Candide logo
Download the free app
Download on the App Store
Get it on Google Play
Candide logo
Download on the App Store
Get it on Google Play

Gem squash

Cucurbita pepo var. Gem Squash 'Rolet'

Gem squash (Cucurbita pepo var. pepo) is a variety of summer squash that was domesticated from two wild varieties; C. texana found in the southern and central United States and C. fraterna found in Mexico. 'Rolet' is a small round squash with a dark green skin and pale yellow to green flesh, popular to use in many vegetable patches. It can be picked mature (the skin has hardened) or when still young with a soft skin.

Planning

Difficulty
Easy
Flowering time
Summer
Fruiting time
Summer, Autumn

Harvesting

Most squash cultivars will be ready to harvest about 8 -12 weeks after sowing. Remove the squashes with a 20 - 40 mm stem using a sharp pair of secateurs. Young 'baby' squash can be eaten with skin and pips!

Propagation

Seed
Sow seeds in situ in spring after the last frost date. Plant about 2 cm deep and 60 - 90 cm apart, angle the pips to allow water to drain. It takes 7 to10 days to germinate.

Special features

Crop rotation
Summer squash are heavy feeders, follow with legumes.
Attracts useful insects
Bees are needed to pollinate the flowers.

Geography

Origin
Mexico, United States
Natural climate
Temperate

Environment

Light
Full Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Neutral, Acid
Frost hardiness
Tender

Uses

Edible
The fruit, flowers and seeds are edible. The fruit when harvested mature needs to be boiled or steamed. When harvested with a soft skin they can be eaten raw or used in cooking and baking.
Notes
Culinary

Personality

Family
Cucurbitaceae
Flower colour
Yellow
Scent
None

Problems

Rolet has a high resistance to powdery mildew. Be on the lookout for pests like Red Spider Mite, Thrips, Whiteflies, slugs and snails.

Companion plants

Some vegetables inter-planted with your summer squash can repel these pests. Radishes, repel squash vine borers and cucumber beetles, while garlic repels aphids. Planting your squash at the base of maize plants can "disorients" the squash vine borer. Radishes attract flea beetles to their foliage and away from your summer squash. Summer squash benefit from being planted with any type of bean or pea, as these fix nitrogen into the soil, which is taken up by the squash roots. Squash is often planted with beans and maize as part of a traditional "three sisters" garden. Maize provides a support for climbing beans, squash, with its prickly leaves, keeps mammal predators away from developing maize, and beans provide nitrogen to both plants. Maize also has the benefit of producing a lot of pollen, which attracts more bees to pollinate your squash blossoms. Borage, an annual herb, attracts bees for pollination, and its leaves can be mulched around the squash plant to help put calcium back into the soil to prevent the calcium deficiency that causes blossom-end rot. Sink a pot of mint near your squash plants to draw away aphids. Seed orange and yellow nasturtiums around squash and throughout your garden as they draw away aphids, cucumber beetles and whiteflies, among many other pests. As a bonus, the blossoms are edible, with a sharp radish-like taste. Dill is also a good companion to squash as the herb is said to repel squash bugs as well as aphids and whiteflies.

Download the free app

Download on the App Store
Get it on Google Play