Garden of Eatin' / Vegetables

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.

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring—all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »