Prairie Garden Seeds
Message Board


Last Word


Family Matters

West Indian Gherkin
Squash and pumpkins

Vine Crops


(Cucumis sativus) – NORTHERN PICKLING is a very early variety that gives a good yield of long slim dilling size cukes. EARLY RUSSIAN is a short season pickling cuke. I found it offered by Hovey & Co. in 1854. I also have an 1875 catalogue from Ewing Brothers of Montreal which gives the following information: early and hardy, small, 20 cents per ounce, 5 cents per packet. BUSH PICKLE produces short fruits on very dwarf plants. BUSH CROP produces mid-long cukes on somewhat compact plants.
STRAIGHT EIGHT (AAS 1935) has been grown here as far back as I can remember. The fruits are very slow to get overripe. A long green slicer of very good eating quality.
GREEN RIDGE has fruits slightly longer than Straight Eight. I got the seed from Europe over a decade ago but I know nothing about its history. TANTE ALICE cucumber comes from Mme Alice Gosselin of Dorchester, QC. She was born in 1910 and grew it for many years. It produces long good-looking fruits.
LEMON (1894) has short oval lemon-yellow fruit with black spines. Flesh is white, crisp and mild. I am offering three white cucumbers this year. MINIATURE WHITE (C) produces small sweet fruits for fresh eating or pickling. LANDIS WHITE has larger fruits which turn yellow when fully ripe. An heirloom from Pennsylvania. BOOTHBY'S BLOND, an heirloom variety from Maine, produces crisp medium sized slicers of a yellowy cream colour.

Northern Pickling, Early Russian 4g @ $3.00
Other varieties: about 3 dozen seeds @ $3.00


(Cucumis anguria) Related to cucumbers and melons but will not cross with either of them. The very sprawling plants look somewhat like watermelons and produce dozens of spiny, green, seedy, 1”- 2" diameter fruits. The fruits must be picked immature, when the spines are still soft, and can be pickled or used in salads.

Packet (about 3 dozen seeds) @ $3.00


(Cucumis melo) The earliest muskmelon I know is BOUGHEM. It is a week to ten days earlier than Farnorth. It has large oval fruits, which are mild-flavoured, soft, and unfortunately very non-uniform. The seed apparently came from Russia and has been in our family since the 1930’s. ALTAI is a heavy yielding melon from the former Soviet Union, about as early as Boughem. The large, almost round fruits are mild-flavoured. My family used to grow FARNORTH, back in the 1950’s I believe, but it seemed to fall out of favour with the seed companies. The round fruits are small, about baseball size, but the orange flesh is good and they are fairly early. DELICIOUS is a bit later here but it is a commercial quality melon with thick flavourful orange flesh.
EARLY BLACK ROCK (Noir des Carmes) is an heirloom French melon (from before 1880) with slightly flattened, ribbed smooth fruits. The very dark green, almost black, skin starts turning orange at maturity. The 2-3 lb fruits have quality dark orange flesh.

Packet (about 50 seeds) @ $3.00


(Citrullus vulgaris) SUGAR BABY (1956) is quite early and produces 4-8 lb. fruits. SWEET SIBERIAN is an oler watermelon from Russia. The oblong dark green fruits with yellow flesh can reach 8—10 lbs. BOZEMAN MELON is larger than Sugar Baby with oval fruits. Comes from Bozeman, Montana.

Packet (about 3 dozen seeds) @ $3.00


(Citrullus vulgaris) Fruit looks like a watermelon, is not eaten raw but is preserved or candied. I am offering both RED-SEEDED and GREEN-SEEDED varieties.

Packet (about 2 dozen seeds) @ $3.00


I am grouping these crops according to their botanical
names. This is for the convenience of those who save their own seeds as the members of one group will cross with each other but not with any members of the other group.

CUCURBITA MAXIMA: Our earliest variety is GOLD NUGGET (AAS 1966), an orange-fleshed squash with softball sized fruit from North Dakota State University (NDSU). It is a bush squash, producing 5 or 6 fruits per plant. The fruit should keep 3 to 4 months. Our favourite squash is BUTTERCUP(NDSU, 1932) , the dark green squash with the bump on the bottom. The flesh is thick, dry and sweet. BLACK FOREST is a newer squash that looks similar to Buttercup but it is smaller with a smaller bump on the bottom, and has very dry flesh.
BLUE BALLET is a medium sized grey green hubbard with fine textured sweet flesh.
RED KURI (HOKKAIDO) is a beautiful orange-red, teardrop-shaped hubbard from Japan. MANDAM has large orange fruits with sweet dry flesh and plump tasty seeds.
ROUGE VIF D'ETAMPES is the European pumpkin. Cinderella's coach was one of these large red-orange ribbed flattened fruits. In Europe pumpkins are used to make cream soup.

CUCURBITA PEPO: COSTATA ROMANESCO is a traditional Italian zucchini variety. The prominently ribbed striped grey green fruits have very good flavour. They are usually
picked when immature to use raw in salads, or in stir fries. YELLOW CROOKNECK is a
summer squash dating back to the early 1800's. The bushy plants produce curved fruits with a bulbous blossom end. The light yellow fruits are smooth when young, warted when mature. ROUND ZUCCHINI has bush plants and produces round fruits which you harvest when immature.
VEGETABLE SPAGHETTI is about as early as Gold Nugget. The flesh is yellow and sweet, and comes out in strings. Boil or bake, remove the flesh and serve with spaghetti sauce.
ACORN squash produces large numbers of small to medium, dark-green ribbed fruits.
Flesh is yellow and sweet. Best if eaten within three months of harvest.
The standard pie pumpkin is SUGAR PUMPKIN (1860). The fruits are round and bright
orange, and most are in the 4-5 lb. range. The roasted seeds make good snack food.
YOUNG'S BEAUTY is very similar to Sugar but many fruits weigh 10-12 lbs.
NAKED-SEEDED PUMPKIN has 8-12 lb. well-shaped yellow-green fruits with strong stems. The large dark green seeds are completely hulless.

CUCURBITA MOSCHATA: WALTHAM BUTTERNUT (AAS 1970) is a winter squash with dry sweet yellow-orange flesh and a small seed cavity. The tan fruits are cylindrical with an enlarged blossom end.

All squash and pumpkins: about 2 dozen seeds @ $3.00


gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) is a miniature version of the bottle gourd with 4”-6” fruits. Long season required for mature fruits so perhaps you might start these in peat pots.


(Cucumis africanus) is a cucumber relative that produces 2” striped spiny fruits. They are decorative mixed with gourds but do not have a hard shell and only keep a couple months.

Above three varieties: Packet @ $3.00

Beans, Peas & other Pulse Crops | Corn | Grain & Seed Crops | Leaf Vegetables
Root Vegetables | Tomato Family | Vine Crops | Flowers and Decorative Plants | Home