Magazine article Sunset

Squash That Mind Their Manners

Magazine article Sunset

Squash That Mind Their Manners

Article excerpt

IF RAMPANT VINES AND behemoth fruit have deterred you from growing winter squash, consider a bush or compact variety that takes little space and yields an abundance of flavorful fruit.

After perusing seed catalogs last spring, Sunset editors tested seven varieties (pictured above) advertised as compact. Spring, when frost danger ends, is the time to order and plant seeds for late-summer harvest.

All our plants were given the same growing conditions--fertile soil, full sun, and consistent water. We compared varieties for plant size, vigor, disease resistance, and productivity.

Once squash had been harvested, a panel of seven tasters compared them. Here's what we learned from one growing season in our small-scale test in Menlo Park, California.

With the exception of |Early Acorn', a vine of 3 by 6 feet, and |Sweet Mama' (described below), all varieties stayed about 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 feet.

|Sweet Mama' ranked first for flavor and total poundage of mature squash. A single plant produced nine squash, ranging from almost 2 to more than 6 pounds each; total harvest was more than 35 pounds. |Sweet Mama' was also the largest vine in our tests; it grew to 4 by 4 1/2 feet, with one vine trailing 8 feet. …

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