Harvesting Our Compost

A few weeks back, I shared that something was growing out of our compost bin!

We got a lot of suggestions that it might be zucchini or yellow squash, and lo and behold– look what it’s grown into!
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It’s a weird kind of squash I don’t recall seeing before– like a yellow squash but “pimply” as we’ve been calling it.

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We decided to pick some of the bigger ones but they didn’t come off the vine toooo easily…

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David got a cool action shot of a bee doing its thing– thought I’d share just because it looked cool.

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We tested out a bunch of the bigger ones but they didn’t seem totally ready to be picked.

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Ultimately, we only walked away with two that came off relatively easily.

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Check it out close-up… is that normal for yellow squash?  I’m so used to smooth that I don’t know what to make of this!!  I do know that I’m more motivated than ever to grow my vegetable garden next year to harvest vegetables (that I know what they are)!

3 thoughts on “Harvesting Our Compost”

  1. random stranger

    It’s hard to say exactly what exactly you’ve grown, but it is sort of generally a yellow squash. The short answer is that it almost certainly is perfectly fine to eat but might not taste good. If you wait until they come off the vine easily, they are probably very seedy and might not be so tasty. They could even get a little woody or sometimes the opposite and very soft and weird. Experiment a bit and harvest some at different sizes. I’d guess 4″-6″ is about right, but that’s from a photo, so you will just have to give it a try.

    To harvest just cut the stem an inch or two from the squash and cook like you would any yellow squash or eat raw if it tastes good.

    If you are interested in why you have what you have, then hopefully what’s below will explain in an understandable fashion. Another source of in formation and seeds that will probably do well for you when you really start gardening is here. http://www.southernexposure.com/open-pollination-ezp-19.html

    I’m assuming its parent was something you bought and tossed a bit of into the compost. The parent would have been raised by someone who most likely bought seeds from a seed supplier. The person (probably a farmer who contracts for a large seed corporation) who produced the seeds grew squash not for its fruit, but for its seed.

    The goal of the seed producer is for the next person in line to be able to use that seed to produce a plant with particular growing characteristics such as disease resistance, fruit quality and size, drought resistance, etc.. There are many variables and different farmers might desire very different combinations of characteristics.

    Squash generally have both male and female flowers. Some plants have flowers that are both pollen producers and receptacles.

    In order to brew up any particular combination of characteristics, the seed producers often hybridize to produce their seed. They may pollinate the female flowers of one variety of squash(A) with pollen from the male flowers of another type of squash(B). The seeds that result would have mixed characteristics(AB). If the reverse were done (BA) the seeds might not be the same.

    Not only might different varieties of squash be used, different similar species can also hybridize, so gourds, pumpkins, and other plants in the same genus may be in your plant’s ancestry. Genetic engineering or irradiation of seed to produce mutations (not as frightening as it sounds) also play a role in developing plant varieties.

    Back more directly to the matter at hand. You discarded squash seeds. The plant that produced the squash those seeds came from had female flowers. The type of squash those flowers would produce was fixed by the variety of squash it was. That had been carefully controlled up to that point by the seed producers using the variety of trickery that they have available. No matter how it was pollinated it would produce the same fruit.

    Generally speaking (nature is tricky, so maybe not always) the female flowers would not produce fruit if not pollinated. The squash producer is not a seed producer, so he/she doesn’t care what pollinates the flowers, just that it happens so squash are produced.

    Even if the parent plant pollinated itself (some can some can’t) or another nearby plant from the same batch of seed, the seeds produced as a result would not be likely to reproduce the parent variety. This is a huge oversimplification, but if we started with (AB) and (AB) we might get (AA), (BB), (AB), (BA). If one of the parents or grandparents was a gourd, we now might get a new plant that is much more gourd than squash or maybe still mostly squash, but very influenced in a way that the parent wasn’t. A different variety of pollinator would make things even more complicated.

  2. It looks like a Crookneck squash. I used to eat them at my grandfathers house out in front royal. That one doesn’t look ripe yet, they are usually a dark yellow when they are nice and ripe.

  3. It looks like a crookneck squash. I used to pick them when I would stay at my grandfather’s house in Front Royal. However, it doesn’t look very ripe. Usually the really ripe ones are like a dark yellow.

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