Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Report of the Committee on Agriculture (II)

Most of this year's butternut squash crop has now been harvested. I grew two types, both of which are hybrids. The tan ones shown above are a variety called Canesi; the others, which can be either mottled green or a two-tone combination of mottled green and yellow-orange, are Autumn's Choice. The colors on the latter variety tend to fade eventually after they're picked.

I planted three or four hills in an area of our yard that hadn't been used for growing anything but grass and weeds for some time. When I dug into it I discovered old cinders, broken glass, and other indications that it had formerly been a household dump, perhaps a century ago, but the soil was apparently suitable for vegetables. About ten or twelve vines emerged, and although at first they were slow to develop once they got going they were quite rampant. The dreaded squash vine borers that are endemic in our area either let them be or did minimal damage; butternuts, which are Cucurbita moschata, are less affected than other squash species. A deer made it over our fence one evening and did some minor damage, but once the fruits themselves started to develop I swathed them in row cover every night and that proved successful. There are still a few squash on the vines but all in all we'll have a good eighty pounds or so of winter squash, which should keep us well supplied with pumpkin pies and side dishes throughout the winter. (Butternuts store for months.) We've shared a few with neighbors already and may wind up giving away more.

I have a few packaged seeds left of both varieties. Since they're hybrids and won't "breed true" there's no point in saving seed from this year's harvest, and Autumn's Choice is becoming hard to find, so next year may be the last for that one. The average size of the squash I harvested this year was in the range of five to seven pounds, which is a bit on the large side to be practical for a small household, so I'll probably mix in a smaller variety next year, perhaps one that is "open pollinated" and can be saved from each year's harvest.

Autumn's Choice proved delicious in previous years, but I won't know about Canesi until they have a chance to cure for a few weeks. Certainly they look appetizing.


Tororo said...

They all look appetizing. Such harmonious curves!

Chris said...

Yes, and you can use them as a dumbbell or a doorstopper!