Scores of squash!

Easy to grow in the vegetable patch, Cucurbitaceae come in a great variety of fruits which we can savor from summer’s end to the beginning of spring.

Butternut, spaghetti squash and moschata squash, maxima squash, red kuri squash, sweet dumpling… Squash come in a huge variety of shapes, colors, tastes and sizes.

They are prepared mashed, in soups, baked, and the sweeter ones (like butternut, red kuri squash, and sweet dumpling that tastes like chestnuts) can simply be roasted in the oven with a dash of oil and fine ‘Fleur de Sel’ salt.

Fiber-rich, low-calorie and stock full of vitamins, these squash can be eaten in fall and in winter, because they keep very well for the entire cold season.

Sowing and planting squash in spring

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Maxima squash

Just like tomatoes, squash are demanding plants that require very rich soil. It is impossible to do without adding a huge amount of compost to the vegetable patch before planting.

Seedlings are prepared in April indoors. Place your nursery pots near a source of heat: sow one or two seeds per pot in soil mix. After one month, transplant your young seedlings to the garden, spacing them one or two yards (meters) apart, depending on the variety.

Snails and slugs consider these choice morsels, so protect them with a ring of ashes that you must renew after each and every rainfall.

Depending on the species, you can either let your squash stems run around the ground, or use spiral stakes to let them climb. Mulch the foot of your plants thickly, at least 8 inches (20 cm), and water once a week in summer if the weather is dry, without wetting the leaves.

Squash harvest is at the beginning of fall, when the first frost spells hit. Squash harvested at the end of fall can keep for several months in a dry room with a room temperature between 50 and 70°F (10 to 20°C).

Laure Hamann

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