COCOZELLE SQUASH (C. pepo) is a 19th Century Italian heirloom still widely grown today because it is just so fabulous! This 2'-3' bush plant has excellent leaf cover for the fruits and produces an abundance of long, slender, smooth, dark and light green striped fruits, best picked when they are about 6"- 8". The whole fruit is melt-in-the-mouth delicious and my favorite choice for making lasagna, but you can use in any dish fresh, grilled, baked, etc. The fruits are so tender and the flavor is just so superb. I have also found this variety to stand up to the intense heat, humidity and bugs of our Carolina summers better than just about any squash, heirloom or hybrid. 45-50 days. 25 seeds.
NANA'S COCOZELLE LASAGNA -- this is so easy and so delicious. Spread a tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom and sides of your baking dish and simply substitute thinly vertically sliced fresh Cocozelle squash for lasagna "noodles," and layer (2-3 times) in your baking dish alternating with finely sliced onion, chopped basil, cottage or ricotta cheese, grated nutmeg, salt & pepper, and top with grated mozzarella and bread or cracker crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees covered for 35 minutes, then 5 minutes uncovered.
GROWING TIPS: Popular summer and winter squash have basically the same growth requirements. They are all heavy feeders requiring rich composted soil and specific organic amendments depending on type. Gardeners all have their "secret recipes" for squashes - everything from beer to milk to who knows what! It is fun to experiment! Wait until the soil is warm to plant seeds, or transplants. Once established, the winter squash will remain productive until cooler weather sets in. In fact, you can successfully grow squash right in your compost pile! Be on the lookout for squash borers! They enter the vine at the soil line and leave a pile of "crumbs". They will decimate your plants, so when you see evidence of them, use a knife to slit the vine until you find them, remove and crush them, then use sarah wrap to close the vine and bury the vine up to a point where it is whole. It will root again at the point and you should be fine. Most winter squashes are large, vining plants that require lots of room to grow. Fruit are harvested when they are mature and have hard rinds. Winter squash fruit can be stored in a cool, dry location for 1 to 6 months.