Squash, Summer – Costata Romanesco

$3.48

Juicy, delicious, sweet-nutty flavoured, raw or cooked. Can be picked tiny and eaten whole.  The male blossoms are edible and have a mild, squash-like flavour and are great stuffed and fried, or sliced for used in soups, omelets, salads, and pasta dishes.  This distinctive zucchini is medium gray-green, with pale green flecks and prominent ribs. Big, large-leafed semibush plants with only about half the yield of hybrids, but much better flavour and texture.

Price is for seed packets. Plants are available at store. 

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Description

Botanical name
Cucurbita pepo

Family
Cucurbitaceae

Spacing
Dig a hole 30 cm (12″) deep and 45 cm (18″) across and fill it with well rotted compost or manure. Cover with a 15-20 cm (6-8″) layer of soil to make a raised mound. Leave 2.4 m (8′) between mounds, plant 4-6 seeds per mound. After germination, thin to 3 per mound. Grows to 25-38 cm (10-15″) in length and up to 13 cm (5″) in diameter.

Depth
Plant seeds 2½ cm (1″) deep.

Requirements
Full sun, hot hot weather and warm, deep, rich, well-drained, organic soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5.

Germination
Seeds will sprout in 7-10 days.

Pests
Squash is susceptible to many pests and diseases, but problems with this plant are mostly caused by cultural practices that stress the plants. Make sure you keep the garden clean and tidy, water consistently and avoid directly spraying water on to the leaves. When plants get off to a good start, few pests will bother them. Protect young plants with floating row covers that are removed when flowering starts. Cucumber beetles are our biggest problem, along with powdery mildew. Several home-sprays are effective against powdery mildew. Spray either of the following at 7-10 day intervals: 1 tsp baking soda and 1 quart of water with a squirt of dish soap; or 1 part milk to 9 parts of water.

Timing
Directly plant seed outdoors after the last frost.

Growing
Squash are heavy feeders and benefit from extra nutrition from periodic compost / fertilizer applications. Use plastic mulch to keep up soil moisture and temperature, and insect netting to keep cucumber beetles away until plants start flowering. Then take the netting off to allow bees to pollinate your fruit. Fruit that is not fully pollinated will be small and shrivelled and should be removed from the plant. Will keep producing until weather cools down.

Harvest
65 days

Season
Warm. annual