In our kitchen by the sink, we keep an indoor compost container for the throw away vegetable scraps that we eventually dump into the large compost in our garden. Then all those scraps after they have decomposed over several months will be tilled into the ground. Every year the garden will offer volunteer vegetables from the seeds that go into the compost and survive through the year. Some years it’s tomatoes and potatoes; or, an unidentified squash plant appears out of the ground that often does not mature so we pull the long stems and root out and toss it back into compost.

This year, a new squash plant appeared with curly shaped leaves that were different from the other previous squash. Bill wanted to get rid of it but I insisted we keep it for the adventure of seeing what it will turn out to be. We left the single plant in the garden and watched the long healthy stems reach the climbing pea plants, the beet and chard plants so I redirected the long stems away from the other veggie plants. The plant produced several nice orange blossoms but only three squash developed to full maturity to the point where I was able to identify the fruit by a photo that was very similar on the internet. I am certain it is a Buttercup, a winter squash.

Reading information on when to pick the ripened fruit is when it makes a hollow sound when tapped with your hand and by the lighter colored vertical stripes appearing on the outside. Being that the squash appearance met all three mentioned requirements in the description, I selected one of the squash as possibly being ready to pick. I did so but before cutting it open to prepare it for a meal, I painted the outside skin, then cut it open to expose the inside meat to determent if it’s color was orange enough for eating….sure enough, it was ready!

8 thoughts on “A volunteer Buttercup squash in the garden

  1. In answer to your question: I sliced the squash in half, placed it cut side down in gobs of butter and baked until soft and top edges were brown and crusted. The flavor was nutty and not as sweet as an acorn; texture was smooth and not as stringy as an acorn and it was more dry than an acorn. We saved some seeds for next years crop.


  2. With all the inner seeds removed and saved for next year’s garden, I then roasted the squash cut side down in gobs of melted butter until the inside was soft and with a brown crust on the cut edges. It was exciting to take that first bite of the steaming squash and discover its nutty flavor; not as sweet as acorn that can be rather moist and stringy. It was more dry in texture and very good….we look forward to planting the seeds for next years squash crop.


  3. How much fun it is to anticipate dinner with your own home grown garden gifts! Lucky you two, to enjoy such satisfying, much anticipated garden squash, well cooked and savory! That’s what I was thinking as I read there above, how Blessed you are to be together, enjoying the harvest, and so extraordinary a harvest as dinner proved to be. Notice that at no time do I imagine that this squash will be anything but delicious!


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