Squash Golden Yellow - Seeds
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Squash come in two main types: summer squash and winter squash. While there s not much difference among the tastes and textures of summer squashes, winter squashes offer a wide array of flavours.
Summer squash (Cucurbita pepo) produces prolifically from early summer until the first frost. This group includes both green and yellow zucchini, most yellow crookneck and straightneck squash, and scallop (or pattypan) squash. Most summer squash are ready to pick 60 to 70 days after planting, but some reach harvestable size in 50 days. You can use them raw for salads and dips or cook them in a wide variety of ways, including squash "french fries" and such classics as zucchini bread.
Summer squash blossoms, picked just before they open, are delicious in soups and stews, or try them sautéed, stuffed, or dipped in batter and fried. (You ll want to use mostly male flowers for this purpose, though, and leave the female flowers to produce fruit.) Summer squash keep for only a week or so in the refrigerator, so you ll probably want to freeze most of the crop.
Winter squash (C. maxima, C. mixta, C. moschata, and C. pepo) is a broad category that includes butternut, acorn, delicious, hubbard, banana, buttercup (or turban), and spaghetti squash. Pumpkins are also in this group, but their flesh is often less sweet than other winter squash. Most winter squash take 75 to 120 days to mature.
Steam the young fruits, or harvest and bake the squash when they re fully mature. Dry and roast the seeds. Winter squash are even more nutritious than their summer kin, but the sprawling vines, which can grow 10 to 20 feet long, require more space. If you have only a small garden, try one of the bush or semi-bush cultivars.
Common name: Summer squash, crookneck, pattypan, straightneck, scallop, zucchini.
Height: Height: 1 to 3 feet
Spread: 2 to 4 feet
Difficulty level: easy
Planting & Care
Squash is a seasonal vegetable. It is very susceptible to frost and heat damage, but with proper care it will produce a bumper crop with very few plants.
Growing squash plants isn t difficult once you know the basics for the proper care of squash. Learning how to grow squash successfully includes becoming familiar with the types of squash grown, what conditions they prefer, and common squash pests or diseases that may affect them.
Sunlight: full sun
Soil: Requires well-drained soil, requires high fertility. Prefers well-drained, fertile, loose soil, high in organic matter with pH between 5.8 and 6.8. Plentiful and consistent moisture is needed from the time plants emerge until fruits begin to fill out.
Water: Squash grow best in soil that is kept evenly moist. Squashes require a lot of water in hot weather. Plants may wilt on hot days as they use water faster than the roots can supply. As long as water is regular and deeply applied, wilted plants will liven up as the day gets cooler.
Temprature: Germination temperature: 60 F to 105 F - Will not germinate in cold soil. Wait to plant until soil reaches at least 65 F - preferably 70 F or more. Germinates best at 95 F.
Fertilizer: Add aged compost to planting beds before planting and side dress squash with aged compost at mid-season. Side dress squash with compost tea every 2 to 3 weeks during the growing season. Avoid feeding squash with a high nitrogen fertilizer, 5-10-10 is best.
- Start seeds indoors 2 to 4 weeks before last spring frost in peat pots.
- Do not seed or transplant seeds outside until the soil temperature is 55 to 60º F for successful germination.
- Usually, you can seed any time from one week after the last spring frost to midsummer.
- You may be able to have two crops per season if you time it right.
- The outside planting site needs to receive full sun; the soil should be moist and well-drained, but not soggy Work compost or aged manure into the soil before planting for a rich soil base.
- To germinate outside, use cloche or frame protection in cold climates for the first few weeks.
- When you transplant, take care not to damage the root ball.
- Plant seeds one inch deep and 2 to 3 feet apart.
- Most summer squashes now come in bush varieties, but winter squash is a vine plant and needs more space.
- They will need to be thinned in early stages of development.
Harvesting: Harvest summer squash when small and tender for best flavour. Most varieties average 60 days to maturity, and are ready as soon as a week after flowering. Check plants everyday for new produce. Cut the gourds off the vine rather than breaking them off. Fresh summer squash can be stored in the refrigerator for up to ten days. Harvest winter squash when rind is hard and deep in colour, usually late September through October. Winter squash can be stored in a cool, dark place until needed. It will last for most of the winter. If you have a cool bedroom, stashing them under the bed works well. They like a temperature of about 50 to 65 degrees F. Freezing Summer squash: Wash it, cut off the ends, and slice or cube the squash. Blanch for three minutes, then immediately immerse in cold water and drain. Pack in freezer containers and freeze. Freezing Winter squash: Cook as you normally would, then mash. Pack in freezer containers. Pull up those vines and compost them after you ve picked everything or after a frost has killed them. Then till the soil to stir up the insects a bit.
- Mulch plants to protect shallow roots, discourage weeds, and retain moisture.
- Plants love lots of compost and will produce better if well fed.
- When the first blooms appear, apply a small amount of fertilizer as a side dress application and water thoroughly.
- After harvest begins, fertilize occasionally for vigorous growth and lots of fruits.
- For all type of squash, frequent and consistent watering is recommended.
- Water most diligently when fruits form and throughout their growth period.
- To know when to water, use the finger method.
- Put your finger in the soil and if it s dry beyond the first joint, it needs watering.
- If your fruits are misshapen, they might not have received enough water or fertilization.
- Butternut squash contains many vital poly-phenolic anti-oxidants and vitamins.
- It is one of the low-calorie vegetables, which provides just 45 calories per 100 g.
It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol however, is rich source of dietary fibre and phyto-nutrients.
- Squash is one of the common vegetables that often recommended by dieticians in the cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
It has more vitamin A than that in pumpkin.
- At 10630 IU per 100 g, it is perhaps the single vegetable source in the Cucurbitaceae family with the highest levels of vitamin-A, providing about 354% of RDA.
- Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes.
- It is also an essential vitamin for good eye-sight.
- Research studies suggest that natural foods rich in vitamin A help the body protected against lung and oral cavity cancers.
Furthermore, butternut squash has plenty of natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds like a and ß-carotenes, cryptoxanthin-ß, and lutein.
- These compounds convert to vitamin A inside the body and deliver same protective functions of vitamin A on the body.
It is rich in B-complex group of vitamins like folates, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid.
It has similar mineral profile as that in pumpkin, containing adequate levels of minerals like iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Butternut squash seeds are a good source of dietary fibre and mono-unsaturated fatty acids that benefit for heart health.
- In addition, they are rich in protein, minerals, and numerous health-benefiting vitamins.
- The seeds are an excellent source of health promoting amino acid, tryptophan.
- Tryptophan converts to health benefiting GABA neuro-chemical in the brain.
- The squash should be cut in half to remove the seeds.
- The yellow flesh of these tends to be very moist and longer cooking times in the oven are needed.
- They are generally peeled and boiled, cut up and roasted, or cut small and steamed or sautéed.
- It s perfect for pies.
Most people cannot tell whether pumpkin or squash is used in a pie.
- Many cooks actually prefer winter squash to pumpkin because it makes a non-fibrous pie.
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