Squash plants are notorious cross-breeders. As a result, there are countless varieties. Aren’t we all lucky!? Types of squash are broken down into two categories: winter and summer varieties. As members of the Cucurbita family, squash crossbreeds with gourds and pumpkins, too. SO, when you grow several varieties of any of these in your home garden, chances are they will cross-pollinate. Then if you save the seeds, next year’s crop could result in a strange and exciting new variety? That’s either good or bad, depending upon your intent.
A Common Question: Readers oftenask?
Most vegetable gardeners grow a few varieties of squash.
Listed below are the most popular varieties, along with a few really neat varieties.
Also see: How to grow squash
One of the most frequent questions readers ask about squash is:
“If I plant two types of squash plants nearby, will I get a weird kind of squash?”
The answer is: No, not this year. But, yes it would show up next year, if you saved the seeds. These seeds of a cross-pollinated plant will contain the genetics of the cross.
Acorn – This is an excellent bush-type winter variety. Try it in containers on your patio or deck. Great for baking and steaming. Easy to grow. Matures in 85 days.
Blue Hubbard – This large, sweet-tasting variety has a blue-green rind, and superior quality, dark orange flesh. Grandpa used to crack this hard-shelled squash on the driveway or sidewalk. Use it in fall decorating. Matures: 95-110 days.
Butternut – One of the most popular varieties. The Vining plant is a heavy producer. Fruit is 8 to 10 inches, with long, cylindrical necks, and a very small seed cavity. The rind is creamy tan, and the flesh is yellow-orange with a deliciously sweet and nutty flavor. Long keepers. Matures: 100 days.
Buttercup – A bush variety with sweet flavor, is good for small gardens. Delicious baked, steamed, or simmered. Matures in about 75 days.
Cushaw – This is an unusual, ornamental type, with dark and light green stripes. It’s also a great-tasting edible. Produces 10-12 pound fruits with golden flesh. Use this as an ornamental in fall decorating. Matures 95-110 days.
Delicata – this variety is an excellent choice for long-term storage. Rich, sweet, yellow-orange flesh, with a white, green-striped rind. Tastes best steamed or baked. Matures: 100 days.
Spaghetti Squash – After cooking, the flesh can be pulled out in strands similar in appearance to spaghetti. It’s popular with kids. Matures: 80-95 days.
Turk’s Turban – This highly festive squash (some call it a pumpkin, some call it a gourd) has vivid colors of orange, red, and white with dark green markings. It’s great for fall decorating. It’s edible, too! Use it in any squash recipe. Matures: 95-110 days.
Bush Scallop Patty Pan – There are white and yellow varieties. Scalloped, pie-shaped fruit are 4-5 inches in diameter. The fine-grained flesh is thick, tender, green-tinged with white. It’s a prolific producer. Matures: 45-55 days.
Cocozelle – This is an Italian Zucchini with a bush habit. Excellent for the garden and containers. The flesh is firm and greenish-white. Use it for slicing, frying, and steaming. It is a good squash for freezing and canning.
Early Prolific Straightneck – As its name implies, this space-saving variety produces prolific yields. It can be steamed, stuffed, baked, or used fresh from the garden in salads. Matures: 45 days.
Summer Crookneck – This squash variety is known for its great taste and ease of growing. It has a distinctive buttery flavor and is deep yellow in color, with a curved neck and plump bottom end. It is delicious fresh from the garden, fried, steamed, baked, or grilled. Matures: 48-55 days.
Zucchini – Widely popular, extremely prolific producer. With just a few plants, you’ll have enough to feed family and friends. Best picked when 6 -8 inches long. Matures in 50-60 days.