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We’re really excited to be offering this amazing landrace squash for the first time, brought to us by our good friend, plant breeder and seed saver Chris Homanics of Head, Hands, Heart Nursery and Seed. Here’s what Chris has to say about this special population:
Sometimes you happen on something so good you wonder “how could this have almost slipped into extinction?” One such variety is ‘Pueblo Highlands Landrace’. A true landrace, you can expect from this squash a cornucopia of shapes — from warty hubbards with ribbing and colorful stripes to fat pink bananas, egg shaped fruit to round blues with pinkish hues, and much more! However, while diverse in shape, the flesh is consistently high quality and the flavor is such that it is the most amazing squash to ever touch my lips. The dark orange-red flesh is a rich sweet custard, smooth and never stringy. The slightly puffy seeds roast up nicely too, making a delicious snack. A true keeper squash that will easily store for many months, often well into the spring.
There is some mystery surrounding ‘Pueblo Highlands Landrace’. Originally from the highlands of New Mexico which is known for blistering hot days and frigid cold nights with even occasional summer frosts. True to form, this squash has some frost resistance in the foliage (about as far as squashes go) and is resistant to black rot. Since first growing this out in 2013, this has become a staple for me and is my favorite winter squash.
The part of this landrace’s story which is known to me begins about 10 years ago when a construction worker was renovating an old long-abandoned house that had stood empty for some 30 years. The last inhabitant was said to be a Native American man with no immediate family. Inside the house, a series of glass mason jars were found in a pantry area underneath the stairs, containing corn, bean, and squash seeds. The worker kept the jars of seeds for a few years as a decoration on his mantle until someone suggested that they might still be viable. While nothing germinated from the other jars, the squash seeds did germinate and from them a patch of diverse fruits were grown out. I received some of these seeds from a friend in southern Oregon. To my knowledge, this squash has not been maintained by anyone else and is otherwise lost, until now.
We’re honored to be releasing this population to the wider world and we are hopeful that doing so may help shed some light on its origins and deeper history.
GROWIG TIPS: Chris recommends growing squash with 5 feet spacing between plants. Direct seed or transplant.