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Squash

Squashes off many diffeent types are very popular in home gardens today. That's for several reasons: They are easy to plant and grow. They don't require a lot of work. They resist pests and disease better than many other plants. And they look quite handsome when it comes time to pick them. We're growing three different squashes in Robbins Farm Garden: pattipan and crooknecked squash. profiled here, and zucchini, which has been given its own separate profile.

The name "squash" is a shortening of askuta-squash, the term for the squash family of vegetables used by the Narragansett tribe here in Massachusetts. They shared their squash with the Pilgrims, taught them how to grow squash themselves, and taught them the name.

Origins

The original squashes got their start in Mexico and Central America over 10,000 years ago. They have been grown there on a continuous basis ever since. For the early Native Americans, squash was one of the "three sisters" — plants that were often grown side by side in the fields and served, together, as the mainstay for most people's day-to-day eating needs. The other two sisters were beans and corn.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, two of our earliest presidents, both grew and greatly enjoyed summer squashes, of which patty pans are just one variety.

Pattipan squash

In the eyes of some, the pattipan squash wins the veggie world's top prize for being cute. With all those dimples, how could this vegetable be anything but adorable, shaped as it is like a toy flying saucer with all those little bumps around its edges?

Pattipan squashes themselves come in three colors, often reflecting their age. Pale green ones are often the youngest, then come the creamy white, and then golden yellow. Patty pan squashes are usually eaten cooked and have a delicate flavor, one that is a little sweeter and a bit more dense than that of their cousin, the zucchini.

Crookneck squash

A bit on crookneck still to come