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Sweet Meat rot

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  • Sweet Meat rot

    Click image for larger version  Name:	sweetmeatblackrot.JPG Views:	0 Size:	102.4 KB ID:	13590
    This is one of my stored Sweet Meat winter squashes. First time I have grown this variety. And I was pleased about this hefty specimen which was the largest of them. As they are stored on the shelf in the bedroom, they get inspected daily and all looked well until yesterday when I noticed a slight change of colour on the top next to the rest of the stem on just one side. The change of colour on the top is much more visible today when I took the photo.

    Nothing was weeping, but when I cut into it, there was this strange, black, dry rot. We are used to weeping messes when squash goes off, but this dry rot is new to me. Fortunately there is plenty to rescue and freeze as the rot only extends to maybe a tenth of the squash, but I have never seen this before in decades of squash storing.

    Does anybody know what this is and how it is caused? It must have been going on for some time under the rind, but without any outward signs.

  • #2
    I'm sorry this happened to your prize specimen. Looks like it may be fungal black rot caused by Didymella bryoniae.



    • triffid
      triffid commented
      Editing a comment
      Do you think harvesting the fruit earlier would have much effect on the eating quality? Hopefully a tile or some form of barrier between soil and fruit would be enough to curtail the ingress of disease.
      By the way, have you eaten any of them yet?

    • Galina
      Galina commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes I have triffid. Nice dry flesh and very sweet. We treated ourselves to some venison goulash yesterday (venison is plentiful here and not expensive) cooked in the slow cooker and with chunks of Sweet Meat added. They did not fall apart and the combination tasted divine. The flavour is unaffected by the rot. Clearly I remove all of it carefully beforehand. No off odors or flavours thankfully. Where we used to live, I often harvested almost immature squashes, because we sometimes used to get light frosts in June and it took winter squashes forever to get going. So often they were harvested barely full size and have always stored well and after storing tasted good. Taking them off earlier does not seem to be a stretch, because this is what I effectively have been doing. Just have to learn what works for here with more intense summers and accelerated growth and maturity. I will also try tiles, or rather small patio slabs.

    • triffid
      triffid commented
      Editing a comment
      That dish sounds absolutely delicious. I'm glad the Sweet Meat turned out well. I must try them in some kind of red meat casserole or stew. Perfect for the nippy weather.
      Good to know that winter squashes can be harvested early to finish curing in storage, with no ill effects.
      Would be useful to get them out of the way to make room for another crop before it gets too late in the season.

  • #3
    The others are still fine and developing a pink hue as storage colour. We have eaten a couple since, none had the same rot thankfully.

    Click image for larger version

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    • Jang
      Jang commented
      Editing a comment
      That’s good. Much excellent eating in store! They all look very sound and promising.

      We ate my one successfully hand pollinated squash (hoping) a week ago. It was grown as Crown Prince and looked quite like the large blueish squash on the right of your picture. (Is that Sweet Meat in fact?) Lots of promising plump white seeds and high quality flesh for curries, soup, stir-fries and stews.
      Interested to see what the seeds produce as there’s some doubt, as you pointed out, Galina, as to whether Crown Prince is a hybrid. Not to mention a twinge of lack of confidence in my hand pollination!

  • #4
    I also always have that same twinge. Just one of those things. Especially with squashes. The trouble is that they are naturally more diverse than other vegetables and you cannot always be quite sure whether a handpollination was correct and the resulting fruit is a bit 'diverse' or whether it is actually a cross. A case in point are the two green Buttercups in the photo. Left bottom and left top. Commercial seed, after a long time I found bush buttercup Discus, but what I got was these huge buttercups on a long vine. A second plant had normal sized fruit and shorter, but still 3m long vines. I handpollinated one of those by chance, but might have used pollen from the doubtful types. So my whole handpollination may be invalid. Given the vigor of the vines and the bigger fruit, they could be an F1 cross. A cross that would in this instance have occurred at the seed company. Not one for the seed circle until I grow a test crop.

    As you can see, I have used up a lot of really ancient seeds that I had hand pollinated myself of these white marrows. And ended up with ten plants and what seems like half a ton of courgettes in chunks in the freezer. Almost all were the size and shape of the ones in the photo, but a couple produced slightly shorter fruit and with pale beige rock hard skin. None of them in the photo. Was that a handpollination problem or an inherent variation. I am glad that my handpollinated fruit was the right type and pollen from the right type. You are not supposed to always self the plants to avert any slight inbreeding depression that squashes do suffer from, although that would be the safest way. One thing that I certainly learned from my early handpollinations is only do one type of the same species. The couple of plants that were 'diverse' could have been because of pollen still dusted on my fingers from another c pepo handpollination that morning.

    Finally to answer your question, centre and bottom right are Sweet Meats, the one in the centre is now quite grey pink. They differ in size and shape slightly too, the centre one being strawberry shaped and the others were round, but I think this may be cultural. They all have the brown markings. So yes, the doubts are well known here too.

    Looking forward to seeing what your seeds produce. Glad that your crown prince tastes nice with a lot of good eating. And do trust in your handpollination. At the very worst a few grains of other pollen made it into the flower and that still means a lot of right seeds.
    Last edited by Galina; 20-02-2021, 07:49.