I have room for 5 zucchini/summer squash. If y'all had to pick your 5 favorite and most interesting squashes, what would they be? Extra points for unusualness and variety. While they don't have to be heirlooms, I prefer them if possible.
I'm partial to white scallop squash. For an heirloom, there's Wood's Prolific. My grandma describes a dish her mom used to make, using white scallop squash, some sort of savory-sweet custard with cream, eggs, and various seasonings. I grow scallop squash periodically in the hopes of duplicating this recipe.
By white scallop squash I assume you mean the white patty pan squash? I was thinking of adding that this year . . never tried it before. Is Wood's prolific a white scallop squash variety? The recipe sounds great if you ever figure it out. :)
Yes, patty pans. :)
Here is a link to some of the Wood's Prolific so you can see.
I love the fat, sweet Magda Lebanese-type hybrid zucchini and am impressed by its growth and yields. Zephyr from Johnny's is a very unusual and tasty new hybrid summer squash. Check out the picture. I ordered Magda from Willhite and Zephyr from Johnny's in bulk to give a few to friends and relatives. (Johnny's also sells Magda).
For heirlooms, Johnny's also sells a selected yellow crookneck which sounds nice, warts and all.
I like white and pale green pattypans. I also grow pale yellow and medium green pattypans, picking small and mixing the colors. I don't like the deep yellow ones as well, and Golden Scallop heirloom did not do well for me. But if you only have room for five plants, you might have to do a "year of the pattypan" sometime to do the mixed colors.
Medium green heirloom Round Zucchini from JL Hudson and lighter Ronde de Nice are novel, but don't have the highest yields. The hybrid "Eightball" is darker in color than both. More interesting is Zapallo del Tronco from Bountiful Gardens, my father-in-law's favorite. Squashes are like shiny flattened balls and are borne on the main branch. But the plant is a much larger and taller bush than the typical zucchini, holding up better as the season progresses for me. You can tie it to a stake if you start when it's little. I think it is a C. maxima rather than a C. pepo. Pick small and use like zucchini; pick at 3 or 4 inches across, hollow out the seeds and stuff; or leave for winter squash (probably not the best winter squash in the world). It generally breeds true if you don't plant C. maxima winter squashes nearby.
You're on your own for a dark green zucchini, maybe one of the striped, ridged Italian varieties like Costata Romanesco.
Someone posted recently about using young Banana Squash as summer squash. These would be in the vine section rather than the zucchini section of the garden. But if you're aiming for unusual . . .
Here is a link that might be useful: Johnny's summer squash varieties
I really like Costata Romanesco. The fruits are creamy textured, very tender, and flavorful. Shape is slightly ribbed, light and darker green stripes.