Homegrown Squash


These heirloom varieties of squash are the literal fruits of my springtime obsession with Cucurbits (the gourd family – almost 1000 species of zucchini, pumpkin, watermelon, cucumber, etc).

This obsession grew thanks to Dr. Lori Shapiro who knows the coolest facts about squash! For instance, before domestication, wild gourds contained bitter toxins. Only megafauna like mammoths could ingest and disperse the seeds of these protected fruits (1). In the Americas, early hunter-gatherers used dried gourds as floats for fishing nets and to hold food and water. They also used fresh wild gourds for the medicinal properties of the bitter compounds (2). The wild gourd (Cucurbita pepo) was the first plant domesticated in the Americas, and the first agriculturalists likely grew them for their nutritious seeds rather than the bitter flesh. Thanks, Lori!

  1. Kistler, L., L.A. Newson, T.M. Ryan, A.C. Clarke, B.D. Smith, G.H. Perry. 2015. Adaptive domestication in squashes and gourds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112 (49) 15107-15112.
  2. Hart, J.P., R.A. Daniels, C.J. Sheviak. 2004. Do Cucurbita pepo gourds float fishnets? American Antiquity. 69(1) 141-148.


3 thoughts on “Homegrown Squash

  1. Neat factoids! I have a love hate relationship with squash…I love them. I love to eat them, but the squash bugs that seem to be attracted to them, I don’t love so much. I grew less and less squash for the last three years and I have noticed less squash bugs. I love squash, did I mention? Home grown is awesome…Now, if I could find a way to get rid of those pesky squash bugs. 🙂

    • Me too! Some of my plants are starting to die off. But the lemon squash (and butternut) are more resistant. I planted a bunch of different varieties this year so I would, hopefully, get something to survive.

      • Keeping fingers crossed!!!! I didn’t want to over plant this year, but now I wish I had, so I would have plenty to share with the squirrels and bunnies! 🙂

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