Acorn squash - some bush, some vines

susanne_in_nl(z6-7 Netherlands)July 20, 2008

Hi all,

This yearI decided to venture into trying to grow acorn squash for the first time. So far they're doing quite well growing in 2 big tubs with trellises to train them up. The seeds are from a squash we bought last year, dried and planted indoors a while back. Germination was almost 100%, BTW.

What I find odd is that of the final 6 plants I kept, only 2, one per container, are showing any signs of vining. One is about 4-5 feet tall and the other is a prodigious 6-8 feet tall. The other 4 plants are bushing, quite vigorously, I might add. The leaves are HUGE and all 6 plants are blooming. Male flowers only, so far, but I'm trying to be patient.

Is the variation in growing styles normal or is it more likely because of cross-pollination of the original parent plant? Any guesses? In case it matters, the plants might be crowded a little bit, but all seem to be doing well and I'm fertilizing regularly.



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susanne_in_nl(z6-7 Netherlands)


Just saw my first girlie flower! WooHoo!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 11:16AM
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Congratulations: Acorns are available in both bush and vining forms, plus acorns readily cross with any other C. pepo type which includes most summer squash, many pumpkins and several types of winter squash. A store bought squash is usually a hybrid which will revert back partially to the parent squash. If all your females look like acorns, it is mostly a hybrid just reverting. If cross- pollinated you will most likely get a wild looking assortment of shapes.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 2:22PM
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susanne_in_nl(z6-7 Netherlands)

Thanks Farmerdilla. I guess it's a good thing I've never met a squash or pumpkin I didn't like. I do hope it's not crossed with a summer squash. I was hoping to be able to save these to use later through the winter. Acorn squashes aren't available in the stores here in Holland, unfortunately. Time will tell.

Could you explain a bit more what you mean by "revert back partially to the parent squash"? You mean it'll be a "real" acorn variety?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 5:13PM
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Hybrids are a controlled cross between two parents. In modern hybrids two inbred lines are generally used, but one could be a vining type and the other a bush type. One might not have the tastes and size desired but have lots of disease resisistance. Hybrids are developed to get the most desirable characteristics in one package in the shortest time frame. An open pollinated squash could be developed but it takes on average 8-10 generations to stabilize. Since breeders have been given some protection under Plant Variety Protection there are increasing more op's being introduced as the plant patent does allow a breeder to recoup his investment.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 8:21PM
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I also planted Acorn Squash this summer. Everything I read said they were vining so I put them on a trellis and got bush plants. I moved them to pots and the leaves are glorious. However, I have had two squash start to form and then fall off. Do you have any idea why that would happen?

Also, how do you know they are male of female. Am I going to blush at this answer?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 4:37PM
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iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

Female squash plants have a tiny squash at their base.

Additionally, if you look at an open male flower you'll see a prominent, protruding stamen full of pollen and if you look at an open female flower you'll see a short, wide, somewhat open-looking pistil.

So yes, *blushing*, the male flowers look male inside and the female flowers look female inside.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 6:45PM
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Thanks iam3killerbs. Do you have any idea why the squash would fall off the vine before ripening? I have now had 3 squash begin and after becoming a little larger than a golf ball the fall off. Only one has hung on and I'm not sure of the difference between the two.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 4:58PM
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