Squash, Vegetable Spaghetti

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Geography/History:
The word “squash” is of Native American Indian origin. And the squash plant is generally known to be native to North and Central America from ancient times (along with maize and beans). So it is entirely reasonable for most people to think that spaghetti squash originated in North America. However, it was actually developed in Manchuria, China during the 1890’s. We are not sure when or how squash was first introduced to China. But we do know that by the 1850’s, the Chinese were growing and using some varieties of squash for fodder. Perhaps the “spaghetti” variety was developed in an effort to come up with a variety that was easier to grow.

Nutritional Value:
One of the reasons for the popularity of squash is its nutritional makeup. One cup of the vegetable has:
* Only 42 calories, making it attractive to those watching their calories (just watch the butter or sauce).

* Only 10 grams of carbohydrates (and complex carbs at that), making it attractive to those on low carb or low glycemic index diets.

* 0 grams fat or cholesterol, making it attractive to those watching their cholesterol.

* Only 28 mg of sodium, making it attractive to those watching their sodium intake.

* Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, potassium, and trace amounts of zinc, phosphorus, iron, calcium, magnesium, and copper—things everybody needs.

Sun:                              Full
Spacing:                      4′ – 6′
Height:                        18″ – 24”
Optimum Soil Ph:    5.5 to 7.0
Days To Maturity:    90 – 100
Sowing Method:       Outdoors

Planting/Growing Tips:

Spaghetti squash are relatively easy to grow, thriving in gardens or in containers.  The plants are monotonous, with male and female flowers on the same plant. Male flowers have long, thin stems that extend upwards from the vine. Female flowers are shorter, with a small round growth underneath the petals. This round growth turns into the squash if the flower is successfully pollinated.  Spaghetti squash plants may cross-pollinate with zucchini plants.

 

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