Early Crookneck Summer Squash
Seed Count: Approx. 20 seeds
Days to Maturity: 50 Days
Description: Early Crookneck Summer squash is a classic in any home garden. It is a heavy yielding, easy to grow, early producing heirloom. It produces, bright, lemon yellow, 6-8 inch fruit, perfect for throwing on the grill with some zucchini. It's also great steamed, stir fried, or added to soups. It has a nice meaty texture, with succulent, creamy, sweet flavor. The Early Crookneck has a swan like neck, hence its name. Make sure to harvest these while the skin is still soft to ensure that it keeps producing. It grows in a bush habit, like zucchini, growing to about 2 ft. tall and 4ft. wide, so it can be grown in a container, and doesn't require trellising. Plus, i has some resistance to squash vine borers.
How To Grow
Sowing: In cool climates, start seeds indoors a month before the last expected frost. Squashes do not take well to transplanting, so peat pots or pellets are the best option. Plant two seeds per pot 1/2" deep, thinning out the weaker seedling. Make sure to harden seedlings before transplanting. Transplant when the soil temperature reaches at least 65 degrees F, in very rich soil 8-10' apart in rows 10-12' apart. Direct sow in warmer climates when soil reaches 70 degrees F.
Growing: Squash seedlings do not tolerate cold weather, so provide protective coverings if it drops below 65 degrees F. Keep soil moist at all times, however, avoid wetting squash leaves because it can cause diseases such as rot or mildew. When the vines begin to develop, a layer of mulch will help conserve moisture, control weeds, and keep the squashes clean. Squash are susceptible to squash borers, cucumber beetles, and squash bugs. While this variety has some squash vine borer resistance, they can, and will, kill your plants overnight, so make sure to keep an eye for damage, and take precautions to protect your plants, like applying an organic insecticide or diatomaceous earth. It has compact growth habits. Companion plant squashes along with corn and beans, but avoid planting them with potatoes.
Harvesting: Harvest this squash when it reaches around 6-8 inches long. When it begins to produce mature, pick them every day or two to keep the plant productive. They keep well in the fridge for about two weeks and freeze well. When the squash reach their mature size, the seeds are ready for saving. Cut the squash open, remove the seeds, and rinse off the pulp. Put the mixture in a bowl of water to remove the remaining pulp. The good seeds will sink to the bottom. Remove the good seeds and spread them out until completely dry for 2-3 weeks. Store up to four years.