Monday, August 30, 2010

Winter Squash Grows in the Summer Part II


A week after our first encounter with winter squash, we learned that before they are ready to be cooked and eaten, they must be cured (the rind hardens).  There are various methods of curing.  One way is to...

leave them in the field.  As the leaves wilt and die, the energy of the plant focuses on fruiting (producing squash).  The only problem with this is when little critters such as the interesting, yet pesky cucumber beetle above or rodent Voles get to the fruit before it has a chance to create a protective casing.

The work of Voles

So Zach and Alec took us out to the field to harvest the mature squash and transfer them over to a safer, bug/rodent free zone in the greenhouse.

We took the squash down to the greenhouse, washed them in a tub of water, with a cap full of bleach to kill off any fungus that may have infected the squash, and spread them out over these tables to get some good safe curing sun.

Here's some perspective for you...
Tall Squash

Short squash

Think about it...

After about a week these squash will be moved to a dark, dry place where they will finish off the curing process for the next few months.

Winter squash featured here:

long yellow/green stripe: Delicata
Round white/green stripe: Sweet Dumpling


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