Squash – Sunburst F1 (summer)
Squash – Sunburst F1 is a summer squash with unusually shaped fruits resembling yellow UFO’s. It produces a large amount of fruit that can be harvested throughout the summer months.
Mid April until late May.
Sow individual seeds into small pots (7cm) or large modules and keep in a warm place. Pot on into a 10cm pot when ready. Plant out in late May-June after hardening off. Initial protection with a cloche is beneficial.
Between plants: 90cm
Approx. seed count: 5
Courgette, marrow, cucumber, melon.
Squash – Sunburst F1 (summer) are one of the most vigorous vegetables. Some varieties can easily cover an area of 5 square meters, rambling over any neighbouring crop. Thus they are not well suited to a small garden. You can, however, experiment growing them in more unusual places – on top of an old compost heap, up trellises etc.
There are two types of squashes:
- Summer squashes
- Winter squashes
For both types there are bush and trailing varieties. The bush plants are a lot better behaved and require a lot less space than the trailing varieties, but the yield is lower.
Summer squashes are grown and harvested like courgettes. There are only a few varieties available, but some of them are excellent.
Winter squashes are grown for storage. The fruit is harvested in October before the first frost and stored. There is a massive choice of varieties available. Immature fruits of winter squash can also be used throughout the season.
The name ‘Squash’ is an abbreviation of the native American word askutashash which means ‘eaten raw or uncooked’.
Soil and site:
Squashes need a very fertile, free-draining soil which can hold plenty of moisture. A generous application of well-decomposed compost is beneficial (about 1 bucket per square meter).
They also need a sheltered place in the garden as they really despise strong wind.
Start hardening the plants off at the end of May and plant out in early June.
Squashes belong to the cucurbit family. This family is not prone to any soil borne pests and diseases, so you do not need to be too fussy with rotations.
Keep the plants weed free, especially in the early stages as it will be very difficult later on to get to the weeds.
Hand pollination: In cold, wet weather (when few insects are around) you can pollinate the flowers by hand. This will increase your chances to get fruits.
Squash plants have separate male and female flowers. The male stalk is plain and the female flower carries a small fruit on the stalk.
You transfer the pollen from the male to the female flowers with a soft brush or remove the male flower and rub it onto the open blooms of the female flowers.
Harvesting and storing:
If you want to store squashes, leave the fruits to mature on the vine at least until October. The mature fruits have hard outer shells. Cut the stems of the fruits with a sharp knife and very importantly leave the stem attached to the fruit. Squash – Sunburst F1 (summer) is usually eaten fresh.
Protect plants plants from slugs at the early stages straight after planting out. Like all other cucurbits they are very sensitive to cold and windy weather. It is highly beneficial to plant them under a cloche covered with bionet for the first month.
During unfavourable weather they may fail to set fruit. You may have to do some ‘artificial insemination’ (see hand pollinating).
How much to grow?
Two to three plants are sufficient otherwise you will have no room left for anything else. Squashes, however are exciting plants to grow and the fact that there are so many different varieties around, makes it very difficult to restrict yourself to just a few plants.
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