Canada Crookneck Squash: Allocating Energy

The biggest little squash, awaiting bees.

The biggest little squash, awaiting bees.

The Canada Crookneck might be my favorite plant in the summer garden. It will — hopefully — produce large winter squash similar to butternut but sweeter, with a large curved neck, as the name suggests. The seeds come from Coggeshall Farm Museum, a Rhode Island operation that produces rare and heirloom seeds (I found a packet on sale at a historic house in Massachusetts).

Most of the plants are still growing (quickly, dramatically!) and budding, but the tip of the vine pictured here was mysteriously broken off, maybe during a recent storm. Unable to grow outward, the vine responded by investing all its energy into one female blossom and its associated fruit, which is now the size of a finger — at least three times bigger than the fruits on other vines.

People do this, too, sometimes by choice and sometimes by necessity. Writing projects are born as long “vines” that grow almost uncontrollably. At some point, you have to cut off that exploratory tendril and focus on the fruit, or you risk meandering unproductively.


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