~ WINTER SQUASH (PUMPKINS) ~
We REALLY like squash - they're easy to grow and really filling.
So we continue our search for squash that mature quickly,
taste great, and keep a long time for you to eat over the winter.
An easily-grown favourite with all the family!
In our squash trials, we have found
we think are quite simply amazing
in terms of earliness, yield, and flavour.
Our pumpkin patch may be a bit bigger than yours . . .
Sow squashes in May in small pots with some heat, and plant out when the third true leaf is just starting to open. Harvest in autumn
when they are fully mature - how long they will store after that depends on the variety.
A rounded squash, with blue-grey skin, and the skin is quite thin and easily peeled, with very pretty yellow flesh inside. Tastes great!
We got fruit with an average weight of 2.5kg / 5 lb here in Wales,
Stays together & doesn't go mushy when cooked, so really good for curries, stews, roasts etc.
Order SqBH - 12 seed £
This is an very nice, widely adapted, ultra-early yellow hubbard squash for short-season areas. It makes beautiful large (sometimes very large) fruit, often with a slightly crooked shape.
The original seed was given to a Mr J M Ives in 1831 by a friend, so we can see that it has stood the test of time well.
It is a good big hubbard, with beautiful yellow-orange skin. The skin helps it keep for a long time, starting out yellow and then turning golden orange after midsummer. Vigorous vines and very productive, even in cooler parts of the country.
"Hi there, Just wanted to let you know that my husband and I grew your Boston Squash on our allotment this year, and (with minimal gardening expertise) one plant achieved a squash which weighs in at 2 stone 5 pounds! We are the envy of the allotments, which is lovely for beginners. - Alex Clark
Order SqBo - 12 seed £
Burgess Vine Buttercup
Considered by many to be one of the best eating squashes ever, this vine produces heavy, 9 inch, round, dark-green squash with a lighter green 'button' underneath.
We like it because it keeps well but is easy to peel. All buttercups have dense rich flesh but the Burgess strain is even sweeter than normal.
This is a good choice for those with smaller plots as the vines are not too huge, but still make lots of squash just the right size for two or three people.
Excellent flavour, green squash, very dense with good tetxure.
Order SqVB- 12 seed £
Baby Blue Hubbard
A hubbard squash much smaller than the Boston above, for those of you who don't want to use a wheelbarrow to bring each fruit into the kitchen! This is a productive vine that makes several blue fruit about 1 lb in weight, perfect for 2 or 3 people.
Order SqBa - 12 seed £
This is a well-travelled squash - originally from Japan - but grown in Europe for many years, in the process being reselected for our northern climate, so it does well here.
It is from the 'hubbard' family of squashes, which is one of the earliest and easiest groups of squashes to grow in the UK.
The flesh is dense, with a good flavour, and it keeps well. Always popular!
Order SqHo - 12 seed £
From the pleasant* and fertile valleys around Piachenza in Northern Italy, where this traditional squash has been cultivated since Roman times.
The grey-blue fruit are large and ribbed, with a gently bumpy pink-flecked skin.They have very dense dry orange flesh, best used for pumpkin pie.
NOTE: Our current batch of this very rare squash doesn't germinate as we would normally like, so we have packed extra seed (14) to make up for it. Please sow the entire packet to be sure of getting enough plants.
Order SqZP - 10 seed £
*hence the old name for this region of 'Plaisance'
'Waltham' is an improved version of the common Butternut squash: It has very little seed cavity, thicker & straighter necks, fruits earlier, and produces more flesh per fruit.
It was bred by the Massachusetts Ag. Extension Service in the 1960's by crossing 'New Hampshire Butternut' with a wild African squash.
When growing Butternut squash, you need to be sure you have an early strain. This one is great! The orange flesh stays firm when cooked, and it stores very well too.
Reliable, productive. Long-keeper.
Order SqWB - 12 seed £
Note: Traditionally, Butternut is one of the main squash types used to make pumpkin pie.
But in fact any dry-fleshed, dense squash works well. You can also
make very nice pumpkin tartlets using a muffin tray! Here are some Kate
and Josie made for Halloween.
An unusual and beautiful French squash variety. Quick to germinate and produces vigorous plants that set smooth yellow fruit. At this point they look nothing special, but as they ripen they turn a glowing orangey-pink, & then in storage they grow an amazing warty surface to the skin.
We find this one of the easiest varieties to grow in the UK, even in cooler summers, producing a good yield of sensibly sized tasty squashes.
Order SqGE - 14 seed £
Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato
A great Acorn Squash. We are really pleased to have found one much earlier than normal, producing lots of squash even in short UK summers.
The pale heart-shaped fruit are pointy and have gentle fluting down the sides. When mature, you can simply cut them in half and bake in the oven. (Though of course there are other options for the experts - Kate's mother once made a very fine acorn-squash soufflé!)
Originally collected by Tom & Sue Knoche in Ohio, USA; very productive & long-keeping.
Order SqTS- 12 seed £
Sweet Spanish Roasting Squash (a.k.a. "Calabaza Pequeña Asar") NEW
We found this at a hertitage seed meeting in northern Spain way back in 2000; its an ancient variety that is incredibly sweet, like a sweet potato. We love it, but it's taken until now - with our second seed production tunnel finished - to be able to grow enough to offer in the catalogue.
Very productive, but needs a long warm season to set fruit, so only for growing in a polytunnel or greenhouse. Each plant makes several bottle-shaped green squash that ripen orange in November.
Ripens sweet in storage, and practically extinct. Grow under cover , the vines are a sensible size, so they will not take over everything.
Order SqCP- 10 seed £
Blue Banana VERY RARE
This incredible squash makes attractive, two-foot-long fruit like a pale blue zeppelin! An heirloom from Guatemala that grows rapidly, producing lots of grey-blue fruit . A waxy skin that keeps it fresh for ages, but is very thin and easily peeled. This is the best of the three 'banana squash' varieties still in existence.
Really easy to cook - just slice across it and you get handy rings of squash - easy to deseed and quick to trim off the skin. Very nice in a risotto, see the picture.
Easily peeled with good yellow flesh, it keeps well - stored from October, we cooked the last one in April!
Order SqBL - 10 seed £
Musquee de Provence NEW
This is a proper Cinderella-style of pumpkin , back in the catalogue at last - an heirloom from the 1800's with very dense sweet flesh.
It's a large vine - it rambles all over the place, with big fruit up to 10 lbs, deeply ribbed, starting out green and later ripening to orange.
The ribs divide the squash up into neat sections that can be sliced off on at a time, and the skin is very thin - so it is easily peeled!
Although it was traditionally used in pies and pastries we actually prefer to use it savoury - roasted or fried, as the flesh keeps a good texture when cooked.
Large deeply ribbed fruit. Sweet dense orange flesh
Order SqMP - 12 seed £
This is a great old variety from the 'Hiram Sibley & Co' seed catalogue of 1850, that grows well in the UK (pictured in our barn in Wales). It ripens nice and early, making lots of grey pear-shaped squash weighing about 3kg / 6lb. They have a very dry dense yellow flesh, and keep well overwinter.
Save some in storage as they become noticably sweeter after the New Year. Good for pies, roasting etc, but particularly excellent for warming winter soups and stews.
Keeps its shape when diced & roasted, also makes a very hearty thick soup.
Order SqSi - 12 seed £
'Anna Swartz' Hubbard Squash
The best of our 2006 squash trials, and very popular ever since.
In the 1950's this nice green squash was passed to a woman called Anna Swartz by a friend. She kept it going, and passed it on to a seed-saving group, from where ultimately we got a few seeds to try, as it was highly recommended.
It lived up to its reputation! The plants had hardly germinated before they were off and making a bid for freedom - the vines are big and very fast-growing. All of a sudden they were covered in fruit, too!
These filled out nicely , with several full size by the end of July (even though we're in Wales).
Like most hubbards, it has a very hard skin, which is - in all honesty - a bit tricky to open, but on the other hand means that they keep exceptionally well. The flesh is very sweet and dense - all in all an excellent squash.
Order SqAS - 12 seed £
Winter Luxury Pumpkin
This is a super-early Jack O’Lantern type pumpkin. It is a very prolific and productive pumpkin, with a particularly good flavour. We got a huge number of fruit in our trials this summer from only 12 plants, pictured here stored in our barn.
A medium sized pumpkin - the fruit average about 2kg / 4lb , and a really nice colour - orange with a slight netting. Like most Jack o'lantern types, it will store for a few months but needs using before Christmas.
The special thing about this variety is that as well as being early enough for Halloween, it tastes really good - ideal for roasting and pies as well as soups.
Early, round orange pumpkin, with a particularly good flavour. Pictured in our new barn.
Order SqLu - 12 seed £
A large, ribbed blue squash first introduced in the 1932 Arthur Yates & Co Seed Catalogue. We've added this to our seed list because it has particularly rich sweet orange flesh, is quite early to set fruit, and even stores well overwinter too.
It made great squash for us in Wales, and we think it should do well in most parts of the UK , but please do email us to let us know what you think of it.
Order SqQu - 10 seed £
SEED FOR NEW Trial Squash VARIETIES
Please email to tell us what you think of these; we can't answer ever email, but we do read them all ; its how we decide whether to add them permanently to the Catalogue or not!
Victor NEW TRIAL VARIETY
Originally introduced by James J. H. Gregory of Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1897. The huge glowing orange fruits are covered with small bumps. A hubbard type, with a hard skin (so it stores well) and has excellent eating qualities.
Just a few packets this year to see how it does; please let us know what you think of it.
Thought to have been lost forever, but recently resurrected from the U.S. Seed Bank.
Order SqVi - 12 seed £
Brazilian Moranga NEW TRIAL VARIETY
A traditional squash from Brazil, also known as the Pink Pumpkin, these beautiful 4-8 pound fruits range in color from light pink to salmon.
Just a few packets this year to see how it does for you; please let us know what you think of it.
Order SqMa - 12 seed £
Ute Indian NEW TRIAL VARIETY
Shaped like a green Turks Turban squash, with a huge 'button' on the bottom, this ancient variety is from the native Ute people who lived Colorado from AD 1300 to AD 1881.
It has a delicate mild flavor that is great roasted, grilled or fried, and a unique melon flavor when eaten raw.
Tolerates drought. Extremely rare. Just a few packets this year to see how it does; please let us know what you think of it.
Order SqUt - 12 seed £
Canada Crookneck NEW TRIAL FOR 2017
The long curved fruit have a wonderful creamy texture with an excellent nutty, sweet flavor. Extremely rare and almost extinct, this variety has been found in New England seed catalogues from as early as 1827.
It has good disease resistance and is well adapted to a wide range of climates, so we think it should do well in most parts of the UK , but please do email us to let us know it does for you.
Long neck means less deseeding and easier peeling.
Order SqCa - 12 seed £
North Georgia Candy Roaster NEW TRIAL VARIETY
A beautiful old squash from Appalachia, weighing up to 10 pounds, with a pretty greenish-blue blossom end mark.
Just a few packets this year to see how it does; please let us know what you think of it.
Very rare! Smooth, delicious orange flesh, perfect for baking, frying and making pies.
Order SqNG - 12 seed £
If handled correctly, they will keep for a long time. For biggest and densest fruit, leave the squash as long as possible on the vine, even after the leaves start to die down, unless there is danger of frost.
Harvest by cutting the vine either side of the stem, not cutting the stem itself. Bring inside and store in the warm for 10 days for them to cure. Ideally this is 80F / 25C, but we just keep ours in the kitchen where is is reasonably warm.
Curing like this makes lets the skin dry out and lets minor damage heal. It really makes them much longer-keeping and they can then be stored at a cool temperature (experiments prove that 55F / 12C gives the longest keeping) .
We use a spare
(unheated) bedroom which is perfect in our not-very centrally heated house; but a frost-free garage will do
at a pinch. A shed will probably get too cold overnight and too hot during the day. This storage temperature is important to get right - check with a thermometer - too cold and they will rot, too hot and they will shrivel.
Saving Squash Seed:
It's no good just keeping some seed from any old squash
you have grown.
Squash are very promiscuous! You have to hand-pollinate the flowers to keep them true to type.
Simple, but really necessary. (The rubber bands are to stop the insects getting in and crossing them!)
There is a trick to this and you should check out the free instructions we supply.
Here we are a couple of months later, scooping out the seed. Wash in lots of cold water until not sticky, pick out any duds, and tap out onto a plate to dry.
There's more detail in our free seed-saving leaflets that you can find in the sidebar on the left.
There are more detailed home-seed saving guides (printable) over to the left of this page,
in the box titled 'SeedSaving', with sheets on drying and storing your seed too.
And of course, seed-saving is only possible because these are all real, non-hybrid varieties.