Winter squashes are valued for their edible and ornamental uses. They are sources of vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin C, and fiber [Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW), 2005; U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 2012]. Having a mild to very sweet flavor depending on type (DPW, 2005), they are used in savory as well as sweet preparations. Additionally, many have attractive exocarps and are used in tablescapes and other decorative ways. Their hard, thick exocarp also allows for long shelf life and, as a result, they are a good crop for extending the marketing season into December or beyond in temperate areas.
In Pennsylvania, 383 acres were devoted to winter squash on 210 farms, ranking eleventh and sixth in the nation, respectively (USDA, 2009). Pennsylvania ranks seventh nationally in number of organic farms producing vegetables, potatoes (Solanum tuberosum), and melons (Cucumis sp.) (USDA, 2010). Pennsylvania’s 151 organic farms span 1194 acres with a value of $14,148,101. About a third of these farms (53) grow squash on over 170 acres. This places Pennsylvania seventh in the nation in number of organic farms growing squash. Winter squash cultivars have not been evaluated for a number of years in the mid-Atlantic U.S. region. Market outlets for growers have extended into the fall/winter season and winter squash have an important niche in the late-season. It is anticipated that the winter squash market has room for increased growth. As such butternut, acorn, and buttercup/kabocha winter squash cultivars were evaluated in conventional and organic systems to develop recommendations relevant for the mid-Atlantic U.S. region.
AldrichH.T.SalandananK.KendallP.BunningM.StonakerF.KülenO.StushnoffC.2010Cultivar choice provides options for local production of organic and conventionally produced tomatoes with higher quality and antioxidant contentJ. Sci. Food Agr.9025482555
National Organic Standard2012Title 7: Agriculture. 7 Mar. 2012. <http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=c3e7c1b5a7bdb911db5c8dfb7a0587f7&rgn=div8&view=text&node=7:126.96.36.199.32.3.354.5&idno=7>
OrzolekM.D.FerrettiP.A.LamontW.J.ElknerT.DemchakK.SánchezE.MacNabA.A.HalbrendtJ.M.FleischerS.J.LaBordeL.HoffmanK.San JulianG.J.2005Commercial vegetable production recommendations – Pennsylvania. Penn State Coop. Ext. Publ. AGRS-028
OrzolekM.D.FerrettiP.A.LamontW.J.MacNabA.A.HalbrendtJ.M.FleischerS.J.SmilowitzZ.HockW.K.1999Commercial vegetable production recommendations – Pennsylvania. Penn State Coop. Ext. Publ. AGRS-028
OrzolekM.D.SánchezE.LamontW.J.ElknerT.DemchakK.LinG.HalbrendtJ.M.GuginoB.K.FleischerS.J.LaBordeL.HoffmanK.San JulianG.J.2010Commercial vegetable production recommendations – Pennsylvania. Penn State Ext. Publ. AGRS-028
OrzolekM.D.SánchezE.LamontW.J.ElknerT.DemchakK.LinG.HalbrendtJ.M.GuginoB.K.FleischerS.J.LaBordeL.HoffmanK.San JulianG.J.2012Commercial vegetable production recommendations – Pennsylvania. Penn State Ext. Publ. AGRS-028
Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare2005Winter squash. Food for Thought Nwsl. 1(7). Winter squash. 24 Apr. 2012. <http://www.panen.org/snap/winter-squash>
ReidT.A.YangR.-C.SalmonD.F.SpanerD.2009Should spring wheat breeding for organically managed systems be conducted on organically managed land?Euphytica169239252
U.S. Department of Agriculture20092007 Census of agriculture. Volume 1 Chapter 2: State level data Table 30. 23 Apr. 2012. <http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2007/Full_Report/Volume_1,_Chapter_2_US_State_Level/st99_2_030_030.pdf>
U.S. Department of Agriculture20102008 Organic survey Volume 3 Special Studies Part 2 Table 4. 20 Aug. 2012. <http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2007/Online_Highlights/Organics/organics_1_04.pdf>
U.S. Department of Agriculture2012Nutritional nutrient database for standard reference Release 24. 23 May 2012. <http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/list>