Maxima Landrace Squash
This seed is from a wide cross or genepool of many long keeping, sweet, hard-shelled winter squash. The original crosses were made by Joseph Lofthouse in Utah, under short-season, windy, arid conditions. This seedlot was grown by Julia Dakin in the Northern California coastal fog belt, in very cool summer weather right next to the ocean. Her situation selected for sprouting in cool soil, early maturity even in cool weather, and the ability to grow well in low-fertility soil. She also selected hard for excellent sweet flavor, saving seed only from the 10-20% that developed good sweet flavor in exceptionally cool weather. (The sugars normally need heat to develop.) If you garden in tough conditions and a short season, or if you are interested in developing landrace varieties, this seed should be a great start. Cucurbita maxima species, 25 seeds
After the sprouts are a few inches tall, thin to the best 3 plants per hill. Hoe out all the weeds in the bed or row, piling some dirt at the base of the plants. Then if you put down mulch, it will prevent weeds and keep the squash off of damp soil. If squash bugs are a problem for you, sprinkle well with diatom dust.
Summer squash should be picked every day or two, and eaten while small (6"-8".) The reason people complain about having too many zucchini is that they let them get too big. Store squash in a dry place. Even zucchini keeps better in a dry airy room than in the fridge, where it molds.
Winter squash is ripe when there is no green left in the stem--it should be hard and woody or corky--and the skin should be too hard to poke with a fingernail. Regardless of ripeness, harvest before frost or they will rot. Use any unripe or bruised ones first. The rest should be put indoors to cure for a month before eating. This makes them much sweeter. Handle them gently and wipe if needed but don't wash. They can be stored in any dry place that stays above 50 degrees. Check often for soft spots, and don't forget to use them for soups and pasta as well as roasted and in pie.
Seed saving: Insect-pollinated, requires at least 500 ft isolation in home gardens (1/2 mile if selling seed.) Our offerings include 3 species: Cucurbita pepo (pumpkin, delicatas, acorns, and most summer squash), Cucurbita maxima (Buttercup, Lower Salmon River, Stella Blue, Zapallo), and Cucurbita moschata (Butternut, Tromboncino.) Members of the same species will cross with each other, but not with other species. So if you have the isolation to grow squash seed, you can have one of each species and still save seed.