Planting squash to save seeds

Help! I received the Hopi Pale Grey Squash seeds and will be planting them. Problem is, I don’t know the fancy names for what can be planted near them. Will they cross with: zucchini,yellow crookneck, banana, buttercup or pumpkins? I’m guessing that hubbard or other hard squash will cross.

Weeds are a big problem in my garden, especially bindweed. This year I’m trying Ruth Stout’s way of heavy mulching. A good way to get rid of the 30+ bales of ugly hay in the barn. Wish me luck. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I’ve always mulched but not that heavily.

Franci Osborne
Ignacio, Colorado

I know species names are sometimes confusing. Hopi Pale Greys are C. maxima so you can plant summer squash which are C. pepo and any pumpkins that are C. pepo such as Connecticut Field and New England Big Cheese. Banana and buttercups, however, are C. maximas and would cross with your Hopis. Instead, how about planting butternut, which are C. moschata, this year. Yes, hubbard and many winter squash will cross as they are C. maximas. Once you get the hang of this, you’ll see that although you grow pure Hopi Pale Greys you can still grow a wide variety of other squash with no fear of crossing.

Oh yeah, bindweed! I remember it well from our gardens in New Mexico. Yes, heavy mulching will kill it, whether it is with hay or plastic. But even then, you have to be on guard and pull every one you see before it goes to seed. You CAN get rid of it but it sure isn’t easy. I’d be cautious about mulching with hay unless it is old alfalfa as old grass hay often has plenty of viable seeds and you can end up planting a hay field in your garden. Been there; done that. Wow! It took me three or four years of intense weeding to get rid of the grass! Ruth used marsh hay which doesn’t have seeds that will grow in the garden. It needs wet ground to germinate, thankfully. — Jackie

What to feed chicks

We are soon to get our baby chicks and have been reading the BHM book Chickens A Beginner’s Handbook. My question is about their feed. When they are just little chicks, will the Chick Starter feed be sufficient? When do we start supplying grit and oyster shell? Our local Tractor Supply carries only the bags of “complete” chick and chicken/layer food and no grit/shells. I will look elsewhere for these but thought I’d ask to clear up my confusion.

Wendy Hause
Gregory, Michigan

Hi Wendy! Glad to hear you’re getting chicks. Chickens are a whole lot of fun. Yes, Chick Starter is all they need. I put a pan of grit in with the babies to pick at too (fine grit). Oyster shell can wait until they feather out. Then you can put a container in for them. They won’t be laying eggs for a few months but it will help them build strong bones. For grit for your chicks, you can just go out to a sand pile and scoop up a dish of coarse sand. — Jackie


  1. Thank you Jackie! It’s so GREAT to have you as such a knowledgable resource. The chicks are arriving this morning. We’re so excited!

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