CERTIFIED ORGANIC (F1 HYBRID)
BREEDER: M. MAZOUREK
A zero-waste squash. This multipurpose delicata was bred for flavor four ways: immature fruit, young stems, blossoms and mature squash. 50 days for immature squash; 100 days for mature.
Each Tetra seed sold supports public plant breeding research at Cornell University. The creation of this variety was funded in part by a USDA-NIFA grant.
This experimental squash was inspired by a walk through the field, many Octobers ago. On the horizon: rows of delicata plants bearing still-green fruit, with no time to mature before the frost. Usually, these immature fruit simply go to waste, but in this case, they sparked a culinary epiphany.
Vegetable breeder Michael Mazourek decided to develop a delicata for multipurpose use, with chefs co-selecting for flavor in both the immature and mature fruit. Picked green, the immature delicata create a delicious new category of summer squash, noteworthy for its delicate crunch. And the mature fruit stand out for their sweet and tender flesh.
With zero waste as the end goal, more experimentation soon followed. Inspired by traditional uses of Cucurbita pepo stems and leaves across cuisines, Michael continued selecting for sweeter, less fibrous petiole stems. The blossoms are also edible, encouraging a truly stem-to-fruit approach for chefs, growers and eaters.
Our Tetra seeds were produced in CA and NY. We kindly request that those wishing to propagate or breed with these seeds for commercial purposes obtain a license from the breeder.
Days to Maturity
50 days for immature squash; 100 days for mature
— Immature squash: 3-4" long green fruit (before striping develops)
— Stems: 1/2" diameter (penne size)
— Mature squash: 5-7" long deep yellow fruit with orange/green stripes
— Soil Requirements: Fertile, well-drained soils.
— Row Covers: Cover young plants to increase early growth and protect from insect pests. Remove covers at flowering to ensure pollination and fruit set.
— Plant Support: Trellising encouraged in intensive systems. Semi-bush (initially bush, develops vines later in season).
— To prioritize harvest of immature fruit and stems, we recommend growing Tetra alongside other summer cucurbits. Consider succession planting as you would summer squash.
— To prioritize mature fruit harvest, plant with winter squash and stop picking immature squash after 2-3 weeks.
Spacing After Thinning/Transplanting
— Plant spacing: 24”
— Row spacing: 7’
— Sow seeds ½” deep after last frost, when soil temperatures reach at least 70˚F.
— Sow 1-2 seeds every 24”; thin to one plant every 24”.
— 6-12 days to emergence.
— Start seeds indoors 2-3 weeks before last frost. Sow seeds ½” deep. Optimal soil temperature for germination is 80-90˚F.
— Harden off gradually for 3-5 days, protecting seedlings from wind, strong sun, hard rain and cold.
— Transplant outdoors after last frost, when soil temperatures reach at least 70˚F. Do not disturb roots when transplanting.
Pest + Disease Info
— Insect Pests: Cucumber beetles, squash bugs, and aphids. Pyrethrin, spinosad, soaps, row cover, or Blue Hubbard trap crops help prevent damage. Check undersides of leaves for eggs. Use best management practices such as crop rotation and removal of crop debris post-harvest to deter insect population growth.
— Diseases: Protect from powdery mildew. For fruit rots (anthracnose, scab, fusarium), bacterial wilt, and viruses such as cucumber mosaic virus, maintain good air circulation and schedule watering to allow plants to dry fully.
— Immature squash: Harvest immature green fruit at 3-4”, before striping develops. Pick regularly for continued production. Expect 4+ weeks of consistent picking. For a mature squash harvest, stop picking immature fruit after 2-3 weeks.
— Stems: Harvest bright green, ½”-diameter stems from the center of the plant. Do not harvest more than a third of the stems at one time.
— Blossoms: Harvest male blossoms (stem only, no small fruit attached) prior to opening. Cut stem 1” below the blossom.
— Mature squash: Harvest when fruit have turned deep yellow with orange/green stripes.
— Immature squash: Immature Tetra store up to five days maintaining texture and flavor. Store whole and dry under plastic in refrigeration.
— Stems: Unpeeled stems can be stored in a lidded container lined with a damp paper towel for 3-5 days.
— Blossoms will store 1-2 days in a lidded container lined with a damp paper towel.
— Mature squash: Mature Tetra store 1-2 months without curing. Keep fruit clean and avoid scratching or scuffing to prevent post-harvest rot.
Seed Specs 400 seeds/ounce, 6,500 seeds/pound