By Sheryl Joy, NS/S Seed Distribution Coordinator
Published on August 12, 2014
There are some squashes newly available from the NS/S Collection, so if you have some space left in your monsoon garden, you might try one of these… or start planning for next year! We are pleased that recent growouts produced enough seed to make these available to the public: several colorful pumpkins, cushaws, and maybe a spaghetti squash.
Magdalena Cushaw (EA024) produces large round and pear-shaped fruits with orange flesh. They are very good keepers. This squash is originally from Magdalena, Sonora, and is very heat and drought tolerant, so it is an excellent choice for low desert gardens. We are especially glad that it is available now, because it is very similar to the popular Tohono O’odham Ha:l squash, which is not available to the public now because we have low quantities of the seed remaining for distribution. Wish our farmers good weather as they grow it out in Patagonia this summer and fall! In the meanwhile, you can grow the Magdalena Cushaw, or try another from the region, the Nogales Cushaw (EA045). This variety has some round and pear shaped fruit and some with longer necks like a butternut. Find these at our store or online.
If you live at higher elevation, consider the Chihuahuan Pumpkin (EP050, pictured above), which comes from San Ignacio near Creel, Chihuahua, at 7,500'. The pumpkins are beautiful, with a mix of solid and striped skins, and including dark and light green and gray and yellow. Or, if you like a classic orange jack-o-lantern type pumpkin, you could try the San Felipe Pumpkin (EP049) from San Felipe Pueblo in New Mexico, at 5,200'. It produces 12-15" bright orange ribbed fruits with light orange flesh. These two pumpkins are available online only.
Also newly available from a recent growout is the Navajo Small Pumpkin (EP051). These little orange pumpkins are only about 8 inches in size, and vary in shape from round to elongated to acorn-shaped. They are just right for a bunch of fun little jack-o-lanterns. This squash comes from the Big Mountain area in Navajo country, at about 6,000' in elevation, so it is well suited for higher elevation… though if you try it in Tucson, do let us know how it fares! You can find this one in our store and online.
If you’d like to investigate a squash mystery, you might take on the Mountain Pima Calabaza Mayera (EP052). This one comes from El Seis, near Madera in Chihuahua Mexico at almost 8,000'. It’s shaped like a spaghetti squash, but does it taste like one? The data we have don’t tell us whether it has that stringy spaghetti squash flesh. If you grow it, please let us know! Available online only.
Another special squash is the Hopi Vatnga (EA018), a cushaw type, and the only Hopi squash we currently have available. The large pear-shaped fruits may be dark green or striped. The shells are very hard, and are sometimes made into musical instruments. Because there is not much seed available, we are offering this one only through our Native American Free Seed program.