Dark Star Zucchini Squash
Big healthy bush plants give big yields of very high-quality zucchini. Outstanding flavor and stays firm and tasty even when it gets large. Bred for organic conditions and dry-summer climates. This variety was the result of a collaboration between farmer-breeder Bill Reynolds and the Organic Seed Alliance. The goal was an open-pollinated zucchini that could compete at market with the modern hybrids without sacrificing flavor and eating quality. Mission accomplished--fine texture and sweet flavor put grocery store zucs to shame.
The big root system and strong constitution that makes it drought-tolerant also gave it better cold-hardiness than other zucs. It can even survive a light frost. Large male flowers add another harvest for soups, pasta, or stuffing. This variety is the longest-keeping summer squash I have grown. Those big ones that you didn't pick in time don't have the perfection of the small zucchini for fresh eating, but I've had them keep for months just sitting around a cool pantry, to be used for pasta sauces, soups, casseroles, curries, enchiladas, etc.
Remember this was bred for low-input farming, so you don't need to add lots of water and fertilizer. Regular garden soil is fine. 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.