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Jonathan R. Schultheis and S. Alan Walters

Yellow and zucchini squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) cultivars/elite lines (cultigens) were evaluated over two seasons (fall 1995 and spring 1996) in North Carolina. Different cultigens were tested over the 2-year period for both yellow and zucchini squash, although some cultigens were tested both years. Cultigen recommendations are based on yield, quality, disease resistance, and season grown. Yellow squash cultigens that yielded well include: Destiny III, Freedom III, Multipik, TW 941141, Liberator III (fall 1995); and HMX 4716, Superpik, PSX 391, Monet, Dixie, Picasso, and XPH 1780 (spring 1996). Superior-yielding zucchini squash cultigens were: TW 940981, Tigress, TW 940982, ZS 19, Elite, and Noblesse (fall 1995); and Leonardo, Hurricane, Elite, HMX 4715, Noblesse, and Tigress (spring 1996). Virus ratings for fall 1995 indicated that some transgenic plants with virus resistance withstood virus infection better than those without resistance. These were Freedom III, Destiny III, Freedom II, Liberator III, Prelude II, and TW 941121 (yellow), and Tigress, TW 940982, TW 940981, TW 940866 (zucchini). Virus-infected plants were assayed and viruses were determined to be zucchini yellow mosaic, watermelon mosaic II, and papaya ringspot.

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Richard W. Robinson and Stephen Reiners

Low temperatures typical of early season production promote female sex expression and reduce male flower formation in summer squash. In addition, some summer squash cultivars do not produce sufficient male flowers for good fruit set early in the season in New York. Parthenocarpic fruit set could increase early season yield as well as at times when bee activity is restricted by wet weather or by row covers. More than 30 Cucurbita pepo cultivars and breeding lines were evaluated for their ability to produce parthenocarpic fruit over the past 3 years. Pistillate flowers were closed before anthesis to prevent pollination. In 1992, 66% of all the entries set parthenocarpic fruit where as 40% displayed the same pattern in 1993 and 81% in 1994. Varieties with the best parthenocarpic fruit set included Black Beauty, Black Magic, Black Jack, and Chefini Hybrid, all zucchini types. Most yellow-fruited cultivars had poor fruit set but the precocious yellow cultivar Gold Rush had good parthenocarpic fruit set in 1992 and 1993. In 1994, floating row covers placed over the plants 1 week after planting confirmed the results of the previous two seasons. This indicates that certain varieties of summer squash consistently set parthenocarpic fruit. These varieties may be most useful for early season production or for production under plastic tunnels or row covers where pollinator activity is restricted. In addition, our results indicate that it is possible to breed parthenocarpic squash of different fruit colors and types.

Open access

Harry S. Paris, Haim Nerson, and Yosef Burger

Abstract

Precocious Caserta is a summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) of the vegetable marrow type. Unlike other vegetable marrows, its fruit are yellow with yellow broken stripes, and the flesh is bright golden yellow. Plant characteristics resemble those of ‘Caserta’, but leaves may exhibit much yellow spotting.

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Donald E. Irving, Glen J. Shingleton, and Paul L. Hurst

Extractable activities of α-amylase, β-amylase, and starch phosphorylase were investigated in order to understand the mechanism of starch degradation in buttercup squash (Cucurbita maxima Duchesne ex Lam. `Delica') with the ultimate goal of improving the conversion of starch into sweet sugars. During rapid starch synthesis (0 to 30 days after flowering), extractable activities of α-amylase and β-amylase were low, but those of starch phosphorylase increased. After harvest, during ripening at 12 °C, or in fruit left in the field, activities of α-amylase and β-amylase increased. Starch contained 20% to 25% amylose soon after starch synthesis was initiated and until 49 days after harvest irrespective of whether the crop remained in the field or in storage at 12 °C. Maltose concentrations were low prior to harvest, but levels increased during fruit ripening. Data suggest starch breakdown is hydrolytic in buttercup squash, with α-amylase being the primary enzyme responsible for initiating starch breakdown.

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Jim E. Wyatt

Removing a portion of the foliage of zucchini squash without reducing yield would increase the efficiency of mechanical harvest since less plant material would be passed through the harvester. Pruning 50% of the leaves and petioles at either first or second harvest had no effect on third harvest fruit yield. Primary or secondary fruit growth rates were not affected by leaf removal. Presence of a primary fruit reduced the number of secondary fruit developing to marketable size but the rate of secondary fruit development was similar on plants with one, two, or three fruit. The maximum fruit to develop at one time in this planting was two per plant. Following one or two hand-harvests of zucchini squash, mechanical harvest efficiency will be increased after removal of 50% of the leaves and maturation of two marketable fruit per plant.

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Harry S. Paris and Rebecca Nelson Brown

Pumpkin and squash (Cucurbita L. spp.) are important cucurbit crops and are grown in almost all arable regions of the world. The three economically important species, Cucurbita pepo L., Cucurbita moschata Duchesne, and Cucurbita maxima Duchesne are highly polymorphic in fruit characteristics, inspiring much research into their inheritance. A comprehensive list of genes for Cucurbita was last published more than a decade ago. This new gene list for pumpkin and squash includes descriptions of gene interactions and the genetic background of the parents that had been used for crossing to allow easy confirmation of previous work and provide a sound foundation for further investigation. This gene list includes 79 loci for phenotypic/morphological traits and 48 polymorphic allozyme loci. Linkage and mapping are discussed.

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James E. Ells, E. Gordon Kruse, and Ann E. McSay

An irrigation scheduling program has been developed for zucchini squash that produced high yields and high water use efficiency with, a minimum number of irrigations. The irrigation program is based upon a soil water balance model developed by the USDA. This irrigation program is available in diskette form and may be used with any IBM compatible personal computer provided wind run, temperature, solar radiation, humidity and precipitation data are available.

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Charles L. Webber III and James W. Shrefler

Although CGM has been identified as an organic herbicide for weed control in turf and established vegetable plants, direct contact with vegetable seeds can decrease crop seedling development and plant survival by inhibiting root and shoot development. The objective of this research was to determine the impact of banded corn gluten meal applications on squash plant survival and yields. This factorial field study was conducted during Summer 2005 on 81-cm-wide raised beds at Lane, Okla., with two application configurations (banded and solid), two CGM formulations (powdered and granulated), two incorporation treatments (incorporated and nonincorporated), and three application rates (250, 500, and 750 g·m–2). The two CGM formulations at three application rates were uniformly applied in both banded and solid patterns on 19 Aug. The banded application created a 7.6-cm wide CGM-free planting zone in the middle of the raised bed. The CGM applications were then either incorporated into the top 2.5 to 5.0 cm of the soil surface with a rolling cultivator or left undisturbed on the soil surface. `Lemondrop' summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) was then direct-seeded into the center of the raised beds. When averaged across the other factors, there was no significant difference between powdered and granulated CGM formulations or incorporating and nonincorporating the CGM for either squash plant survival or yields. As the CGM application rates increased the plant survival and yields decreased. Banded application resulted in significantly greater crop safety (90% plant survival) and yields (445 cartons/ha) than the broadcast (solid) applications (45% plant survival and 314 cartons/ha). The research demonstrated the potential usefulness of CGM in direct-seeded squash production, if used in banded application configuration.

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D.S. NeSmith, G. Hoogenboom, and D.V. McCracken

Three summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) cultivars were grown using conventional tillage and no-till soil management practices during 1991 and 1992 in the mountain regions of Georgia. Soil bulk density and N content as well as crop dry weight, leaf area, and yield were monitored to assess the potential for using conservation tillage in squash production. Soil bulk density of the surface (0 to 10 cm) layer under no-till exceeded. that under conventional tillage at planting by 0.25 Mg·m-3, and 1 month after planting by as much as 0.16 Mg·m-3. However, growth-limiting bulk densities (>1.45 Mg·m-3) did not occur. Total soil N to a 30-cm depth was similar for the two tillage regimes. There were no significant cultivar × tillage interaction effects on plant dry weight, leaf area, or crop yield. Total yields were similar for the two tillage regimes; however, early yield during 1991 was 27% less using no-till. There is potential for the use of conservation tillage in summer squash production in the southeastern United States. However, the current lack of registered herbicides for weed control and possible early market price incentives are likely disadvantages to widespread acceptance of such cultural practices.

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Darrin Parmenter, Russell Nagata, Kent Cushman, and Nancy Roe

Recently, an increasing number of restaurants in Palm Beach County, Florida, have been requesting squash (Cucurbita pepo) flowers from local vegetable growers. Typically, current field-grown squash cultivars produce a higher ratio of female to male flowers, with the emphasis on fruit production. However, a market for squash blossoms indicates a need for cultivars that produce higher numbers of consistently developing male flowers throughout the growing season. In order to evaluate male squash blossom production, 10 squash cultivars, including yellow-summer, zucchini, round, and scallop-types, and one compact-type pumpkin, were field-grown during the 2005–06 growing season. The average number of male flowers per plant by week was recorded for 7 weeks, starting when the first male flowers were identified within the entire trial. In addition to blossom counts, flower traits, such as bell height, depth, volume, and weight were also recorded. Preliminary results from the 2005 season indicate that the commercial yellow-summer squash cultivars, Mulitpik and Early Prolific Straightneck, and the zucchini cultivars, Jaguar and Raven, produced fewer male flowers on a week-by-week and total basis. The cultivar, White Bush Scallop, produced significantly more male flowers then any other entry, with an average of 9.8 male flowers per plant per week. Little or no difference was seen in bell height and depth among the 11 cultivars; however, two cultivars, Costa Romanesque and Hybrid Pam (compact pumpkin type) had significantly greater bell volumes and weights, indicating a much larger blossom size.