinations as the bitter greens and salty capers provide balance to the sweet squash and tomato. Preheat oven to 400̊F.
Halve squash, scoop out seeds and place facedown in roasting dish. Add enough water to cover bottom of dish by 1/2-inch and roast until soft (about 40 minutes depending on size of squash). Remove from oven and set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 250̊F. When squash is cool enough to touch, hold over ovenproof serving dish and use tines of fork to scrape out the flesh from top to bottom. Cover with foil and place in oven to keep hot.
In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil 3 minutes or until soft. Add capers, tomatoes, and oregano and sauté 2 minutes. Fold in watercress and allow to wilt (about 30 seconds). Remove from heat, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve over spaghetti squash.
Source: Clean Start: Inspiring You to Eat Clean and Live Well (2010) by Terry Walters