Cushaw Squash A Unique Vegetable Worth Planting

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1 October 2017 Issue 52 Dodge County Master Gardener Association Inside this issue: Upcoming Meetings 2 Gardening for Gold 3 Level 1 Training 3 Bethesda Pollinator Garden Master Gardeners in Action Mums and So Much More Youth Master Gardeners 6 Youth Master Gardeners Cushaw Squash A Unique Vegetable Worth Planting Cushaw (or Kershaw) squash (cucurbit mixta) is a unique winter squash that will be hard to find in any market, but will be well worth the minimal effort needed to grow. Like any winter squash, cushaw is low in calories, but is a good source of minerals, carotene, and Vitamins A, B, and C. So, what makes cushaw so special? Ease of growth, squash bug resistance, and outstanding flavor would top the list. Additionally, it is different, and what gardener does not like to show off something unique to friends and family? Cushaw is a pot-bellied, green or yellow and green striped, crook-necked winter squash that tolerates heat and drought. The vines will sprawl as it grows 105 days until maturity, so give it plenty of room. The fruits will be pounds, inches long. Unlike some of the other winter squash, this one is easier to cut up, not requiring the hatchet that some butternut squash need. They store well, lasting 4 5 months, allowing the gardener to have tasty dishes well into spring. An internet search will yield sources for seeds. Plant in hills when danger of frost is gone, thinning to two plants per hill. A sunny location with well-drained Photo by Diane Hemling soil is optimum. Harvest when the vines die back or when the fruit skin cannot be penetrated with a fingernail. Cure in a warm location for a week or two before storage. The cushaw is grown more extensively in the Southern United States and is referred to as a Tennessee Sweet Potato. One complaint that consumers of other winter squash have is the dryness. Cushaw are moist without being overly wet. People who have eaten this squash rave about the flavor. The lightyellow flesh is slightly sweet and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. It can be substituted for pumpkin and is superior in flavor and texture to a regular pumpkin. One author said after eating a cushaw pie, I am afraid I have ruined my taste for the Libby s classic. Cooking the cushaw results in a larger yield than most winter squash. What is a cook to do with all that squash? Once it is cooked and pureed, it can be used for pies, cheesecakes, muffins, cheesecakes, soups, chili, and in smoothies (think: pumpkin pie smoothie!). The puree can be frozen for later use as well. Roasted cushaw is a veritable feast. Drizzle with olive oil, add the spices of your choice and roast cubed squash for about 10 minutes. As a bonus, roast the seeds when preparing the cushaw and use them for a tasty, nutritious snack. Carol Shirk, Certified Master Gardener

2 P a ge 2 D igging in Dodge I s su e 52 Upcoming Meetings Anyone with an interest in gardening is welcome to attend the following free programs. Master Gardener meetings are held on the fourth Thursday of the month. Unless otherwise noted, the meetings are at 6:30 p.m. in the Administration Building, 127 E. Oak Street, Juneau. October 26 Cactus and Succulents by Dan Mahr. Dan will give a general introduction of cactus and succulents. He will give an overview of the most common groups of succulents in cultivation and the ones most successful as houseplants. He will also have a segment of photos from nature, taken while traveling throughout North and South America, Africa, and various islands. Dan has been growing cactus and succulents for over 50 years, first in southern California, and for the past 36 years in Wisconsin. He has been a member of Cactus and Succulent Society of America for over 30 years and a member of the Board of Directors from 1997 to He was awarded the honorary distinction of Fellow in 2003; served as President He is an accomplished author, photographer, and speaker with a wealth of knowledge. He has visited cactus and succulent plants in their native habitats in over 15 countries. Dan Mahr grew up in southern California, received his B.S. and M.S. in zoology at San Diego State University, and his Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of California, Riverside. He worked at San Diego State before coming to the Department of Entomology, UW Madison for over 30 years. He specialized in agricultural pest management in fruit crops and biological control. He retired in 2011 and is now an emeritus faculty. November and December No meetings. Happy Holidays!! Master Gardener Websites Master Gardener

3 D igging in Dodge I s su e 52 P a ge 3 Gardening for Gold The fourth annual Gardening for Gold Fall Symposium will be held on November 4, 2017 at the Horicon Marsh Education Center. Local and regional speakers will be present to share their knowledge to gardeners of all levels of experience and skill. Jed Colquhoun, Professor and Extension Specialist at the UW-Madison, will share the interesting origin and culinary uses of some of our most common weeds. Learn how to add interest to the off-season garden with Jeff Epping, the Director of Horticulture at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Amy Freidig, Program Assistant with the Wisconsin Master Gardener Program will share the truth behind some very common garden myths that can help save your plants and your money. To round out the day, Kristen Waas, owner of Waas Family Garden, will demonstrate how to make a Christmas wreath by hand tying greens to a ring and using natural items found in the yard to decorate the wreath. A taco bar lunch will be included in the events of the day as well as a Silent Auction featuring many items of interest to gardeners and non-gardeners alike. For registration information contact the Dodge County UW Extension office at , visit the website at or connect with us on Facebook. Registration is required by October 20 and seating is limited. Thank you to the Gardening for Gold sponsors: Gold Sponsors: Four Star Wealth Advisors LLC, Juneau Veterinary Clinic Silver Sponsors: Beaver Dam Women s Health LTD, Horicon Bank, Beaver Dam Community Hospitals, Heiar Insurance & Estate Planning, Leitner Properties Bronze Sponsors: Horicon Family Chiropractic, Matrix 3D Machines Level 1 Training Dodge County 2018 Master Gardener Volunteer Training 14 Weeks Tuesdays, February 6-May 8, :00-9:00 p.m. Class size limited to 25 Registration deadline Friday, January 19, 2018 Mandatory orientation meeting Tuesday, January 23, 2018 Cost is $150 Acceptance contingent upon passing background check For more information, call

4 Page 4 Digging in Dodge Issue 52 Bethesda Pollinator Garden The Bethesda Pollinator garden began in 2016 when DCMGA was given the opportunity to take over an existing, but badly overgrown, garden in front of the Bethesda Thrift store in Horicon, Wisconsin. Bethesda Thrift Store has partnered with us and has donated money each year for mulch. The first year the primary task was just recovering and establishing good pollinator plants in the garden. The Dodge County Bee Keepers Association donated $100 in 2017 towards the purchase of plant stakes to help the public identify the plants. Those stakes are ordered and will be in place in the spring A larger sign identifying the garden as one developed and maintained by DCMGA as a pollinator/educational garden is in the works and will be in place in spring 2018 as well. The plan is to have classes on site for the public in summer 2018, and each year to educate the public about the benefits of gardening to benefit pollinators. In addition, a list of the plants with photos, their growing requirements, etc. is being developed and will be posted on our website so people will have easy access to the information. It should be available in early-mid Master Gardeners in Action Bus Trip to Old World Wisconsin. Dodge County Fair Senior Expo Waupun Mayville Youth Master Gardeners

5 D igging in Dodge I s su e 52 P a ge 5 Mums and So Much More Are mums your go-to plant for the fall? They are mine, and based on how popular they are, for many others as well. There are many varieties of colors, sizes of blooms and heights to choose from, and for the most part I have been successful in overwintering them from year to year. The key is to plant them in the spring, in full sun and in well-drained soil. They also need a spot where they will be protected from winter winds. After they are done blooming, leave the stems up for the winter to protect the roots throughout the winter. If you look past the mums there are plenty of other plants that can add color to the fall landscape. Here are just a few. Asters are a colorful, native perennial that are right up there with the mum as a popular fall blooming plant. There are two main types of asters, New England (Aster novae-angliae) and New York (Aster novi-belgii). New England asters tend to be taller and have thick hairy stems and hairy leaves. New York asters are shorter, the stems are thinner and without the irritating hairs. Like the mum they come in various colors from red, purple, blue and white. Plant asters in full sun with a well-drained loamy soil. Asters are also a late season source of pollen for pollinators, including 19 species of butterflies. (Photo by Diane Hemling) Toad Lily (Tricyrtis spp.), native to Asia, is a late season bloomer for shady areas, that will add an exotic touch to the garden. Toad lilies prefer moist soil rich in organic matter and can handle a variety of light conditions, from deep shade to dappled sun. The small orchid like flowers come in a variety of colors, and open in late summer to early fall and will last a few weeks or until a hard frost. Since the flowers are small and delicate, plant where they can be enjoyed up close. The one down side to these plants deer and rabbit like them as well. There are several annuals that add color to the fall gardens. Ornamental cabbage and kale, which are in the same species as edible cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, are great additions to the fall garden. They get large rosettes of pink, white, purple, red leaves in the fall when the weather cools and can survive temperatures as low as 5 F. Ornamental cabbage and kale are edible, although they have a bitter flavor; most often they are used as a garnish. Ornamental peppers (capsicum annuum) are grown for show rather than eating. They produce colorful fruit that are either rounded or pointed. There can be different colors of fruit on one plant, as they are in different stages of ripening. Peppers on the ornamental pepper plant are upright and above the foliage, where typical peppers in the garden hangs downward. The plants are great for borders or containers and prefer full sun. Even though the peppers are edible, it is not recommended. They can be incredibly hot and care should be taken as well when handling the fruit. Native or non-native, perennial or annual, grass or sedge, shrub or tree; there are many plants available to add color to your fall landscape. Take a walk, visit a botanical garden, or do a little research to find the plants that will add the color to your fall landscape. Have a colorful autumn. Chris Jacobs, Certified Master Gardener Autumn...the year's last, loveliest smile." John Howard Bryant

6 D igging in Dodge I s su e 52 P a ge 6 Dodge County Youth Master Gardener Association

7 P a ge 7 D igging in Dodge I s su e 52 Dodge County Youth Master Gardener Association

8 Board of Directors Loretta Ortiz-Ribbing Crops and Soils Agent UW-Extension Office Diane Hemling President Lynn Stanton Vice President Jan Krause Secretary Chris Jacobs Treasurer Gae Bergmann Local Record Keeper Al Krause Local Representative to the WIMGA Yellow Coneflower Seed heads Seed heads add interest to the garden throughout the fall and winter. Dodge County Master Gardener Association UW-Extension, Administration Building 127 E. Oak Street, Juneau, WI Phone: (920)