About Queensland Blue Squash: This heirloom blue squash was introduced to the United States in 1932 from Arthur Yates & Company of Sydney. Squash such as this are called pumpkins in Australia, and are available nearly year round; the Aussies love this vegetable and prepare it in countless ways, one of the most popular being a pumpkin/squash soup.
Queensland Blue Squash Germination: Gardeners with short growing seasons may want to start their squash seeds indoors a month before the last expected frost. Since squashes do not take well to transplanting, peat pots are the best option. Plant two seeds per pot, later clipping off the weaker seedling. Harden the seedlings by exposing them to the weather for several hours at a time during the week before transplanting. About a week after the last frost or when the soil temperature reaches an average of 60 degrees F, plant the seedlings in very rich soil 8-10' apart in rows 10-12' apart. Another option is to plant the seedlings in hills of two, 8-10' apart. To direct sow, plant the seeds a week after frost 1/2" deep, 3-4' apart and thin to 8-10' apart. For companion planting benefits, plant squashes along with corn but avoid planting them with potatoes.
Growing Queensland Blue Squash Seeds: Since squash seedlings do not tolerate frost, provide protective coverings if cold weather threatens. Keep the soil moist at all times, but avoid getting the leaves wet as this can cause diseases such as rot or mildew. When the vines begin to develop, a layer of mulch will help conserve moisture and control weeds; mulch also will keep the squashes clean and protect them from too much soil contact. By midsummer, pinch off all the blooms to concentrate the plant's energy on the developing squashes.
Harvesting Queensland Blue Squash: Squashes can be harvested as soon as the stem begins to dry and the skin becomes too hard to pierce with a fingernail. Because cold weather can damage squashes, they should be harvested before the first frost. Cut the stem with a sharp knife, leaving a 2-3" length." Do not carry the squash by the stem; if the stem breaks off, use it as soon as possible, since this causes the squash to deteriorate quickly. Cure the squashes in the sun or a dry location until the stem shrivels; do not wash the ones you intend to store. Queensland Blue is a sweet squash that stores very well.
Saving Queensland Blue Squash Seeds: By the time the squash has been cured, the seeds are mature. Cut the squash open, remove the pulp and seeds, and rinse off the pulp. Put the mixture in a bowl of water to remove the remaining pulp; the good seeds will sink. Remove the good seeds and spread them out to dry for 2-3 weeks, stirring them at times to make sure they dry completely. Store the seeds in a cool, dry place for up to 4 years.
Detailed Queensland Blue Squash Info: Cucurbita maxima. Also known as Australian Blue Pumpkin. Annual. 101-110 days. 130 seeds per oz. 18-24" height. 6-8' spacing. Produces slightly flattened and ribbed, pumpkin shaped, blue skinned squashes that can grow up to 20 lbs.