Hopi Pale Grey squash, Jalepeño jelly, and Canning meat — 4 Comments

  1. Jim – all the information I’ve gotten says winter squash ripening is directly related to temperature so do everything you can think of to increase the temperature around your squash plants. If the ambient temperature doesn’t support ripening, you have to do things to fool the squash. The darker your soil is and the better it drains, the sooner it will warm up in spring. If you put down black plastic or large rocks around your plants it will help warm the soil and raise the ambient temperature. If you can build a rock wall behind or around your plants (my winter task) that will also help. I’m sure that the long, unusually cold spring where I live was a factor. Even though my plants were in WallOWaters and seemed to be doing OK, the roots were probably cold. I always put 2-3 largish rocks inside the WallOWaters with my squash, pepper, eggplant and tomato plants and leave them for the growing season because the rocks will warm the soil and the air temperature. Hay bales around the plants will help protect them as will frost blankets over them, in spring and fall (I had Agribon50 frost blankets on mine but it apparently didn’t compensate enough). If you’ve ever had powdery mildew, be proactive and spray the plants before it shows up because mildew will shorten the life of the leaves. As you get toward the end of your growing season, cut back on water but not to the point where the leaves wilt. As far as anyone knows, this squash is from an arid, rocky, very hot low organic matter alkaline soil area and they shouldn’t need what we consider optimal growing conditions. Water stress will often cause squash, peppers and tomatoes to ripen – the plants interpret that as a danger signal that they’d better hurry up and ripen so there are viable seeds. And of course, select seeds for early ripening. If you know someone who grows this squash, ask for seeds from the first ripe squash, select them from your own crop or plant seeds from different commercial sources and select for early ripening.

  2. I didn’t realize that leaving the sides rounded would make them so much stronger. That’s good to know. Thanks Jackie! :-)

  3. Jim – My green skinned Hopi Pale Grey squash are for sure not ripe. I’d guess, based on the appearance of the inside, the one I cut open is about 4 to 6 weeks away from being ripe. I’m baking it to see whether it might be edible, but it won’t keep in storage. Winter squash need to cure after you pick them, so you could also try curing your green ones to see if they taste better. Canadians grow Hopi Pale Grey, there are aeveral seed sources online. I’m going to order seeds from a Canadian company next year and see how they do. If you want to try that, remember that it takes one to two months for seeds to get through customs, and order early. Next year you can also try growing the squash on black plastic, just as you would a long season melon. Cut Xs in the plastic and plant the plants in the hole made by the X. If you want to try a squash similar to Hopi Pale Grey in appearance, including the blue grey skin, I’ve grown Blue Ballet, Hokkaido Stella Blue and Sweetmeat for years and had dependable crops from them. Mine have kept until February or March. If you want a very, very sweet storage squash try Uncle David’s Dakota Dessert.

  4. Jim – I’m in a climate like yours and Jackie’s. My Hopi Pale Grey squash are not ripening either and I don’t know why – or maybe I just don’t recognize a ripe one. This is my first year growing them. Mine sure don’t have the blue grey color I see in pictures. My seed came from Baker Creek. I started the plants indoors in RootTrainer cells, transplanted them at 4 weeks old in June to WallOWaters. They grew well, no wilting and no problems. Took the WallOWaters off, and they continued to grow. Some of the vines are close to 15 ft long. Squash are very large, roundish or football shaped, healthy and beautiful to look at. But here it is mid-October, and the skin sure looks kind of bright green to me. Maybe the seeds Jackie uses are ones she has selected over the years she has grown this squash? Or her seeds came from a different source? I’m going to cut one of the smaller ones open tomorrow and see what it looks like inside, will bake it if it looks ripe. But just wanted you to know that you are not the only one with Hopi Pale Greys that don’t look ripe. I’m thinking I will look for a different seed source for next year.