Squash, Early Prolific Straight Neck

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Geography/History:

Yellow crookneck squash is one of the many cultivars of Cucurbita pepo, the species that also includes some pumpkins and most other summer squashes. The plants are bushy, and do not spread like the plants of winter squash and pumpkin. It is most often used as a summer squash, and is characterized by its bumpy, yellow skin and sweet yellow flesh, as well as its distinctive curved stem-end or “crooked neck”. It should not be confused with crookneck cultivars of Cucurbita moschata, such as the winter squash ‘Golden Cushaw’,  or the vining summer squash ‘Tromboncino’. Its name distinguishes it from its close relative, the yellow summer squash, which has a straight neck.

Yellow crookneck squash are generally harvested immature, when they are less than two inches in diameter,since the skin toughens and the quality degrades as the squash reaches full maturity.

Nutritional Value:
All varieties of summer squash have fewer nutrients than winter squash because the latter have a longer period of maturity and time to develop. Nonetheless, summer squash has a good combination of vitamins and minerals, especially manganese, vitamins C and K, folate, and potassium, and many of these nutrients have been found to be helpful in the prevention of heart disease. The skin is where most of these nutrients are found, and fortunately the entire squash – flesh, seeds, and skin – are edible.

Sun:                              Full
Spacing:                      24″ – 36″
Height:                        24″ – 36”
Optimum Soil Ph:    6 to 6.5
Days To Maturity:    48
Sowing Method:       Outdoors

Planting/Growing Tips:
Heirloom summer squash are warm weather crops, as the name implies and the germination temperature verifies.  Only plant once the soil temperature warms to at least 70 degrees.  Mounding up small hills will create the right soil consistancy and allow the soil to warm quicker.  Mix in a shovelful of compost with handfulls of bone meal and wood ash to create the perfect soil environment for these heirloom seeds.

Plant 3-6 heirloom squash seeds per hill.  Once they have shown true leaves and grown in size, you should thin out to the 3 strongest plants.  Remember, harvest these summer squash continually in order to keep the plant producing.

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