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WINTER SQUASH, Pink Banana – Cucurbito maxima
FULL SUN Native to South and Central America, where it has been cultivated for more than 1000 years, Pink Banana was introduced in the US around 1900. The 9-12 lb., elongated fruit has a bright salmon pink skin and vivid orange, sweet flesh that becomes sweeter the longer it is stored. Makes great soup and is delicious when roasted. Plant in late spring after danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed to a depth of 6 in. Plant in hills, 4 ft. apart. When seedlings are 3 in. high, thin, leaving 4 plants per hill. Well rotted manure or compost dug into the soil where the seeds are to be planted is highly beneficial. Harvest fruits only after they are fully matured and just before the first frost. Remove from vine leaving part of the stem attached to the fruit. Store in a moderately warm, dry area.
|Type||Spacing||Planting Depth||Days to Germination||Maturity|
|Winter||8 in.||1 in.||7-10||110|
Squash, beans and corn, known as the “Three Sisters” comprised the trinity that was the staple diet of ancient America. Unbelievably, remains of wild or, possibly, cultivated squash have been found in Mexico that date to 9000 BC. Similar archaeological evidence has been unearthed in South America, Central America and northern, North America. The wild varieties of squash were quite small and unpleasantly bitter tasting. Ancient peoples were not attracted to these vegetables for food. Instead, it is hypothesized, that ancient peoples collected the squash and dried them to make rattles and instruments for ceremonies and containers for storage and eating. Eventually, the ancient peoples came to appreciate and value the squash seeds which were rich in nutritious oils. After, perhaps centuries, ancient farmers began to select for and cultivate varieties of squash that produced pleasant tasting flesh.
The squash family can generally be divided into two classes – winter squash and summer squash – and fundamentally four species: c. maxima, c. argyrosperma, c. moschata and c. pepo. Of the four species, three represent both summer and winter squash. The maximas are exclusively winter squash.
C. maxima are native to Bolivia and Argentina. They are the biggest fruits on earth. Some weigh more than 1000 pounds. The first maximas appeared in seed lists around 1830. Today’s giant pumpkins have all descended from a popular French maxima variety known as Jaune Gros de Paris.
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