I have an old packet of cocozelle zucchini seeds that I've been planting from for the last several years. We really like the flavor and it seems to do pretty well for me. I'm about out of the seeds, and they're getting old anyway, so I thought I would try to save some from this year's crop. None of my other curcurbits made it this year, so the good news is I know there's no danger of cross-pollination and my seeds should come true to type.
Can anyone give me any pointers on seed saving for these guys? Do I need to let them get really big and old, or can I save the seeds from the eatin' size zukes?
Zucchinis in England we call courgettes. They are actually babies. When fully grown and ripening we call them marrows. Ater you've scraped out the seeds you can stuff and roast the marrows; cut out the flesh and steam it; or make marrow and ginger jam.
Of course, the hard part is not eating them as soon as they're there! That plant is about the only thing that's had halfway decent production for me since last winter, and I'm just craving fresh homegrown veggies.
Will do my best to let ONE go ... wish me luck! :)
You are probably starting with hybrid seeds which are not reliable to come back true. You have to save seeds from stable open pollinated varieties for predictable results. Even they can cross with another type if you grow 2 or more compatible ones at the same time. Since they depend on insects for pollination, it's best to separate the different ones by a good amount of distance.
patgeorge, THANK YOU!!
A new use for the baseball bat sized zucchinis. Eventually people seem to tire of zucchini bread, cake, muffins, etc.
Tucsonjill, I always have a few that get "lost", no matter how diligent I am in hunting. Now that I grow in hay bales, they crawl down between (or inside) the bales and hide. I'm sure that the shaking I see occasionally is the huge zucchini giggling and getting ready to ambush me...and forget it if I go away for a day or two, and asl my SO to pick them ALL. They are invisible to him...
If you want to save seeds, catch a female blossom before it opens, when it does, pollinate it, and bag it immediately. I use little "lunch" bags. Once the squash begins to develop, mark it, them follow Farmerdill's (always spot on) advice:)
It tends to depend on what we have available; but usually minced beef and/or pork sausage meat with onions, tomatoes, whatever seasoning takes your fancy. Slice the marrow length wise down the middle, scoop out the seeds, pile in the stuffing, put the two halves together, and a bit of string (not plastic!!) round them. Put in a roasting tin with some oil/fat in the bottom. Put in a oven at about 180 Celsius for an hour. Baste a couple of times during cooking. I can't pretend it's a gourmet dish; but it's a way of using up over grown marrows.
We also make marrow and ginger jam. Use 2 lb of peeled marrow with 1 1/2 lb sugar, 10 fl oz pectin extract, 1/2 oz root ginger (crushed in a muslin bag) and 1/2 tsp of citric acid powder.
For marrow chutney, use 3lb peeled and diced marrow, 1/2 lb shallots, 1/2 lb green apples, a dozen peppercorns, 1/2 oz crushed root ginger, 1/2 lb sultanas, 4 oz sugar and 1 1/2 English pints ( an English pint is 20 fl oz) vinegar. Put the diced marrow in a basin with a sprinkling of salt to extract some of the water, leave overnight and drain. Peel and chop the apples and shallots finely. Tie the spices in a muslin bag. Put everything in a saucepan, and simmer gently for about a couple of hours. You can use other spices if you like.
We like to stuff our canoe-sized zucchinis with lamb, bread crumbs, chopped zucchini and some chopped eggplant, tomatoes, onion and garlic, and top it with a slice of cheese, or mix grated cheese throughout. You can add mint or tarragon or oregano or herbes de provence or whatever spices you like. As Patgeorge said, it depends what veggies you've got handy. You can also do a vegetarian version, just leaving out the meat. I serve one half one night and freeze the other half for an easy dinner when I'm busy or it's too hot to cook.
I was looking over Greenhousegal's yummy recipe for zucchini. We call our yellow and zucchini squash "boats" and do something similar. We halve them the long way, cross hatch and scoop the flesh and saute it with Italian fennel or hot sausage, onions, peppers and thinly sliced carrots. We add herbed or cornbread stuffing, herbs from our garden, a few eggs and some additional liquid (broth or water) for moisture and a good Swiss cheese or cheddar grated in and on top. Bake covered at 350 for about 40-45 min.. Half a squash makes a giant entree and the leftovers are really great cold or re-warmed.
DD is intentionally overgrowing her squash since giving her this recipe. For the meat eaters among us bacon adds a nice flavor instead of sausage. You really need so little to get a great flavor. I made six giant yellow squashes the other night and used two uncased, hot Italian sausages.
I'm experimenting with seed I let cross last year. This looks like a Delicata or a cross. We are harvesting our more mature ones. I cooked and pureed winter squashes yesterday then froze them for curried soups. They are great with cream and yogurt added for a cold soup in hot weather or warmed in winter. A little nutmeg on top.
My zukes did pretty good. I enjoyed their nice sized heafty plants, got several fruits, but I was not able to enjoy eating them. I had plenty of so much else they got put off. I have 2 left and I dont know if they are any good anymore.. they been on my porch for a long time.. Guess I ought to cut into them and see.
I use those plastic feed sacks for weed barriers and also for my climbing rose. I stuff the bags with flakes of straw and tie the bags into square pillows, then I take the rose down and lay it on the ground. Its about 7 feet tall.. anyway then I take the pillows and cover the rose with it and take a peice of cattle panel and put that on top of the pillows to hold them in place for the winter. You can use the pillows year after year too! Saves buying more straw and cones! I dont cover that rose until it maintains a cold temp here.
We grow both summer and winter squash each year, but only a couple of plants of each. I have tried saving seed from a winter squash which I really liked but it must have crossed with a pumpkin. Saving seed from squash seems pretty iffy to me if you grow more than one variety. I like the idea of only purchasing a few seeds. My Pinetree Gardens catalog arrived last week and although they don't have a huge selection of squash, they package their seeds at 15 per package for half the price of other catalogs. I put toghether a dummy order of the seeds I normally purchase and came up with less than $50 worth of seed, where normally I would spend more than $100. In most cases there was enough seed in one packet to plant what I required, and with seed prices escallating each year this seems like a good idea to me.
If your winter squash was from the pepo family it may have very well crossed with the pepo family summer squash. Look on line to see varieties of winter squash that are not pepo if you want to save those seed. They will still cross with each other if in the same family though so you could only grow one of each non pepo variety or pollinate and bag flowers.