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Landrace Squash photos and discussion  RSS feed

 
William Schlegel
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Been thinking about landrace squash a lot lately especially because of the pickup full of it in my yard. So here are some landrace Cucurbita maxima pictures from my grex.
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Lofthouse banana
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Arikara?
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Buttercup cross?
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Hidatsa squash
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Lofthouse buttercup
 
William Schlegel
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Pepo Mandan Squash and Mospermia Mixta x Moshata cross that Joseph Lofthouse made.
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Mandan squash a pepo
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Mandan squash open
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Mandan squash
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Mospermia 1 lofthouse
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Mospermia 2 lofthouse
 
William Schlegel
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Hidatsa, Arikara, and Similar Squash.
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Arikara? Again
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Hidatsa
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Not sure could be mine or lofthouse
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Lofthouse banana
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Little squash with some uncertainty- found mixed with or adjacent to lofthouse
 
Deb Rebel
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You have a beautiful crop there, I'm most envious. And the Lofthouse stuff, he's always choosing for flavor as well as other traits. You have a lot of good eating ahead of you there. Thank you for sharing pictures too!
 
Ryan Hobbs
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I've got a candy roaster heirloom squash coming ripe sometime this week. I can't wait frankly.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I'm just starting my frost-emergency harvest... So little time to post, but here's a tease. I've expanded the color pallet of my landrace buttercup squash. Thanks to the Hopi people for the additional colors. And I was able to add the colors while retaining the wonderful flavor.
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William Schlegel
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Moschata squash
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Zucchini Rampicante
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Lofthouse pumpkin
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Green butternut lofthouse
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Green zucchini colored butternut
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Classic lofthouse butternut
 
William Schlegel
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Lone laganaria and my bee made maxima cross of Hidatsa x rio Lucio (gave ten of these latter to foodbank this morning) had some for breakfast and supper.
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Laganaria lofthouse
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Hidatsa x Rio Lucio
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Hidatsa x Rio Lucio 2
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Hidatsa x Rio Lucio 3
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I started my frost emergency harvest today. I grew plants that are descended from Tetsukabuto, which is a male sterile interspecies hybrid between maxima and moschata squash. They would have been pollinated by other varieties which are unknown to me. This project is part of my  ongoing efforts to creolize my landraces, even to the point of encouraging crossing between species.

I picked the medium sized maxima landrace. I selected some fruits for seed if they had just the right shape, colors, or size. The rest can go to the farmer's market or food pantry. So here's a photo of some of the selected fruits, and some of the culls. I am not adding the small fruited varieties to the "small fruited" landrace, because they were pollinated by medium or large fruited varieties, so it might mess up the sizes.


Here's a couple different piles of squash that i harvested today prior to expected frost later in the week. I still have a couple days to get them into protected spaces.
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Interspecies hybrid between maxima and moschata squash.
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Lofthouse landrace maxima, medium
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Lofthouse landrace maxima. Culls.
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Frost Emergency harvest.
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A different frost emergency harvest.
 
Hester Winterbourne
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Year before last, we kept the seeds from our Halloween pumpkin, who is always known affectionately as Rickybob.  Last year, some of the plants I put up the school field in their "allotment" which was then abandoned and only one plant survived.  It had one large stripy pumpkin, dubbed "The Mutant" (I know, it wasn't a mutant, scientifically...). Since it had only had itself to breed with, I thought it would be interesting to keep the seeds of that.  This year all has gone a bit haywire...
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The Mutant, far left.
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I think I will buy some fresh seed! But, who wants to bet I can't resist saving again...
 
William Schlegel
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Maxima seed saving pile. Plus buttercup pile

Grew lofthouse, bitterroot, home saved, dakota dessert, for buttercups and threw in anyone who looked to have buttercup ancestry to the buttercup pile. Thinking I might grow more buttercup next year- having trouble selling the big squash.
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Maxima seed saving pile.
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Buttercup seed saving pile
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Maxima and buttercup piles combined
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Axillary maxima seed saving pile is in the kitchen this is a lofthouse banana and a lofthouse buttercup
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I'm still adding to the pile, but here's a sneak peak at some of the landraces that I'm saving for seed. I'll let them continue to mature for about 3 weeks before extracting the seeds.



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Landrace squash.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I successfully grew cucurbita ficifolia for the first time this year. It is also called fig-leaved gourd. It is typically day-length sensitive, but this strain managed to produce fruit before frost. Yay! That makes 6 species of squash that I am able to grow here.
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Cururbita ficifolia, fig-leaved gourd
 
David Livingston
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What does the fig leaf squash taste like and does it interbreed with the others?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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David Livingston wrote:What does the fig leaf squash taste like and does it interbreed with the others?


Tastes mild and bland. About like a patty pan squash. An alternate name is "Shark fin melon" because the fibers are used as a substitute for shark in shark fin soup.

Crossing with other squash species is very rare, but some hybrids are known.
 
William Schlegel
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Mospermia photos
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Round peduncle like mixta moschata green butternut appearance
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Mixta appearance moschata peduncle
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Normal moschata peduncle
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Possible mospermia seeds
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I'm not sure about this one could just be mixta ?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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The mospermia is crazy making, looking like either parent, or somewhere in between!!! Or mix/match traits, and switched around.

Mixta peduncles are fat and round. Moschata peduncles are thin and 5 sided. The first few generations of mospermia tend towards fat and 5 sided. Based on the photo, the first  shown here could be either mospermia or moschata. If the flesh is pale or whitish then it's mospermia, especially if the seeds lack a distinct margin.  Or a segregant that went back to parental traits.... If the seeds have a distinct margin, and the flesh is deep orange, it's likely moschata. Is a photo available of this fruit still attached to the leaves?

The second photo has a classic mospermia fat 5-sided peduncle. A confirming trait would be if the cut end shrinks to about half size as it dries. Also, if that fruit is the same one shown earlier in the field, the leaves are classic mospermia leaves, with traits mid-way between species. Mospermia is tending towards white seeds. Pure mixta seeds tend towards brown in my population.




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Could be mospermia, or moschata...
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Classic mospermia look of peduncle, and leaves in field.
 
William Schlegel
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:The mospermia is crazy making, looking like either parent, or somewhere in between!!! Or mix/match traits, and switched around.

Mixta peduncles are fat and round. Moschata peduncles are thin and 5 sided. The first few generations of mospermia tend towards fat and 5 sided. Based on the photo, the first  shown here could be either mospermia or moschata. If the flesh is pale or whitish then it's mospermia, especially if the seeds lack a distinct margin.  Or a segregant that went back to parental traits.... If the seeds have a distinct margin, and the flesh is deep orange, it's likely moschata. Is a photo available of this fruit still attached to the leaves?

The second photo has a classic mospermia fat 5-sided peduncle. A confirming trait would be if the cut end shrinks to about half size as it dries. Also, if that fruit is the same one shown earlier in the field, the leaves are classic mospermia leaves, with traits mid-way between species. Mospermia is tending towards white seeds. Pure mixta seeds tend towards brown in my population.





It's fun though! No picture of the green possible mospermia. I plucked it at the same time I picked the second mospermia I did photograph in the field and thought something about its shape and eventually the peduncle lended some credence to the idea it might be mospermia too!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Moschata:


Mospermia:


Mixta:
 
Laurie Dyer
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I planted Joseph Lofthouse's maxima this year, can hardly wait to try it.

There are another dozen or so fruit on this plant. Something I'm thrilled about is how compact the plant is. Don't get me wrong--the squash splant is large for sure, there's a much higher ration of fruit to plant than in the other varieties I have in my garden.
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William Schlegel
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Laurie Dyer wrote:I planted Joseph Lofthouse's maxima this year, can hardly wait to try it.


Just a question. Why are you waiting? I'm eating now and judging by that stem I would eat that specimen now if It was mine and I wanted to eat squash.

I've heard that curing squash is a thing- I guess I do that with the ones I don't eat right away.

Though perhaps you only have a few squash?
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This is a big pile of squash I need to find a better spot to store soon!
 
Laurie Dyer
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"Just a question. Why are you waiting? I'm eating now and judging by that stem I would eat that specimen now if It was mine and I wanted to eat squash.

I've heard that curing squash is a thing- I guess I do that with the ones I don't eat right away.

Though perhaps you only have a few squash? "

That's exactly it, William. I have a small yard and only have about 2 dozen squash total. I like to cure them and then eat every so often during the winter as a treat.
 
Todd Parr
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A few of mine
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Joseph Lofthouse
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I've been eating landrace zucchini as winter squash this fall. I'm really enjoying them that way. Taking a bushel of them to farmer's market this weekend.
 
Craig Dobbson
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I've been eating landrace zucchini as winter squash this fall. I'm really enjoying them that way. Taking a bushel of them to farmer's market this weekend.


got a good recipe?  I always miss a few zucchini in the patch and then find them when they are two feet long and tough as a shoe.  Chickens like them and so do pigs but I've always been tempted to do something with them for people food. 

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I have been eating Winter Zucchini Squash as if they were Acorn Squash or Delicata. Cut open. Remove seeds. Microwave till tender. Like eating any other pepo squash, it's a good opportunity to slather on plenty of butter, coconut oil, or bacon!

Technically, I have been eating them without seasonings, because as a plant breeder I want to know what the squash tastes like. I already know that I like butter, salt, and pepper. After eating a number of fully mature  Winter Zucchini, I'm recommending the practice to my followers, and putting my reputation on the line by offering them at the farmer's market. 

 
William Schlegel
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I've been eating landrace zucchini as winter squash this fall. I'm really enjoying them that way. Taking a bushel of them to farmer's market this weekend.


Aha! I have a packet of your landrace zucchini I saved for next year because I wanted to grow Mandan squash this year and didn't have time to make a another garden I had in mind. If your zucchini are good as winter squash then next year I shall merge the two and grow your zucchini with the Mandan squash as both can be winter / summer.  I was wondering what I could cross with the Mandan to retain its multipurpose nature! Hmm wonder what all colors are in your zucchini landrace?

Oh separate thought I just cracked a squash I found. Last year I had Hidatsa, rio Lucio, and an buttercup for maximas. Where I picked this squash I think it might be a Hidatsa / buttercup cross if Hidatsa coloration is dominant. Or it could be one of Joseph's. Tastes buttercupish. It's good. I'll put it's seed packet high on the pile for replanting.
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Hidatsa coloration
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Somewhat buttercup like in flesh and shape.
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Top view
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Here's a photo of my zucchini landrace 3 years ago. It's drifted a bit since then, in that I have selected for longer/larger fruits, and the color balance might have shifted.

And a photo of immature fruits from this summer at the farmer's market. The color shifted from week to week as different plants were more/less productive.


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Winter Zucchini
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Landrace Zucchini summer squash
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Winter Zucchini just to the right of the cardboard boxes.
 
Burra Maluca
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I've been eating landrace zucchini as winter squash this fall. I'm really enjoying them that way. Taking a bushel of them to farmer's market this weekend.


Aha - now that answers a question that my other half asked a few days ago.  "How come the American's don't seem to eat marrows?"  Heck, it seems you don't even know the word! Us old-time Brits grow marrows specifically, only young trendy Brits grow courgettes. 

I failed to find the photo of my son holding one he'd just picked when he was just a kid back in Wales, but here's a few recipes.

Stuffed Marrow

Marrow Rum

a selection of marrow recipes

Seed bred to produce marrows tends to give just a few fruits per plant, but those fruits store well.  Seed bred for zucchini/courgettes tend to produce loads and loads of fruit but in our experience the skins don't seem to harden enough for long term storage.  I'm sure this could be sorted out within a couple of years of selecting for long storage though.

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Burra: Those issues sorted themselves out for me...

If I keep the young fruits picked, the plants will keep producing fruits the whole season. If I don't pick the fruits, then the plant stops flowering and matures some marrows. Because I save seeds from whatever fruits match my selection criteria, a plant that produces 3 marrows produces 3 times more seeds, and is thus 3 times more likely to be replanted next year. So over the years, the population moves towards genetics that produce more marrows.

Something similar happened with storage ability. Due to my workload, I typically harvest the zucchini fruits months before I am able to extract  the seeds. And I like for squash seeds to continue to mature in the fruits after harvest. These practices resulted in selection for long-keeping marrows. I didn't intend to do that. It just happened because of who I am and how I work. 

Edit to add: I didn't know the definition of "marrow" until today.

 
Craig Dobbson
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I'm learning a lot from this thread.  Thanks for all the pictures everyone.

I have a question about powdery mildew.  It seems that it's just a matter of time before it sets in and there's really not much more to my growing season anyway so I was curious about a few things. 

At what point (percent of leaf coverage) is the mildew so bad that the plant isn't worth keeping in the garden?  Where is the point of diminishing returns for photosynthesis?

When it comes to landrace squash, are there any exterior characteristics that you select against? and for what reason? 
 
Sara Rosenberg
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I love seeing all the landrace items y'all post up. Here's my dilemma... the craptacular stuff grocery stores try to pawn off on customers has never been 1) enticing and 2) have any taste to them aka bland.

So I'd like to get my family into planting and eating squash as it is a great winter veggie. Can y'all recommend a few varieties to try out next year that are perhaps some fan favorites?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I recommend going to a "producer only" farmer's market, and source your seeds from there. Get fruits that appeal to you and taste them. Save seeds from any that you like.... That lets you know that at least one local grower was successful with the variety for at least one growing season. That's better than you can expect from a seed catalog.

I dislike the taste of Jack-o-Lantern, and anything related to it.

Buttercup is my favorite tasting squash. That's a wonderful place to start. Fruits can be a bit small for my preference.

Sweet meat is popular for taste, and decent sized.

Red Kuri is a commercial variety. Dreadful taste to me.

Hubbard is beloved, but at 40 to 60 pounds per fruit can be overwhelming.

Turks turban is most commonly sold as decorative, but flavor and size are nice.

Butternuts can be iffy. There are lots of commercial varieties that are insipid. Aim for skin that is dark tan rather than light tan, and for flesh that is orange rather than yellow.

I'm don't care much for pepo squash, but if I have to eat one, I prefer something like Acorn, Delicata, or Festival. I recommend avoiding spaghetti squash in a landrace.
 
Sara Rosenberg
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
I recommend going to a "producer only" farmer's market, and source your seeds from there. Get fruits that appeal to you and taste them. Save seeds from any that you like.... That lets you know that at least one local grower was successful with the variety for at least one growing season. That's better than you can expect from a seed catalog.

I dislike the taste of Jack-o-Lantern, and anything related to it.

Buttercup is my favorite tasting squash. That's a wonderful place to start. Fruits can be a bit small for my preference.

Sweet meat is popular for taste, and decent sized.

Red Kuri is a commercial variety. Dreadful taste to me.

Hubbard is beloved, but at 40 to 60 pounds per fruit can be overwhelming.

Turks turban is most commonly sold as decorative, but flavor and size are nice.

Butternuts can be iffy. There are lots of commercial varieties that are insipid. Aim for skin that is dark tan rather than light tan, and for flesh that is orange rather than yellow.

I'm don't care much for pepo squash, but if I have to eat one, I prefer something like Acorn, Delicata, or Festival. I recommend avoiding spaghetti squash in a landrace.


well, guess I shouldn't have planted the Jack-o-lantern.. whoops.

Sweet meat and butter cup will probably be what i give a go next year.

thanks Joseph for the quick response. I'm in north Texas and working on getting all my neighbors in on my crazy growing exploits and landrace items sound awesome. I'm definitely interested in planting several next year and seeing how the generations adapt and change.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Craig, I look at powdery mildew in the exact opposite way... I consider it a sign that the plant has already lived out it's life, and died from old age. Powdery mildew is just the first visible sign of decomposition. Sure, I had a patch of cucumbers one time that succumbed a few weeks after germination. But for the most part, in my garden, I think of powdery mildew as a sign of senescence and old age. I don't chop out plants for having powdery mildew. The fall frosts will be along shortly.


Craig Dobbson wrote:When it comes to landrace squash, are there any exterior characteristics that you select against? and for what reason? 


I select against lots of externally visible traits...

I might cull for the following reasons:

Susceptibility to diseases, insects, deer, coons, mice, etc.
Sunscalding
Slow germination
Slow growth
Bush/Vine habit, depending on what plant shape I'm after
Shape or size of peduncle
Hardness or diameter of vine
vine length
leaf shape or color
Height of leaves
General size of the vines
fruit shape, color, size
Bumpiness or scarring
doesn't store well

Then I select for internal traits like fruit color, taste, seediness.

As an example, the buttercup shape leads to a weak area around the blossom end. That makes it easier to damage the squash mechanically, and they tend to not store as long. So in my general landrace, I tend to select against the "buttercup trait".

Another example, I see decorative maxima squash covered in lesions. Sure they are unusual, but they severely damage the storage fitness of the squash, so anything like that gets culled in my garden. In like manner, if the skin of a fruit is damaged by sitting on the clayish soil, or from feeding by squash bugs, and it develops lesions, it gets culled because it won't keep long. I typically extract seeds months after harvesting the fruits, so the culling for poor storage typical takes care of itself, as long as I'm not saving seeds from rotted fruits.

Another example: Butternuts that are bright green or chartreuse  as immature fruits are more attractive to deer predation, so the population tends to move in the direction of darker less visible fruits.
 
William Schlegel
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Sara Rosenberg wrote:I love seeing all the landrace items y'all post up. Here's my dilemma... the craptacular stuff grocery stores try to pawn off on customers has never been 1) enticing and 2) have any taste to them aka bland.

So I'd like to get my family into planting and eating squash as it is a great winter veggie. Can y'all recommend a few varieties to try out next year that are perhaps some fan favorites?


http://agrilifecdn.tamu.edu/urbantarranthorticulture/files/2010/06/B-6-Vegetable-Varieties.pdf

I saw on your profile you are from the Fort Worth Texas never having been there I googled squash for Fort Worth. Came upon the above link.

"Early butternut, Sweet Mama, Table Ace Table King Bush Acorn, Cream of the Crop"

I betcha these varieties might be a good place to start. I've grown table king acorn squash and it was an ok Pepo- handy size. The rest I don't recognize I'll look them up. Butternut is something I long failed to grow here until I tried Joseph's moschata landrace this year.

Since you live fairly far south If you want landrace squash you might check out native seed search's website. You might also try southern exposure seed exchange. Farmers markets are a safe bet and short season varieties from someone like Joseph might do surprisingly well.

Personally I also like to research who the closest agricultural Native American tribes were and are and see if there are any extant varieties from them.





 
Sara Rosenberg
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really great suggestions William. I really appreciate it!
I figure i just haven't had the right squash yet. kinda like the first time I had sushi, and even the second time I had it... it was horrible... then I went to a place that knew their business and had quality ingredients. I'm kinda hoping that I'll stumble upon "the right squash" with the right direction from experts like y'all so many many thanks. My husband will appreciate it when new items that are good for him show up on the house menu AND taste great.
 
Craig Dobbson
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With the vine diameter...  Is that because of insects like borers?  I know a lot of folks like butternut because of the vine being so dense that the borers don't do well. 

Joseph:  Thanks for the tips, I really appreciate it.  Looks like I'll be harvesting some squash tomorrow.  I'll try to post a picture so you can see what I've got to work with.

The major contributors to this patch were Jester acorn squash, butternut, costata romanesco zucchini and maybe a blue hubbard or two.  A lot of them look like giant zucchini but with hard skin and yellow and green stripes.  I'm going to open one up for dinner tomorrow.  we'll see how it goes.

Is there any sense in choosing squashes based on how early they develop powdery mildew?  Some of the plants are covered in it and some don't yet have a spot of it at all, even though they are all in the same patch.  If it's just a sign of being done, does PM onset become a deciding factor in choosing varieties for colder climates? I have a short season and my goal is to get the most squash (by weight) as I can in a given area and then to hopefully get a cover crop established before the ground freezes after I pull the squash.  I don't have pest issues, just the powdery mildew.

I suspect pest susceptibility is another issue that kind of takes care of itself.   A dead plant produces no seed. 
 
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Craig Dobbson wrote:With the vine diameter...  Is that because of insects like borers?  I know a lot of folks like butternut because of the vine being so dense that the borers don't do well. 


Exactly. I'm growing a number of interspecies hybrids, so I get to select for vine traits of the more resistant species, while selecting for fruit traits from the more flavorful species.

If powdery mildew is a problem at your place, then it might make sense to select for more resistance. My squash doesn't have much powdery mildew resistance, but it matures very quickly. I have been surprised by how well they do in warmer/damper areas, because the plant grows quickly and robustly, and produces abundantly before succumbing to powdery mildew. While varieties with more resistance but that take a long time to mature might struggle to produce a fruit before eventually succumbing.

If my goal was pounds of squash produced, then that would be the criteria that I would use for selection. Spacing plants far enough apart that I could select on that trait. By that criteria, a plant that produces one 15 pound fruit is far ahead of the plant that produces six fruits weighing a pound each. With landrace squash planted in a row, it's sometimes easy enough to select the plants that are most productive (in pounds) because the fruits are all about the same size/shape, and are different than the neighboring squash fruits.

In my garden, the squash plants are typically killed by frost in September, and the ground doesn't freeze until November, so there is plenty of time to establish cover crops after squash. I make sure to plant the cover crop within days of the squash being truly dead... Some years I get a second harvest during warm weather after the first frost.

 
William Schlegel
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Sara Rosenberg wrote:really great suggestions William. I really appreciate it!
I figure i just haven't had the right squash yet. kinda like the first time I had sushi, and even the second time I had it... it was horrible... then I went to a place that knew their business and had quality ingredients. I'm kinda hoping that I'll stumble upon "the right squash" with the right direction from experts like y'all so many many thanks. My husband will appreciate it when new items that are good for him show up on the house menu AND taste great.


Just a thought on developing landraces:

Three species of squash are represented by the TAMU suggestions for North Central Texas. Three of the squash are hybrids!

Early Butternut is a hybrid Moschata Squash so you have a decent start to a landrace variable butternut patch just by replanting its seed!

Sweet Mama is a hybrid Maxima squash so you have a decent start to a landrace variable maxima patch just by replanting its seed!

Table Ace is a hybrid acorn squash and Table King and Cream of the Crop are also Acorn Squash. So if you plant an isolated patch of all three kinds of acorn squash- you have a darn good start to an acorn squash landrace.

So essentially if you just grow and seed save those TAMU suggestions you would be starting on the landrace path.

Now its fairly common in amateur vegetable breeding to save seeds from commercially available hybrids- often with the goal of creating a stable non-hybrid version of the hybrid by repeatedly selecting for a stable version. With landrace gardening you don't have to be quite that selective- if you like it you can keep it in your population. 

I would say a good first step is to get something that will actually grow in your garden- regardless of taste!

Step 2 is to try to cross in squash that might taste or thrive even better- but might not grow as well in your climate.

Step 3 is to keep selecting for what you like while maintaining quite a bit of diversity. In landrace gardening its ok to like lots of different shapes and colors for instance.

Now at any time once you have a Grex (variable population not old enough to be a landrace), protolandrace, or landrace you can leave the landrace path, still be an amateur vegetable breeder and pull out a variety- simply by being even more selective.

Here is an example from me:

Last year was a bad year for squash. Locally adapted squash produced but I didn't have a locally adapted Moschata I had some Waltham Butternut and some Canada Crookneck. So it didn't produce a single seed.

This year was a much better year for squash and I tried Joseph's Moschata Landrace! Bingo- I have green butternuts, butternut butternuts, butternuts crossed with mixta, green zucchini looking moschata, and a super cool moschata pumpkin!

This year I also included a packet of Zucchini Rampicante moschata. I got one fruit likely to have set seed which probably will have crossed with Joseph's Moschata landrace. So since long twisty butternuts sound cool to me I will save its seed and replant- in a few years I may have long twisty butternuts that do well for me!

Where else can I go now that I have Moschata that seem liable to thrive here? Well I have long drooled over some of the squash diversity available from native seed search.

Here is an example:

https://shop.nativeseeds.org/collections/squash-butternuts-big-cheeses/products/em025

This is a link to a variety from Sonora- Rancho Marques moschata landrace. Really cool looking- very different from Lofthouse landrace. Very unlikely to grow well in Montana! So what's a garden geek to do? Well if I get around to ordering it this winter I would plant it next year in the hopes that it would be a male pollen donor for the Lofthouse landrace squash. If it worked out the F1 offspring would carry the interesting traits of the Sonoran landrace and possibly ripen a few fruit. Those fruit's seed would segregate in the F2. That would be cool. Project seems like a long shot though- but would be impossible without a squash population of that species that does well locally.
 
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