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Cocozelle Zucchini Summer Squash

Cocozelle Zucchini Summer Squash

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Cucurbita pepo

55 days —  Also known as 'Cocozella di Napoli', this Italian heirloom has not only become a garden staple, it was also a parent to enough newer named varieties that it is now a category of Cucurbita pepo.[2] The plants are bush-type producing long cylindrical zucchini fruit that are dark green colored and striped in lighter green. Their flesh is greenish white and firm. Although we prefer to harvest the fruit when they are about eight to ten inches in length, Vilmorin-Andrieux (1883)[1] reported:
"All through Italy . . . the fruit is eaten quite young, when it is hardly the size of a cucumber, sometimes even before the flower has opened, when the ovary, which is scarcely as long or as thick as the finger, is gathered for use. The plants, thus deprived of their undeveloped fruit, continue to flower for several months most profusely . . ."
In searching the archive, it appears that W. Atlee Burpee gets the credit for introducing 'Cocozelle' summer squash to North American gardeners in 1890.[3] Within merely two to three years, nearly every seed catalogue began carrying it. Each packet contains four grams, which is approximately 26 to 28 seeds.
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Planting Instructions: Choose a location that has warm, well-drained and fertile soil. Work in plenty of organic matter and mulch to conserve moisture.

Sow directly into the garden after any threat of frost has past. Sow one inch deep in hills or rows spaced 24 to 30 inches apart.

Harvest when the fruit is six to eight inches long or still tender. Harvest will be lengthened if you keep picking. Informational Resources:
  1. "Les Plantes Potagères," Vilmorin-Andrieux & Cie., 1883, page 182.
  2. "The Compleat Squash: A Passionate Grower’s Guide to Pumpkins, Squashes, and Gourds," by Amy Goldman, Workman Publishing, New York, NY, 2005, page 146.
  3. "Burpee's Novelties for 1890," W. Atlee Burpee & Co., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1890, page 25.