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Cucurbita pepo
SQUASH-GREEN GEM-SOUTH AFRICAN is a unique round dark green summer squash that is known for its delicious flavour and beautiful green skin.  Easily grown in a sunny location, it is related to the butternut and is edible at all stages of its growth. Early gems are the size of golf balls, a full-size gem is about the size of a softball. They have a sweet flavor and can be cooked in a variety of ways.

Sow your gem squash in the sunniest spot in your garden particularly in colder climes, in rich, well-drained soil. Add some compost to the soil before sowing for best results & sow the seeds in rows, 2 cm deep and 1 m apart. Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged as this will cause the seeds to rot. Mulching is not necessary as the large leaves of the squash plant provide similar protection from moisture loss.

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How to Grow South African Gem Squash

  1. Soil Preparation before planting Green Gem-South African Squash, is important to grow a healthy crop.  The ideal soil for this type of squash is well-draining, and rich in organic matter.  With a pH of around 6.0 to 6.8.  Start by loosening the soil to a depth of about 30 cm (12 inches) using a garden fork or tiller. Then, mix in compost or well-rotted manure to improve the soil’s fertility and texture. Finally, rake the soil to create a smooth and level surface.
  2. Planting your Green Gem-South African Squash is a warm position as it requires plenty of sunlight and warm soil to germinate and grow. Wait until the soil temperature has reached around 21°C (70°F) before planting the seeds. You can plant the seeds directly into the garden bed or start them indoors about two to three weeks before the last frost date in your area. Plant the seeds about 2.5 cm (1 inch) deep and space them about 45 cm (18 inches) apart.
  3. Once the Squash seeds have germinated, it is important to provide them with proper care and maintenance. Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged, by watering the plants deeply once a week. Be careful not to wet the leaves, as this can lead to fungal diseases. You can also mulch around the plants to help retain moisture in the soil and prevent weed growth.
  4. Harvest your Green Gem-South African Squash when they are about 7.5 cm (3 inches) in diameter and have a bright green skin. Use a sharp knife or pruning shears to cut the stem about 2.5 cm (1 inch) above the fruit. Be sure to handle the fruit gently to avoid damaging the skin. The fruits should be harvested regularly to encourage continued growth and production.

In conclusion, growing Green Gem-South African Squash is a simple and rewarding experience that can yield delicious and nutritious fruits. Proper soil preparation, planting, care, and maintenance are essential for a successful harvest. With a little bit of effort and patience, you can enjoy the rich heritage and bountiful harvest of this unique summer squash.

Heritage of Green Gem Squash

Green Gem-South African Squash is a variety that was developed in South Africa in the early 1900s. It is a cross between a pattypan squash and a zucchini and was first introduced to the United States in the 1970s. Since then, it has become a popular variety among home gardeners all around the world due to its high yield and delicious flavour.

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Category Colour Guide
Planting Guide for Australia

Scoville Heat Units (SHU)

Plant Height (cm)

60 - 90

Season of Interest

Summer / Autumn

Temperature Range (°C)

20 - 30

Determine / Indeterminate

Annual / Perennial / Biennial


Frost Hardy / Tender


Full Sun / Part Sun / Shade

Full sun

Sow Direct / Raise Seedlings

Sow Direct


Well-draining soil, rich in organic matter


6.0 - 6.5

Soil Temperature (°C)

15 - 30

Seed Preparation

Soak seeds in water for 24 hours before sowing

Sowing Depth (mm)

2.5 - 5

Plant Spacing (cm)

60 - 90

Row spacing (cm)

1 - 1.5m


Consistent watering to keep soil evenly moist but not waterlogged

Germination Time (Days)

7 - 10

Harvest Time (Days)

60 - 70

Good Companion Plants

Beans, Corn, Peas, Radishes, Cucumbers, Melons

Bad Companion Plants

Brassicas (e.g. broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower), Tomatoes, Potatoes


Squash bug, Cucumber beetle, Spider mites, Vine borer


Powdery mildew, Downy mildew, Anthracnose, Root rot

More About Us

ABSeeds is an Australian owned business trading under the umbrella of Direct Compost Solutions which is owned and managed by Victoria Brun.

We as a company endeavor to provide to the public, Organic, Old Fashioned, Heritage, and Open-pollinated seeds that have not been genetically modified.

We purchased the business in November 2018 and renamed it to ABSeeds (All ‘Bout Seeds) to make the title shorter and represent what we hope to achieve with this business in the years ahead.

Seeds that we can’t grow ourselves we will acquire from people who grow for us, or we may purchase seeds from reputable heritage seed companies.

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