Contender Hybrid Squash Seeds
Even richer in flavor and more generous in yields than the old favorite!
Ready just 6 weeks from sowing, this zucchini extends your summer squash season deliciously. The zukes reach 8 to 9 inches long, firm and packed with tender white flesh. You will get a big, big harvest from this plant, which keeps going all summer and into fall in most climates. Get those recipes out and prepare to share the bounty with less fortunate neighbors and friends!
Contender is spineless and has an open habit that makes harvsting much easier. Everything about this zucchini is superb, deserving of a central place in your vegetable garden! Pkt is 20 seeds.
|Item Form||(P) Pkt of 20 seeds|
|Days To Maturity||43|
|Seeds Per Pack||20|
|FruitLength||8 in - 9 in|
|Additional Characteristics||Direct Sow, Easy Care Plants, Edible|
|Harvest Season||Early Fall, Early Summer, Late Summer, Mid Fall, Mid Summer|
|Light Requirements||Full Sun|
|Moisture Requirements||Moist, well-drained|
|Soil Tolerance||Normal, loamy, Sandy|
From Squash casseroles and stuffed Zucchinis to Pumpkin pies and jack-o'-lanterns, these versatile garden favorites offer something wonderful for everyone! Their history is long and rich, and their potential as a food source as well as a beautiful fall-season decoration is unsurpassed.
Choosing a Variety
Pumpkins and Squash offer a wonderful variety of colors, sizes, and shapes, providing you with many options as far as flavors and applications. You can grow Pumpkins that range from small to giant -- anywhere from about 2 pounds to 100 pounds or more! Some are better for eating while others are mainly used for decoration.
When you're deciding which Squash you want to grow, you can choose from a delicious selection of summer or winter Squash. The summer varieties (which include Zucchini) are best for fresh eating and quick harvests, while the winter ones are great for storing and baking.
When to Start
Pumpkins and Squash are best direct sown outdoors after all danger of frost has passed in the spring and the soil has warmed. They can be sown indoors (at a temperature of 70 to 75 degrees F) 2 to 3 weeks before planting out, but direct sowing is recommended.
If you want Pumpkins for Halloween, plant from late May (in northern climates) to early July (in extremely southern locations). Keep in mind that if your Pumpkins are planted too early they may rot before Halloween.
How to Start
Pumpkins and Winter Squash:
Sow the seeds at a depth of 4 times the size of the seed, siting them in full sun in rich, sandy, well-drained soil. Fertilize before planting and then again every 3 weeks until you harvest. It's very important to keep the plants weeded and well watered. If you're growing your Pumpkins on hills, space the vines about 8 feet apart. If instead you choose to plant them in rows, space the vines 3 to 4 feet apart in rows that are about 8 to 12 feet apart. You can also grow them on a trellis, an option especially appealing if you have limited space. Expect germination in 7 to 10 days.
Summer Squash and Zucchini:
Summer Squash can cross with similar varieties such as Acorn Squash and jack-o'-lantern Pumpkins. The cross-pollination will not be apparent with your current crop, but it's not recommended that you use the seeds for the following season. However, summer Squash will not cross-pollinate with Melons or Cucumbers.
If your summer Squash become too large (hard and seedy) they will sap the strength away from the plant that would otherwise be used to grow more fruit. Just throw away any that become too large.
Keep in mind that although squash plants produce both male and female flowers, it's only the Female flowers that produce fruit.
Vining Pumpkins need at least 50 to 100 square feet per hill.
- Squash do best in a well-drained, sandy loam that is high in organic matter.
- Pumpkins and Squash do not transplant easily. If you want to start your seeds indoors use paper containers or some other type of fiber material that will peel away from the roots without causing them any damage. Also, only have one seedling to each container. Peat pots are also good, as they can be planted as-is, thus minimizing root disturbance.
- Summer Squash can be planted any time after there is no longer a danger of frost -- from early spring until midsummer.
- Summer Squash will produce excellent yields in any well-drained soil.
- Harvest your summer Squash when they're small and tender. They can over mature rather quickly since they develop so rapidly after pollination, so check your crop frequently in order to pick them at their peak quality.
- Elongated varieties are best at 2 inches or less in diameter and about 6 to 8 inches long. The smaller "Patty Pan" types are best at 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
- If your Squash does get too large it can still be used for things such as stuffing or grating into breads and other dishes.
- Summer Squash develop very quickly and are ready to pick within 4 to 8 days of flowering. This is especially true in hot weather.
- Take care when harvesting your Squash -- they can bruise and scratch easily, and the leafstalks and stems are prickly, so they can irritate unprotected hands and arms. Wear gloves and harvest with pruning shears or a sharp knife.
- Storing your summer Squash: place unwashed fruit in plastic bags in your refrigerator's crisper. Use within 2 or 3 days for best quality.
- The open blossoms (before the fruits appear) are also edible -- they're delicious dipped in batter and fried.
- Harvest the fruits when the rind becomes hard and they're a deep, solid color.
- You will want to harvest most of your crop before heavy frosts, in September or October.
- When cutting from the vine, leave about 2 inches of vine attached to the fruit.
- If the fruit becomes cut or bruised or they are subjected to heavy frosts, use them as quickly as possible or compost them -- keep an eye out for seedlings in your compost pile!
- Winter Squash should be stored in a dry area that stays between 50 and 55 degrees F. If you need to store them for an extended period of time place them in a single layer, preferably not touching each other. This reduces the chance of spreading rot.
- Use a sharp knife or pruning shears to harvest, leaving 3 to 4 inches of stem attached to the fruit.
- Handle and store as you would other winter Squash.
Pests and Problems to Watch For
- Plant resistant varieties whenever you can.
- If you can avoid it, don't apply nitrogen fertilizers late in the season. This will limit the production of succulent tissue, which is the most susceptible to infection.
- Avoid overhead watering.
- Remove and destroy infected plants -- DO NOT compost them!
- Allow for as much air circulation as you can.
- Choose pest-resistant varieties when possible.
- Early detection is very important, so look over your plants often.
- If only a few of your plants are infected, you can just collect and destroy the bugs and their egg masses. Boards, shingles, or something similar can be placed on the ground near the plants -- the bugs will often concentrate themselves to that area.
- You can cover the vines until blossoming begins, at which time they'll have to be uncovered for pollination.
- Burn or compost plant debris at the end of the season.
- Chemical insecticides can be used if nothing else works. Follow all label directions and safety precautions.
- Choose pest-resistant varieties if possible.
- Plow early to remove vegetation and discourage egg laying.
- Sandy soils aren't usually as susceptible to pest problems.
- Row covers can keep them off until the plants are well established.
- You can apply a foliar insecticide at the cotyledon stage (the appearance of the first leaves). Be sure to follow label instructions and safety precautions.
- After you harvest the fruit, destroy the spent vines to kill any larvae that may be hiding inside the stems.
- Plow in fall or spring to kill any cocoons that may have over wintered.
- Some gardeners like to plant a trap crop of very early-planted squash -- it can alleviate pest pressure on other, later varieties.
- You can remove the borers by hand by slitting the stem with a knife, removing the intruder, and then covering the slit area with soil, which will promote additional root formation. You can also pick the eggs off by hand.
- Place a barrier or cover over the stems to prevent the borers from laying eggs in the first place.
- You can catch and destroy the moths -- do this at twilight or in the early morning as they rest on the upper side of the leaf bases.
- Use an appropriate insecticide, but be sure to read instructions and advise on when to apply, as timing is crucial.
- Borers are quite susceptible to natural enemies, such as parasitic wasps, especially in the egg stage.
Superior Germination Through Superior SciencePark Seed offers some of the highest-quality vegetable and flower seeds available in the industry, and there are a number of reasons for this.
First of all, we have humidity- and temperature-controlled storage, and we never treat any of our seeds with chemicals or pesticides. Nor do we ever sell GMO's (genetically modified seeds), so you always know the products you're buying from us are natural as well as safe for you and the environment.
Superior Standards - University InspectedTo make sure we are providing the best seed product possible and that our customers will get the highest number of seedlings from every packet, we conduct our own germination testing and have quality-control measures in every stage of our seed-handling operation. We hold ourselves to standards that are at or above federal and state standards, including testing specific crops more frequently than recommended by federal guidelines. And in order to maintain our organic certification, we welcome Clemson University to inspect us annually to make sure our organic seeds, which are stored and processed separately, are being handled properly.
Hand Packed By Experienced TechniciansPark Seed has been handling and packing vegetable and flower seeds for 145 years, a history that has given us a great understanding of how each variety should be cared for and maintained throughout every step of theprocess, from collection to shipping.
When packing our seeds, the majority are actually done by hand (with extreme care!), and we often over-pack them, so you're receiving more than the stated quantity.
The Park Seed Gold StandardAnd many of our seeds are packed in our exclusive Fresh-Pak gold foil packets, which are lined to keep moisture out, so the seeds stay fresher for longer. We carefully pack very tiny or fragile seeds in crush-proof vials to ensure safe delivery to your home. Some of the small seeds are also offered as "pellets" (have a clay coating) to make sowing and growing easier. When it comes to the kinds of seeds we offer, we are constantly seeking something new and provide many unique and hard-to-find varieties from all around the world. Our on-staff horticulturists are ready and available to share their expertise to help you with the success of these seeds, so you can grow a beautiful and productive garden!
Does Park sell GMO's or treated seeds?
It is important for our customers to know that Park Seed does not sell GMO or treated seed. We do buy a small amount of traditional hybrid seed from Seminis, a division of Monsanto Co., but that is all we purchase from them.
What are the differences between organic, heirloom, and hybrid seed?
Basically, organic seeds are seeds that are produced without the use and exposure to artificial/chemical fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and other chemicals. They have to be grown, harvested, stored, and handled under very strict organic rules and procedures. All of our organic seeds are USDA 100% certified organic through Clemson University and the certificate has to be renewed yearly.
Heirloom Seeds are open-pollinated -- they are not hybrids. You can gather and save heirloom seed from year to year and they will grow true to type every year, so they can be passed down through generations. To be considered an heirloom, a variety would have to be at least from the 1940's and 3 generations old (many varieties are much older -- some 100 years or more!).
Hybrid seed are the product of cross-pollination between 2 different parent plants, resulting in a new plant/seed that is different from the parents. Unlike Heirloom seed, hybrid seed need to be re-purchased new every year (and not saved). They usually will not grow true to type if you save them, but will revert to one of the parents they were crossed with and most likely look/taste different in some way.
What are pelleted seeds? Why do you use them? How do I handle/sow them?
Extremely small seed such as Petunias and Pentas are shipped as pelleted seed to make them easier to handle and sow. Pelleted seed are coated, usually with clay, to make them larger in size. After sowing, the coating will dissolve when wet and the seed will germinate. Pelleted seeds are shipped in vials placed inside seed packets, which protects them from being crushed. When sowing, be certain to use thoroughly moistened soil, to be sure that the clay coating absorbs enough moisture to dissolve. For sowing pelleted Petunia seeds, place the seeds directly on the soil surface and do not cover with soil, as light aids in the germination.
What is ideal temperature to germinate most seeds?
The ideal temperature to germinate most seeds is approximately 70 degrees F; give or take 1-2 degrees either way. This would be a good germination temperature for most flower and vegetable seeds and would be the most practical and feasible temperatures achieved for gardeners starting seeds in the home. You will notice for some seeds that it is recommended to use alternating day (warmer), night (cooler), temperatures, which is fine if one can provide such conditions. But most people are unable to provide those temperatures in a home setting, so just use the overall 70 degree F recommendation and the seeds should germinate well.
How long should grow lights be kept on per day and how close to the plants should the light be kept?
For germination and seedling/plant growth, you want to simulate the natural day-night cycles, and as a general rule, grow lights should be on 8-12 hours per day and off at night. You can vary this timing, as some seeds such as tomato, pepper, petunia, impatiens, and others, benefit from 14-17 hours of light per day (and the remainder of the 24 hour period in darkness). The most common grow lights used are fluorescent; using cool white, warm white, and wide-spectrum fluorescent tubes. These lights work well for germination and for growing plants up to a transplantable size. Fluorescent lights should be kept close though, 3-6 inches above the soil or the growing plants, adjusting the height as the plants grow.
How long will seeds keep in storage?
Park Seed stores seed in a special temperature- and humidity-controlled storage facility, which keeps seeds in excellent condition. Our seeds should be good for at least 1-2 years on average. Seed viability and storage time will vary depending on the seed item; some will keep a shorter time and some will keep longer. Seeds should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place. A basement will do (if not too humid), or a cool, dark room or closet. We recommend the best way to extend seed storage life is to store them in something air tight, such as a plastic zipper storage bag or canning jar, and place it in the refrigerator. This will extend the life of seeds for many years.
What is the best way to store seeds over a longer time period?
We recommend the best way to extend seed storage life is to store seeds in something air tight, such as a plastic zipper storage bag or canning jar, and place it in the refrigerator. This will extend the life of seeds for many years.
What depth should I sow various seeds?
When sowing seed outdoors, we recommend a maximum planting depth of 4X the width of the seed. When sowing seed indoors, the planting depth can be less, depending on the seed being sown, so it is always best to check specific directions. Here are some general guidelines concerning planting depth in relation to seed size: Tiny, dust-like seeds need to be sown on the surface of the growing medium or soil, uncovered, as they need light to germinate. The planting depth for small seed can be anywhere from barely covering, to 1/8-inch deep, to possibly 1/4-inch deep, depending on the recommendation. Medium seed should be planted at 1/4- to 1/2-inch deep, depending on the recommendation. Larger seeds can be planted 1-inch or deeper, depending on the recommendation.
The ancient Native American technique of growing Corn, Beans, and Squash together in an arrangement called the Three Sisters is the ultimate in companion planting and helps increase harvests, naturally!
Corn acts as a support for climbing bean vines, the beans fix nitrogen in the soil for the high feeding requirements of corn and squash, and the squash provides mulch and root protection for the corn and beans! After cooperating beautifully in the garden, corn and beans form a complete protein when eaten together! How's that for a mutually beneficial relationship?
The Three Sisters are all easy to direct sow in the garden and are a great project for children, teaching them about the beauty of natural harmony while providing a fast-growing reward for their efforts.
Make the best possible use of your garden space this season, and try growing the Three Sisters! Just follow the easy steps listed below, fertilize well, plant other companions like herbs to assist with pest control, and you'll be harvesting your best crop in no time!
In May or June when soil has warmed:
Shape a flat-topped circular mound of soil about a foot high and 2 feet across at the top, sloping outward toward the base. Plant a circle of corn seeds on top, about 5 or 6, and water them in well, tamping down your soil mound firmly so it doesn't wash away in the first rain. Space the mounds 3 or 4 feet apart in the garden.
Since all corn grows on sturdy, dependable stalks, the variety you choose depends on the flavor, disease resistance, and holding ability you want. Sugar Buns is a Sugar Enhanced (SE) yellow hybrid with absolutely scrumptious golden kernels and is positively scrumptious. For SE whites, you can't beat Silver Princess, with extra-long ears bursting with flavor. And for the sweetest ears yet, you absolutely must try Corn Mirai, available in Yellow, White, Bicolor, and even a Mini!
About two weeks later:
When your corn reaches about 5 or 6 inches high, plant Bean seeds (6 to 8 of them) around the edges of the flat top or about halfway down the sloping sides of the circular mound. Push the seeds down deep into the soil and, if you're planting on the slope, make sure the soil is nice and firm. Add a bit of Nature's Aid at planting time to help the Beans fix nitrogen.
To get your Beans to climb up the cornstalks, choose Pole rather than Bush varieties. Smeraldo is far and away the best-tasting Pole Bean, with flat pods up to 10 inches long on vigorous 4- to 6-foot vines. Park gardeners rave about Kwintus, a super-early performer with succulent pods on stringless 8- to 10-inch pods. And is the classic name in Beans, with top-quality dark green pods that are both stringless and fiberless, even if you pick them a bit late. We even have Blue Lake available in organic seed!
One week or so after that:
Plant Squash seeds around the base of the mound, on flat ground. You can make them radiate around the mound, or just go in the direction you have available space! 6 to 8 seeds in a ring around the base of the mound is usually plenty.
The traditional Squash family member for this Sister is Pumpkin, with its all-American flavor and long growing season. For a quicker harvest, grow Summer Squash varieties such as organic Early Summer Crookneck or Zucchini such as space-saving Eight Ball Hybrid.
When everything begins growing...
Thin the plantings to 2 or 3 Corn stalks, each with no more than 2 Bean plants winding around it. (You'll need to help the Beans get started growing up the stalks). The Squash is going to vine along the ground, so the number of plants you need depends on how far apart your mounds of corn and beans are, how long the vines get, and how much walking space you need in the garden.
Add a FOURTH sister: Sunflowers!
Sunflowers attract birds, thus tempting them away from your corn plants. They shade the vining bean plants while also adding support. Plus, they're beautiful! It's a win-win situation!