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Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

So I had an unexpected guest in one of my garden beds this year: a squash I didn't plant. Hoping it was a zucchini, I let it stay. It's NOT a zucchini! I have a few pictures here and I'm hoping someone can help me identify the type because I have only ever grown butternut and I have no idea what this thing is or when to harvest, etc, etc. It's taking over the yard and I'm convinced it has world domination on its list of things to do.

Any help would be gratefully appreciated.

Thanks.

P.S. I know someone out there is just dying to say, "His name is Walter." :)
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GardeningCook
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

This is obviously a cross-bred squash. Definitely not a zucchini. Did you grow any other member of the squash family last year? Summer squash/zucchini, winter squash/pumpkins? Was your Butternut squash last year a hybrid?

Because what has happened is that a cross-pollinated or hybrid seed from one or two of the above has now presented you with, well, whatever.

At this point, if I were you, I would let it press on & see what happens. You may get some nice winter squash or some nice pumpkins out of this. They sure look healthy.
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

Thank you GardeningCook for your response. I didn't grow any winter squash last year because my results have always been so dismal that I gave up... looking at these pics that may be hard to believe but I have NEVER actually gotten even a single squash out of anything I've planted! After I read your thoughts however, I called my dad because but he grew 2 varieties of kabocha and my parents gave us a few of the squash and I'm sure some seeds ended up in our compost pile. They were both hybrids so this must be the hybrid reverting back to what it was. I'm relieved that it's not watermelon (I don't have a long enough season for that) and I'm hopeful that we'll actually get to eat some of the 14+ squash we've got growing on this thing!

Thanks again!

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applestar
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

Well, looking at the blossoms, this is definitely not a C.pepo. I'm tending to think C.maxima, but I need a close up -- petal shape and inside of female blossom -- to tell if it could possibly be a C.moschata (like butternut).

Do you know/can you find out the variety names of "kabocha" your dad grew? "Kabocha" can mean specific kinds of squash but is sometimes thrown around as a generic reference -- like "pumpkin." KABOCHA does tend to be C.maxima but some C.moschata and C.pepo are "called" kabocha.
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Taiji
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

You have 14+ squash on one vine?! Incredible. One butternut vine usually gives me two nice big squash, maybe a third one if it has the time. Wow!

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GardeningCook
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

grow and eat 'em! wrote:Thank you GardeningCook for your response. I didn't grow any winter squash last year because my results have always been so dismal that I gave up... looking at these pics that may be hard to believe but I have NEVER actually gotten even a single squash out of anything I've planted! After I read your thoughts however, I called my dad because but he grew 2 varieties of kabocha and my parents gave us a few of the squash and I'm sure some seeds ended up in our compost pile. They were both hybrids so this must be the hybrid reverting back to what it was. I'm relieved that it's not watermelon (I don't have a long enough season for that) and I'm hopeful that we'll actually get to eat some of the 14+ squash we've got growing on this thing!

Thanks again!

Ahh - Kabocha squash! I'd bet anything that what you have going there is some variety of Kabocha. So again I say - let them persevere. And I'll be very interested to see your ultimate harvest & what these squash taste like. :)
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

Ya, let it grow and see what it does. I have a few volunteers come up every year. I let some go if they are not in a bad place. Some of these have given me some interesting fruits.
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

Oh, about winter squash. Always plant at least two varieties and plant two hills of 5 seeds/plants per hill. Now you should get the pollination. Any bees around? Bees will work the squash if you have any in the area. You need to plant early in the season. Here May 5 usually works. You can plant a week before your last avg frost date.
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

Hello applestar!

You asked:
Do you know/can you find out the variety names of "kabocha" your dad grew?

Yes, I do know! One was Grey Ghost and the other was Sweet Mama. I didn't know kabocha was sometimes used as a generic term but these are hybrids and both are listed as kabocha by Stokes.

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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

Taiji,

Yes, there are truly at least 14 squash on this puppy. I'm both happy (lots of food—yay!) and ever so slightly depressed that the squash I plant in the varieties that I want and in the locations I want don't grow. But I'm glad I left it alone when I saw it pop up this spring!

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applestar
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

grow and eat 'em! wrote:Hello applestar!

You asked:
Do you know/can you find out the variety names of "kabocha" your dad grew?

Yes, I do know! One was Grey Ghost and the other was Sweet Mama. I didn't know kabocha was sometimes used as a generic term but these are hybrids and both are listed as kabocha by Stokes.
Looks like 'Grey Ghost' is Cucurbita maxima And so is 'Sweet Mama'
But Fedco describes Sweet Mama as
Sweet Mama Buttercup Winter Squash (88 days) F-1 hybrid. Mama is a grey-green drum-shaped buttercup type with rounded shoulders and without the cup
...I don't think yours have the shape of Sweet Mama... It looks like even though they don't have the "cup" Big Mama might have "outie" bellybuttons on the blossom end.

From the photos, Grey Ghost is paler in color than Sweet Mama, so that might possibly be another indicator of WHICH hybrid variety yours came from.

Hopefully this one has the good eating qualities of the original. It would be interesting to see how they compare with the presumed parent, and also to see how future offspring turn out if these are good.
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imafan26
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

it is not sweet mama. Sweet mama has darker skin and a flatter shape.
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Taiji
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

[quote="jal_ut"]Oh, about winter squash. Always plant at least two varieties

Just curious, why at least 2 varieties? Is that in case one does poorly you still have the other to fall back on, or is it something to do with pollination?

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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

Looks like pumpkins to me. But I'm not a squash expert.
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GardeningCook
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

Taiji wrote:
jal_ut wrote:Oh, about winter squash. Always plant at least two varieties

Just curious, why at least 2 varieties? Is that in case one does poorly you still have the other to fall back on, or is it something to do with pollination?
Nah - actually there's absolutely no reason at all to plant two different varieties. Winter squash aren't like fruit trees that sometimes need a different variety for complete pollination.
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imafan26
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

Whatever it is , it is a bonus plant, so roll with it.
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jal_ut
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

Two varieties? Why you get twice as much and two different types. Enjoy!
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

Thank you everyone for your helpful input. I am finally posting a follow-up and apologise for the delay (we had our 4th child shortly after posting my question!)

It turns out that the squash (and we got 10 good sized ones from that one plant) looked very much like a grey ghost... but not so grey... and tasted fabulously sweet... kinda like a sweet mama... ONLY BETTER! Whatever it was, I wish I could grow another one because it was the best squash I have ever grown. Which, when you think about it is kinda depressing because this is the one squash I didn't even plant!

So thank you again.

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Gary350
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

I have long arm Gourds that look like those, I am guessing you have short arm gourds. You need to wait and see.

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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

if grey ghost and sweet mama were grown close to each other, it's not surprising that the offspring would a combination of their characteristics. save seed!

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jal_ut
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

Two is good, 4 or 5 is better!

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applestar
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

OK NEW ROUND -- Everybody ready? :D

Most of my cucurbita have lobe-less leaves -- well, maybe some lobes on the older Butta zuke leaves in the foreground here

Image

-- HERE, I have a volunteer from dropped seed OUTSIDE the side yard garden fence -- deeply cut and lobed. I have no clue what it is. Does anyone? Gourds are a possibility, too.

Image

...yeah it's almost ready to bloom and we will know more once the female blossoms appear, but this might be fun to speculate. :wink:
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

What about THIS one? An instance where I was too tired to make a label, said to self I will remember because this is the only cucurbit in this bed, and promptly forgot what it was. :oops:

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applestar
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

I found this photo with Google search -- it's labeled Indian Squash

Image

...maybe this seed is from those souvenir seeds from India... :?:
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

applestar wrote:What about THIS one? An instance where I was too tired to make a label, said to self I will remember because this is the only cucurbit in this bed, and promptly forgot what it was. :oops:

Image
That one looks like delicata squash, though I've never grown it...
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applestar
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

Ooh thanks! THERE's a possibility. I remember I was trying to use up an old packet of Cornell's Bush Delicata.... 8)
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

Well, in addition to the old seeds, it turned out that I received these seeds from one person in trade last year and was trying to start them also:

Squash winter, Carnival
Squash winter, Gold acorn
Squash winter, Sweet Dumpling

If she had all three of these growing at the same time, isn't it possible that what I have here is a cross of two of these? The shape is not quite right for any of them, and as you can see it doesn't start out with green stripes, but pale barely yellow stripes that have become deeper yellow on the more mature fruit.

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I am SOOOO intrigued! :D
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kayjay
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

Yeah, my vote would be a cross. It's why I won't even bother trying to save seeds from cucurbits unless or until I live on a huge piece of land where I don't mind "wasting" the growing space on possible frankensquash. :)
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jal_ut
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Re: Can someone help me play "Name that squash"?

If you want a specific kind of squash or pumpkin, it is best to buy labeled seeds. Since the plants freely cross pollinate and the bees work the blossoms, saved seed will almost always give some new variety called "Whatever". (frankensquash) Though whatever squash can sometimes be very good. You won't know what you have till harvest and tasting time.
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