Acorn Squash Cultivar Evaluation

To provide growers with information for successful, region specific, cultivar selection in 2010-11, we evaluated several acorn squash cultivars in a conventional system across the state.
Acorn Squash Cultivar Evaluation - Articles
Acorn Squash Cultivar Evaluation

Introduction

Evaluations were located in central Pennsylvania at the Russell E. Larson Research and Education Center in Rock Springs, in eastern Pennsylvania at the Southeast Research and Extension Center in Landisville and in western Pennsylvania at Beinlich Farms in 2010 and Harvest Valley Farms in 2011. Additionally, acorn squash cultivars were evaluated in an organic system at the Russell E. Larson Research and Education Center, Rock Springs.

This evaluation was funded by the Pennsylvania Vegetable Research and Marketing Board.

Methods

The cultivars evaluated in the conventional system, along with the company from which seed were acquired, are listed below. The standard 'Tay Belle' was grown for comparison.

CultivarSeed CompanyType of Winter SquashYear Evaluated
HarlequinRupp Seeds, IncAcorn2010-11
Table StarRupp Seeds, IncAcorn2010-11
Autumn DelightSeedway, LLCAcorn2010-11
Tay BelleSeedway, LLCAcorn2010-11
CelebrationSeedway, LLCAcorn2010-11
Honey BearJohnny's Selected SeedsAcorn2010-11
JetJohnny's Selected SeedsAcorn2010-11
Tip Top (PMR)Johnny's Selected SeedsAcorn2010-11
Black BellotaNEseedAcorn2011

At all locations, cultivars were grown in a plasticulture system using raised beds, drip irrigation and black plastic. Three foot in row spacing and eight foot center-to-center rows were used. At the central Pennsylvania site, four-week-old transplants were planted on June 17, 2010, and three-week-old transplants were planted on June 14, 2011 in the conventional system. Five-week-old transplants were planted on May 28 and 29, 2010, and three-week-old transplants were planted on June 21, 2011 in the organic system. Direct seeding was used in the western and southeastern sites.

Fruit were harvested when all plants of an individual cultivar reached maturity. Fruit was categorized as marketable or unmarketable, counted and weighed. Yield data was analyzed using analysis of variance. When phosphorous values were less than or equal to 0.05, means were separated using Duncan's LSD (Least Significant Difference) test.

Results

Organic System

In 2012, all acorn squash were harvested on September 9th. In 2011, they were harvested on August 30th and September 19th and 20th.

Acorn Squash--Marketable and Unmarketable Yields

In 2010, 'Celebration' produced a larger number of marketable fruit than 'Table Queen'. Fruit numbers from 'Autumn Delight' were smaller than 'Table Queen'. All other cultivars evaluated did not produce a different number of squash than 'Table Queen'.

In terms of weight, 'Tay Belle' marketable yields were higher than all other cultivars, while 'Honey Bear' produced lower yields in terms of weight to all other cultivars.

Very few acorn squash were unmarketable. Differences in unmarketable yields between cultivars were not detected.

In 2011, 'Celebration' and 'Autumn Delight' produced a similar number and weight of marketable fruit to 'Table Queen'. All other cultivars evaluated produced fewer fruit than 'Table Queen'.

Very few acorn squash were unmarketable. 'Jet' and 'Tip Top' produced higher unmarketable yields in terms of fruit number and 'Jet' by weight than 'Table Queen'. All other cultivars evaluated produced similar unmarketable yields to 'Table Queen'.

Conventional System

Squash were direct seeded about three weeks late in the western Pennsylvania site. The site experienced a crop failure, as by July 21, 2010, each plot averaged only two plants.

Interaction between location and cultivar were detected and, therefore, statistics for each site were analyzed separately.

Acorn Squash--Rock Springs,PA

Acorn squash were harvested on August 30 and September 3 and 7, 2010, and September 21, 2011.

Marketable and Unmarketable Yields

In 2010, 'Harlequin' and 'Celebration' produced higher numbers of marketable fruit than 'Tay Belle'. All other cultivars produced fruit numbers not different than 'Tay Belle'.

In terms of marketable fruit weight, 'Autumn Delight', 'Harlequin', 'Table Star' and 'Jet' were not different from 'Tay Belle'. The fruit weight of all other cultivars was lower than 'Tay Belle'.

'Table Star' produced more culls in terms of number and weight than all other cultivars which were not different from each other.

In 2011, 'Celebration', 'Harlequin' and 'Table Star' produced a larger number and 'Jet' a smaller number of marketable fruit than 'Tay Belle'. All other cultivars produced fruit numbers that were not different than 'Tay Belle'.

'Table Treat', 'Honey Bear' and 'Jet' produced lower marketable yields by weight than 'Tay Belle'. All other cultivars produced marketable yields by weight not different than 'Tay Belle'.

Unmarketable yields were very low. 'Jet' produced higher unmarketable yields in terms of number and weight than 'Tay Belle' which was not different than any other cultivar evaluated.

Acorn Squash--Landisville, PA

Marketable and Unmarketable Yields

In 2010, 'Harlequin', 'Table Star', 'Celebration' and 'Honey Bear' produced more marketable fruit than 'Tay Belle'. The remaining cultivars produced fruit numbers not different than 'Tay Belle'.

'Jet' marketable yield by weight was higher than from 'Tay Belle'. 'Autumn Delight' fruit weight was not different than from 'Tay Belle'. Fruit weight from the remaining cultivars was less than from 'Tay Belle'.

'Tay Belle', 'Harlequin', 'Honey Bear' and 'Tip Top' produced the largest number of culls. Culls from the remaining cultivars were fewer than from 'Tay Belle'. By weight, 'Tay Belle' produced the highest amount of culls of all cultivars.

In 2011, 'Table Star' produced higher and 'Jet' lower marketable yields in terms of number than 'Tay Belle'. Only 'Jet' produced lower marketable yields in terms of numbers to 'Tay Belle'. All other cultivars produced marketable yields by number not different than 'Tay Belle'.

'Table Star' produced higher and 'Table Queen' and 'Honey Bear' lower marketable yields in terms of weight than 'Tay Belle'. All other cultivars produced marketable yields by weight not different than 'Tay Belle'.

The number of unmarketable fruit produced by 'Table Queen' was not different than 'Tay Belle' which produced a higher number of unmarketable fruit than all other cultivars. Unmarketable yield by weight produced by 'Table Queen' and 'Jet' was not different than from 'Tay Belle' which produced higher unmarketable yield by weight than all other cultivars.

Acorn Squash--Valencia, PA

Acorn squash were harvested on September 27, 2011.

Marketable and Unmarketable Yields

In 2011, no statistical differences were seen in marketable or unmarketable yields.

Recommendations

Organic System

'Celebration', 'Jet', 'REBA' and 'Tip Top' performed better than or as well as 'Table Queen'.

Conventional System

'Autumn Delight' and 'Table Star' performed better than or as well as 'Tay Belle'. Additionally, 'Celebration' produced high numbers of fruit that was smaller than 'Tay Belle'. However, the fruit was very ornamental with green, white and yellow coloring, as well as edible. Depending on market demand, it may have a place.

Personnel: Elsa Sanchez, Tim Elkner, Emelie Swackhammer

Authors

Sustainable vegetable systems Organic vegetable systems Field vegetable production systems High tunnel vegetable production systems

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