From other articles here on Grow This N That, you should have realised by now that I am a fan of trying something different when growing your own in the garden and I do think that squashes are a great way to go. They are delicious. They are versatile. They are easy to grow.
I have a love for squashes. The way you sow all varieties of squashes is pretty much the same, but the variety you get is unbelievable. When you say pumpkin to 99% of people, they will think of the round bright orange vegetables that you carve away at for Halloween. But there is so much more to it than that.
I’ve compiled a list of my 10 favourite squash varieties that I believe you will love also. But of course, do not limit yourself to my list. It is there as a list of recommendations but you must go and explore yourself. There are so many different sized, shaped, coloured varieties out there. Literally hundreds of them. So go on, have a little experiment in the garden.
From 10 to 1… Here we go:
10 – Tennessee Sweet Potato
This is a descendant of the American potato pumpkin. The plants create these terrific white pumpkins with pale green stripes and a cream coloured flesh. They’re also not round like most pumpkins but are in fact pear shaped. Not only do they taste good, but they look impressive in the garden. They can actually grow to a length of 25cm to 30cm so are quite large.
9 – Queensland Blue
This variety is part of the winter squash group and is large… Really LARGE. It can weigh close to 10kg when it is fully mature with a golden flesh. They are tasty, slightly sweet and great as a replacement to any recipes that use Butternut Squash varieties.
8 – Sweet Dumpling
The orange flesh in Sweet Dumpling squashes are brilliantly tender and sweet. Often, the inner seeds are removed and the Sweet Dumplings are stuffed and cooked whole as they are quite small and perfect for a 1 person portion.
7 – Spaghetti Squash
This is often referred to as Vegetable Spaghetti which is obvious in the cooking process. When you cook this squash, strands of the vegetable split off and form a sort of spaghetti. It is actually delicious when topped with a plain tomato and chilli Arrabiata pasta sauce. The fruits start life off a pale, ivory colour then turn yellow as they ripen.
6 – Uchiki Kuri
Also called Red Kuri or Onion Squash. This winter squash has a flesh similar to your traditional pumpkin except they are smaller than pumpkins. They have a smooth flesh and a nutty flavour.
5 – Butternut Squash
One you are probably aware of, but what you might no know is that there are quite a few varieties of Butternut Squash that you need to try. They are all that well-known shape but some are different colour and have slightly different tastes.
4 – Tromboncino
Named after the shape it takes on, it cures up and looks like the vegetable version of a Trombone. They are left to just trail on the floor around the plant. It is the way it grows that causes it to slowly curve and create it’s unique shape. If you grow it on support, it can actually grow to up to nearly 1m in length.
3 – Crown Prince
Inside it’s pale blueish grey flesh is a bright orange, dense flesh with a sweet and nutty flavour. There are not many squashes that are like this with such a recognisable colour. It keeps really well and is perfect to make soup with or roasted.
2 – Turk’s Turban
The shape of this winter squash is obviously where it gets its name. It is an incredibly versatile squash with a mainly orange flesh with ocasional dark green and white stripes.
1 – Patty Pan or Sunburst
My favourite by far, this is something referred to as a custard squash because of the bright yellow variety although you can get green coloured one too. It is best harvested when not fully mature and at a diameter of around 6cm. They are incredible delicious!
There, 10 varieties I would highly recommend having a go with. Most of them will grow in the same way so don’t panic too much about the sowing. Just wait to see how exciting they all love. They really are incredible looking vegetables.
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