Squash or Gourd?

satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)June 21, 2007

Hi there,

I have one for you - my best guess is 'cucurbita pepo', but not sure.

Basically, I had this guy pop up about 4-5 weeks ago. Since then, it has run rampant. In fact, in the first pic below, you can see my compost bin, which is four 4'x4' shipping crates locked together - this will give you an idea of length of the runners. It tried to grow around the side of my house and into the garage. We let it go with the novel idea that we might have some good eats later this year.

But ... this thing is getting out of hand - there are 8-10 runners, some as long as 25-30', it's climbing up into my trees, trying to grow around the house and into my garage, it's taking over everything!! It acts like kudzu....What the heck IS this?

We thought it was squash when the small, lightbulb shaped fruit started to appear. In 2-3 weeks, they have quintupled in size, and even now, a week later, they are large enough to fit into my adult palm, but still uniquely lightbulb shaped. All of them are yellow with with stripes, some have a splash of green where the blossom was - blossom is a typical yellow 5-leaf squash-style blossom that sticks with the fruit for quite a while.

Can anyone help me ID? I want to know whether I should trim it back or cut it back - it is taking over my tomatoes, my fothergilla and false blue indigo - if it's not edible, i'm going to cut it back, toss the fruit and compost the vine.

If nothing else, are the blossoms edible and as tasty as typical squash blossoms?

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It could be an ornamental gourd - the kind you see around Thanksgiving. It is definately NOT a gourd that you would use for a birdhouse, etc. If you can, take a leaf to the Extension Service or see if you can email them a pic and I am sure they can tell you. Not Kudzu - thank goodness

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 3:21AM
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satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)

Thanks. Nah, I didn't think it was kudzu, it's it's just growing like it's Kudzu, 1-3ft per day :). Took over my false blue indigo, fothergilla and a cherry tomato plant that came up nearby.

We cut it back last week, most runners are half the size now. Gourds (?) are starting to get deeper colors, and are about three times the size as pictured. Still maintaining the same shape and starting to firm up. I noticed also that each larger one, the stem is turning really really dark green. I am uncertain what this is an indication of - any clues? Pic is below.

Haven't had time to carry anything by UGA's Extension Service, so I still have no clue what this is, definitively :)

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 10:42AM
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It is just an ornamental gourd. Feel free to continue pruning it as you did, it will just cause the plant to branch out more. Also feel free to eat the flowers it won't hurt you. Once the tendril next to the gourd turns brown and dies you can pick them and start accumulating gourds for the fall. You can't eat the mature gourds. I had an ornamental gourd similar to that one last year and it had 52 gourds on a single plant. It did so well I saved the seeds from one that I hand polinated and I am growning more this year.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 12:38PM
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