Crookneck Squash Variety
We have a small church garden in which we grow vegetable's for 3 to 4 of our local pantries and we had some trouble with our crookneck squash variety last summer being susceptible to disease and the squash bug itself. I was hoping you could turn us on to a favored variety for our area that might be a bit more resistant to both disease and insects? Or even a pest management practice that might help us when battling the notorious squash bug. Thanks Mark Jacobs for Gods Garden (St.Mary's of the Woods) Kalkaska Mi.
Kalkaska County Michigan
Summer and winter squashes from the species Cucurbita maxima and Cucurbita pepo are a squash bug's favorite food. There are no resistant varieties that I know of in that crop group. Butternut squashes (Cucurbita moschata) are more resistant to squash bugs, and can also be enjoyed as an immature "green" fruit, just like a zucchini or yellow squash. The flavor is a little different, and with less of a watery texture. They are not often bred for this purpose, so your mileage may vary with the standard varieties out there. The large Tromboncino squash is one variety of butternut bred for "green" harvest, but it can also be left to ripen into an orange-fleshed winter squash like a butternut.
Fall tillage can also help with squash bug. The squash bugs burrow into the soil as adults and you can dislodge them from their prefered depth with tillage. This can bring them to the soil surface where they dry out, freeze, or are eaten by birds.
There are a lot of disease-resistant options out there for all squashes. But first you need to know which disease you are fighting. I suspect you're probably dealing with powdery mildew. Good seed catalogs will often use codes to describe disease resistant traits. For example, this variety, Golden Glory, is resistant to powdery mildew (PM), watermelon mosaic virus (WMV) and zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV). https://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/squash/golden-glory-f1-squash-seed-3837.html?cgid=squash#start=1
Keep an eye out for things like that when choosing your varieties. They are not necessarily bullet-proof, but can withstand more disease pressure that others. My colleague at Cornell tries to go through as many seed catalogs as possible to record which varieties are being sold with disease resistance. You can check them all out here. Note each of these is an Excel spreadsheet that will be downloaded to your computer. http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/Tables/TableList.htm
Some of the crookneck and semi-crookneck yellow summer squash varieties in her spreadsheet with resistance to powdery mildew include Delta, Fancycrook, Gold Star, and Golden Girl.