Journal Articles

Yield and Quality Response of Spaghetti Squash (Cucurbita pepo) Cultivars Grown in the Southeastern United States

November 18, 2014

Yield and Quality Response of  Spaghetti Squash (Cucurbita pepo) Cultivars Grown in the Southeastern United States. Cucerbitaceae 2014 Proceedings., Jonathan r. Schultheis1*, Travis E. Birdsell2, And Penelooe Perkins-veazie3, 1Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, 2721 Founders Drive, Raleigh, NC 27695-7609, USA, 2134 Ashe County Center, Government Circle, Suite 202, Jefferson, NC 28640, USA, 3Plants for Human Health Institute, Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina Research Campus, North Carolina State University, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA

AbstrAct. New opportunities due to the local food movement have created increased interest in “locally grown” specialty
crops like spaghetti squash in the southeastern US. The goal of this study was to evaluate several cultivars of spaghetti
squash to determine their adaptation to the growing environment in the southeastern United States, especially yield
and fruit quality among cultivars. The test was conducted in Laurel Springs, in western North Carolina. The study
was arranged as a randomized complete block design with four replications and eight cultivars. Cultivars were direct
seeded on 6 June 2013 on black plastic mulch with drip irrigation, followed by three harvests at 83, 90, and 104 days
after planting. Plants were spaced 0.61 m in-row with 3.04 m between row centers. Growing conditions were challenging
since there was over 100 cm rainfall during the growing season. The cultivar that yielded the most tonnage
(35.8 Mg∙ha-1) and fruit number (39,540 fruit∙ha-1) was ‘Unique’. The next highest yielding cultivars were Stripetti
and Trifetti, while the lowest yielding cultivars were ‘Small Wonder’ and ‘Tivoli’. ‘Unique’ had a small fruit size that
averaged 0.9 kg and had an orange yellow flesh, while the largest fruit size of 2.2 kg was produced from ‘Trifetti’ which
had the traditional pale yellow or off white flesh. Average flesh thickness was greatest for ‘Trifetti’ (32.3 mm) while
the thinnest flesh was obtained with ‘Unique’ (26.2 mm). ‘Unique’ had the highest lutein (0.2 mg/100 g fwt) content,
and pro vitamin a compounds alpha carotene (0.1 mg/100 g fwt), and beta carotene (1.1 mg/100 g fwt) when compared
with the other cultivars.

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