If you’re growing squash (be it summer or winter), you’re likely growing some Cucurbita pepo squash.
Cucurbita pepo is one of the 3 squash species most commonly found on market gardens.
Pepos are a motley crew.
Delicata, Spaghetti, Acorn, Zucchini, Pie Pumpkins, Jack o’Lanterns, Patty Pans, Crooknecks, and Sweet Dumplings are all Pepos. Not to mention a number of ornamental gourds.
What these squash do have in common is a 5 sided stem.
They are also pretty much at peak flavour at harvest. They don’t need much curing (if any) to release the sweetness. In fact, as Pepos age, they tend to get blander.
Pepos are great autumn squash. By mid-winter, not much flavour left.
And yes, Cucurbita pepo are CROSSERS.
If you grow more than one Pepo within a 1200ft radius and you save their seed, in the next generation you will get some Spaghatta, Pumpkinis, and maybe a few Zumpkins. The closer your Pepos were to each other when you saved seed, the more crossed up Squash you will get the following year.
These crosses are generally edible, they just might not be what you’re looking for. And until you taste them, you won’t know how fibrous, sweet, or dry they might be. You won’t know their storage life. Or whether they are best as immature summer squash or cured squash.
It is very hard to sell much mystery squash.
So, unless you only want to grow 1 pepo at a time, I do not recommend Pepo squash for beginning #seedsavingformarketgrowers.
The PROS of saving Pepo Squash seed:
- Very easy to extract the seed
- Easy to grow extra in your market garden and choose the best for seed
- There are some great open pollinated varieties
- Annual – from seed to seed in 1 season
The CONS of saving Pepo Squash seed:
- You probably have more than 1 pepo in your garden
- Crossers gonna cross
4 lbs to 11 lbs from a 100ft bed
4 to 6 years