Mandan x Lofthouse x Deppe summer squash project

I think the first example I heard of land race style breeding was in the Garden City Seeds catalogue. It was a flour corn called painted mountain. A fellow had spent 20 years at the time breeding it from lots of corn varieties. I read Gary Paul Nabhan’s book Enduring Seeds which includes a story about traveling to North Dakota and rematriating some seeds from the seed savers exchange back in the 80’s. Including the history of the Oscar H. Will seed company. I’ve been collecting varieties from the three tribes of the upper Missouri ever since. So a few years ago I got seed from Sandhill preservation center of Mandan pepo squash. It’s a great short season squash. I can grow it seed to seed in the frost pockets in my garden. I grew it a couple times for seed increase withoyt crossing it but with this project already in mind. I also got seed from Joseph’s pepo and I grew his Lofthouse crookneck for seed increase I think twice and put off starting this to keep that isolated. I read Carol Deppe’s books with interest and she also read Buffalo Bird Woman’s garden and was inspired. That inspiration led her to discover that Costato Romanesco, Zephyr F1, and yellow zucchinis taste good dried. She ultimately bred and OSSI pledged Goldini squash. So in 2021 I interplanted Lofthouse zucchini, Mandan, and Lofthouse Crookneck in my frost pocket garden. I only chose Mandan as the mother. I let the bees do the work. So in 2022 I replanted the seed from the 2021 Mandan squashes way too close together. I also planted Lofthouse zucchini and Lofthouse crookneck again because who knows how well the bees did their work? I then planted Zephyr F1 for its banded trait, Costato Romanesco, and Goldini. However the Goldini did not germinate or perhaps a rodent ate them. Fortunately I planted a second packet of Goldini 575 feet away in a separate garden. So next year they will return to the project.

Then because of my crowded planting the hybrids of Mandan x Lofthouse outcompeted most of their peers! So I got an awesome harvest of mostly hybrid squash. Which means that next year will be an amazing F2 + growout. Where we will see segregation back to zucchini and crook neck shapes but also crosses of crosses.


This is the project plus one tetsukabuto F1. There are Zephyr F1 in the back. A Lofthouse zucchini with white color in the middle, two Mandan squash that squeeked through uncrossed next to the zucchini, one Lofthouse crookneck in the lower left corner and then Mandan x Crookneck on the left and Mandan x Zucchini on the right.
This is the project plus one tetsukabuto.


This is fun! Have you tasted them? Have you tasted them dried?

I ran a zucchini through my dehydrator two years ago and it made the most delicious chips, I ate enough that when I drank a glass of water and rehydrated them my stomach hurt. That experience made me extra curious about what did or didn’t taste good dried – maybe I have different tastes than Carol Deppe – but I didn’t grow zucchini last year to test it out.

That mandan pepo squash seems pretty valuable up where I’m at. Seed to seed in frost pockets!

I have tasted some of them- The Mandan squash are a lot like Acorn fully ripe. I haven’t tried them dried yet. Dehydrator kept filling up with seeds.

Hm, like acorn isn’t encouraging. I wonder if some delicata date flavours could be worked into that?

You know, I’ve eaten my ripe squash both cooked and raw but I have never tried dehydrating that. It strikes me that would be a pretty useful semi-instant soup if it worked: just pop squash powder into some broth.

(Chuckles.) A bit off-topic, but in one of Carol Deppe’s books, she said something like, “You’re going to need a dehydrator to dry down seeds. They won’t get dry enough otherwise.”

I read that, and thought, “No, I don’t! I just stick them on a plate, and they’re bone dry in three days!”

The next sentence then read: “Unless, of course, you happen to live in a desert.”



Hm. Since I no longer live in a desert…

But at the moment my squishes :slight_smile: seem to be drying just fine.


Yeah, I imagine it has to do with average humidity in the air, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be a desert climate. I’m guessing you could have an average low humidity level while also getting average rainfall.

I do know that when I lived in Hong Kong as a teenager, nothing ever dried completely. Everything would mold or go soggy if you left it out for a day. I don’t miss that!

I live in a temperate rainforest, and I definitely need a dehydrator for squash seeds, at least if I’m drying them in the fall.

Once winter is underway and the heat is running, they dry eventually but I still have to remember to flip/stir the squash seeds once or twice a day until they’re finished. Still, it’s dryer here than where I lived in New Orleans. That is possibly more like the Hong Kong climate.


I’ve heard Virginia is like that, too. My family lived in Virginia when I was a baby, and I don’t remember it, but my parents do, and my mom said it was always humid, just like Hong Kong.

I vaguely recall and probably incorrectly that people might be looking for Carol Deppe’s Goldini squash. Somebody remind me. In any case, I ran across some this morning.

Wow i bought some of the fedco goldini a couple months ago, i forgot how many awesome aspects there are to this variety! I am even more excited to grow some now!

I planted a few seeds of Goldini a couple weeks ago, then couldn’t find my grex seed packets. So I finally found Mandan and stuck in a few seeds next to the Goldini which are up and growing. Haven’t lost the other seeds, just couldn’t find them at planting time.