The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Blue hubbard squash

Winter squash

One of our first years on the farm, Mark and I grew several different kinds of winter squash and settled on butternuts as both the tastiest and the most pest-and-disease-resistant variety.  Ever since, we've been a purely butternut farm.

Movie-star pumpkinsBut I love trying new things.  So when my movie-star neighbor offered me some of his homegrown squashes, I had to give them a try.  I've yet to cut into the pie pumpkin  he gave me, but I cooked up the blue hubbard into a pie Sunday, and it was one of the best I've ever eaten.

Will we start growing hubbard squash as a result?  Well, there are several factors to consider.  If you're a seed saver, you have to think long and hard before adding new squash varieties to your garden, but it turns out that blue hubbards wouldn't be very tough for us to integrate.  Butternuts are Cucurbita moschata, summer squash are Cucurbita pepo, and blue hubbard is Cucurbita maxima, so I could grow all three in the same garden without worrying about crosses.  (However, if you're more of a pumpkin person, some pumpkins do cross with blue hubbard, as do winter marrow, turban squash, and banana squash).

Blue Hubbard squash

On the other hand, since we use variety selection as our first line of defense against squash vine borers, we probably should skip the hubbards.  Butternuts are among the most resistant to vine borer damage, but hubbards are so beloved by the insects that they are sometimes used as a trap crop alongside rows of other types of squash.  Another downside of hubbards compared to butternuts is that the hubbards are big --- even the smallest in my neighbor's collection had enough flesh for 2.5 pies, and our small family does better with the more minuscule butternut.

And, to be honest, I think the reason our hubbard pie was so delicious is because I added extra honey since the squash flesh wasn't as sweet as the butternuts I'm more used to.  You can read my original butternut pie recipe here, and this is the new ingredient list we've developed over the years:

Squash pieCrust:

  • 0.5 cups flour
  • 0.5 cups cocoa
  • 0.25 cups sugar
  • 0.5 teaspoons salt
  • 7 tablespoons butter
  • a bit of water


  • 2 cups baked winter squash flesh
  • 1.5 cups evaporated milk powder
  • 1.25 cups water
  • 0.5 cups of honey (or add two tablespoons to that for a sweeter pie)
  • 0.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 0.5 teaspoons allspice
  • 0.25 teaspoons ginger
  • 2 eggs

Click on the link above for preparation instructions, and enjoy!

Now's a great time to get ready for a spring crop of chickens with an EZ Miser kit.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I was just given a squash, and i wish I could show you a photo of it - it is very beautiful, but I cant find anything like it online, and I would like to identify it. The old guy at the feed store begged me to give him some seeds- it is evidently some heritage variety and becoming hard to find. The guy who gave it to me called it "chimayo", the old guy at the feed store called it " calabasas". Its large, globular, with a slight point on top, ( like, teardrop shape) green, white, and orange stiped. Maybe the closest i can find is cushaw, which, depending on who you ask, is either moschata or mixta... But I am not sure it is really a cushaw. I usually plant butternuts, zucchini, and pie pumpkins, so i would like to know what this is so I can keep it separate. It sure is pretty though.
Comment by Deb Wed Oct 16 05:57:28 2013
Deb --- I usually use to ID things if I don't have a relevant book. Once you find out exactly what you have, Seed to Seed has a great list of which squashes are in which species. Good luck!
Comment by anna Wed Oct 16 17:55:55 2013

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