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Varietal Selection

Variety selection can be challenging given the large number of choices available. Consider the length of the growing season, soil type, climate conditions, and production practices unique to a farms location when selecting varieties. Very little testing of cucumber, squash or pumpkin has been done in Utah as there are not resources available to evaluate varieties in the different regions where cucurbits are produced. To further complicate matters, there are hundreds of different varieties available for purchase. Remember, most varieties will grow and produce fruits in Utah but, not all may be suited to your location. When selecting a new variety, evaluate it based on fruit size, earliness, vine growth habit, and disease resistance. Vigorous vine growth helps produce sufficient leaf cover to minimize sunburn but excessive vine production may limit productivity. If viruses and fungal diseases have been problems, look for varieties with some resistance to these issues. Heirloom varieties, while popular at farmers markets, generally lack disease resistance and are more prone to cosmetic defects.

If certain diseases have been a problem or you’re replanting where cucurbits have been grown in the past, you may want to select varieties with some disease resistance/tolerance characteristics. Not all varieties carry disease resistance or some have partial resistance to selected diseases. Some seed suppliers have specific disease abbreviations. Always check with the seed supplier or reference their seed catalog for a full list of varieties and disease resistance packages or talk to your seed salesperson about unique needs and issues.

Table 5.1 shows a few of the types or varieties that are known to be grown under local conditions. We recommend that growers regularly test new varieties and compare them to what you already grow. On-farm testing is the best way to identify varieties that are most suited to your farms local and unique conditions.

Table 5.1. Variety Suggestions – Cucumber, Summer Squash, Winter Squash, and Pumpkin

Fruit Types Varieties or Types
Summer Squash – Types crookneck, patty pan, round, straight neck, yellow, green and stripped zucchini
Winter Squash – Types acorn, banana, buttercup, butternut, delicate, hubbard, kabocha, spaghetti, turban
Pumpkins - Varieties New England Pie, Munchkin, Small Sugar, Spookie, Autumn Gold, Spirit, Connecticut Field, Howden, Big Max, Atlantic Giant, Polar Bear, Moonshine
Pickling Varieties Atlantic, Calypso, Cross Country, Jackson, Multipik, Napoleon, Pikmaster, Quest, Shenandoah, Vlasset
Slicing Varieties Centurion, Dasher II, Meteor, General Lee, Marketmore 76, Raider, Slice Nice, Striker, Turbo
Tunnel Varieties Unistar, Katrina, Socrates, Iznik, Diva