Sprouting Squash… From Inside a Squash

Seedlings germinating inside a squash

I’m a gourd hoarder. At the end of the summer, my kitchen is always full of summer squash and winter squash in different stages of maturity. I’ll store a couple on the counter, an armful in the pantry, some more in our laundry room… wherever I have an extra shelf for the various pattypans, butternuts, zucchini and pumpkins I’ve been growing all season.

Inevitably, a few will be forgotten… and this is what I discovered last week when I noticed an unusually wrinkly squash on the topmost shelf in my kitchen.

It reminds me of an awful movie called “The Ruins,” (seriously, don’t watch it) where predatory vines start growing from inside the main characters’ bodies. Except these are seedlings, having just pushed their way through the flesh of a cucurbit… a bit gruesome, if you think about it.

Summer squash with sprouted seedlings

It seems the right combination of warmth, humidity, and a slowly rotting squash created the perfect environment for the seeds to germinate. I can only imagine the nutrient-rich compost that’s been brewing for at least a month or two, as the squash started to decompose from the inside out.

Sadly, squash seedlings won’t survive a coastal winter in these parts, so I had to toss the whole thing in the compost heap… which means I will probably end up with a hundred seedlings in the spring.

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November 8 2013      36 comments     Linda Ly
Jardín   Verduras

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  • Rozzie Mistry

    Nature never fails to impress me with its will to adapt and survive!

  • joanne

    A couple years ago I put a Cinderella squash under a mandarin tree thinking it would provide compost during the winter. The following October we found a 20 lb. Cinderella squash nicely situated on a crotch of the mandarin tree. I appreciate how squash vines look hanging on a garden fence or from a tree — primitive little spots throughout the yard.

    • http://www.gardenbetty.com/ Linda Ly

      I throw lots of rotted squash and squash guts into our compost, but all I get are thousands of weedy little squash seedlings all over my garden beds in the spring! So tenacious they are.

  • Cary Bradley

    Beautiful! I once neglected a beautiful pumpkin on a marble topped table and damaged the surface. Be careful how long you leave those beasts unattended, is my humble advice ;).