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Patty Pan Squash - Growing the Flying Saucer Shaped Patty Pan Squash

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Patty Pan Squash

This squash was simply labeled 'Patty Pan'. It was delicious.

Photo: © Marie Iannotti

Overview:

Patty pan or scallop squash is a tender summer squash, like zucchini or yellow squash. The scalloped flying saucer shape makes them a bit of a novelty and a little difficult to figure out how to slice, but they cook and eat much like any other summer squash. Kids are sometimes more tempted to try them, because of their fun shape. You can begin to eat them when they are only a couple of inches in diameter, making them perfect for individual serving.

Latin Name:

Cucurbita pepo One of many summer squashes in this species.

Common Name:

Patty Pan Squash, Scallop Squash

Exposure:

Size:

Vines that grow about 2-3' in height, with a spread of about 3-5'. Most patty pan have a semi-bush growth habit. The fruits can start to be picked when they are about 2" in diameter up to about 4". Fruits weigh less than 1 pound.

Days to Harvest

45 - 70 days.

Description:

Patty pan squash look like balls with flattened, scalloped edges. They can be almost white, green, yellow or some combination.

Leaves: Lobed and somewhat scratchy.

Flowers: Flowers are yellow and edible. They are often left on smaller fruits.

Suggested Varieties:

  • ‘Patty Pan/Scallop’ - An unnamed, usually pale green and dependable choice.

  • ‘Flying Saucer’ - Green centers with a ring of yellow. Dense fruits with a nutty flavor.

  • ‘Pattison Panache’ - A pale green French heirloom. Best picked young.

  • ‘Sunburst’ - A former All America Selection. Bright yellow and very tender, especially when picked young.

Pests & Problems:

  • Cucumber beetles feed on seedlings and mature leaves, blossoms and fruits. They can also spread bacterial wilt and mosaic virus. They will overwinter nearby and can produce several generations per season. Rotate crops!

  • Squash bugs feed on leaves. Although they prefer winter squash, an infestation can easily kill young vines.

  • Squash vine borer larvae bore into the base of the stem and feed their until mature, cutting off the vine circulation.

Growing Tips:

Soil:Patty pan squash does best in a rich, well drained soil and plenty of sun. Patty pan will grow in most good soils, but prefers asoil pH that is slightly acidic, about 6.1 to 6.5.

Planting:Summer squash basically grows itself. Wait until the soil has warmed and then direct seed in the garden.

Plant seeds ½ - 1" deep. Squash is often planted in hills or clusters, with 2 -3 seeds per hill spaced 2 -3' apart. Hills can be thinned to 1 -2 plants, once the seedlings are 2 -3" tall.

If planting in rows, space plants 8 - 10" apart, with 3' between rows. Give your plants plenty of room to roam. Although patty pan vines aren’t as long as some squash vines, they can still spread 4-6'.

A second planting in mid-summer will keep your garden producing into fall. Early plants can become exhausted because of heavy fruit set.

Squash plants have both male and female blossoms and they both must be present at the same time for pollination to occur. Having multiple plants with multiple blossoms will increase the chance of pollination.

Maintenance:

Keep the vines well watered, especially when in bloom and producing.

Mulching helps keep the shallow root system cool and moist.

Side dress with compost or fertilize every 4 weeks, while producing squash. The greatest maintenance will be checking your summer squash daily, as summer squash can reach harvest size within 4 days of flowering.

Preparing Patty Pan

The odd shape can confound cooks. You can avoid the whole idea of how to slice patty pan squash and cook them whole. Whole patty pans can be steamed over boiling water until tender, about 4 - 6 minutes, depending on size.

You can also roast patty pans, although they cook more evenly if you slice them in half first. Place the pieces on a baking sheet and roast on the top rack for about 10 - 15 minutes at 420 degrees F., until tender. You can coat with olive oil or butter and season to taste before hand, if you so choose.

If you want to be brave and slice your patty pans, feel free to slice them anyway you like. You can slice through the diameter, dice them into chunks or simply scoop out the cooked flesh. There’s no right or wrong.

Patty pan squash also make great little edible serving bowls. Scoop out the centers, either before or after cooking, and fill with a stuffing of your choice.

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