Crookneck squashes are not as popular in the UK and Ireland as they are in the USA. I think that squashes in general are treated with some suspicion here partly because their nomenclature and groups seem so complicated. This is only to be expected in a group of plants that has been cultivated for so long. But I love the variety in them and few jobs are so rewarding as harvesting the multicoloured, excitingly shaped fruits through summer and autumn. Although I am growing some winter squash (eaten in winter so allowed to mature) I am also growing summer squash (eaten in summer when immature – the fruits not you). Apart from some green and yellow courgettes I have some crookneck squash*. The plants are bigger and rangier than the courgettes but that is probably because this type of squash is far less intensively bred than most courgettes. The large leaves are softly hairy and the plants are producing loads of male flowers. It is normal for squashes to produce lots of male flowers at first, so much so that you think they will never crop, but now there are some females appearing and the first squashes are being produced. They are yellow with a shiny, warty skin and are best picked when less than 20cm long so the skin is still tender and can be eaten. I find I need to cut out the seeds from the swollen end before picking but maybe I am just picky. In theory these should produce loads of fruit but we will see how they do in Ireland.
As with the other squash, the seeds were sown in large cell trays in late April and planted out in late May. These were planted 1m apart, next to some heritage Indian corn, watered once or twice to keep them going in a dry spell but have more or less looked after themselves. Though bushy and not really trailing they are not as compact as ‘traditional’ modern courgettes.
The variety is ‘Early Golden’ from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds http://www.rareseeds.com/