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Introducing the Cucurbitaceae

By Liz Fairchild, Retail Assistant

Maybe, like me, you’ve wondered before about distinctions between varieties within the squash family, or cucurbits. For example, all the squash packets in our collection state that one may consume the fruit "when small and immature as summer squash, and mature as winter squash." This led me to think summer squashes are just immature winter squash. I discovered that's not always true. Then there is the rumor of cross-pollination amongst family members. And just how are the different varieties related? So I have gone in search of enlightenment and wish to report to our readers. I will break my report into several blog posts, beginning today with a botanical overview of the Cucurbitaceae, the family of gourds and squashes.

The Beauty of Huitlacoche

By Melissa Kruse-Peeples, NS/S Conservation Program Manager. Published on August 26, 2014.

Corn is a versatile ingredient. It is fresh roasted, ground to make cornbread or tortillas, dried and reconstituted into posole, and everything in between. But there is one way to eat and cook corn that may come to a surprise to many. Huitlacoche, pictured here, is a corn lover’s delicacy. Trust me, it is edible and delicious.

Squash Varieties Newly Available from our Seed Bank

By Sheryl Joy, NS/S Seed Distribution Coordinator
Published on August 12, 2014

There are some squashes newly available from the NS/S Collection, so if you have some space left in your monsoon garden, you might try one of these… or start planning for next year! We are pleased that recent growouts produced enough seed to make these available to the public: several colorful pumpkins, cushaws, and maybe a spaghetti squash.

Squash Pollination

By Melissa Kruse-Peeples, NS/S Conservation Program Manager. Published July 25, 2014.

One of the most common gardening problems from those growing squash, cucumbers, or watermelons is the abundance of baby fruits, but none that grow to full size. The baby fruits shrivel and wither away. The most common reason for this is that the fruits were not pollinated. In this blog post we share information about how cucurbits are pollinated and provide instructions for hand pollinating squash that can be applied to other species in this plant family.

ABC's of Monsoon Planting

Article written by by Melissa Kruse-Peeples, NS/S Conservation Program Manager and Sheryl Joy, Seed Distribution Coordinator.

The summer rainy season is off to a good start and therefore it’s time to get out in the garden! For many seed varieties in the Native Seeds/SEARCH collection, this is traditional time to plant. The monsoons allow for a second summer season after crops planted in March and early April have matured and been harvested. These varieties have adapted over the centuries to the burst of seasonal moisture and warm temperatures of late June through July. So get out there and start planting!

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