There are no zucchini plants in the Dirt to Dinner garden, for reasons that will be obvious to you by August, if they aren’t already. ;-) Instead I’ve been trying to learn more about the squash varieties we do have going. For instance, did you know that the ‘pumpkin’ you buy canned to make into pumpkin pie is actually a squash that is most closely related to Butternut? I’m loving all the details available at Watch Your Garden Grow, from the University of Illinois Extension. It even includes recipes!
So far, the most vigorous grower we have out in the garden is the Spaghetti Squash which we are hoping to convince to grow up the trellis we have so generously provided just for this purpose. Unfortunately, the plants have designs on the wide open spaces in front of them and keep growing away from the trellis which backs up against theshade of the bushes that edge the garden. We could actually consider relocating the trellis, but there are still carrots and big white Icicle Radishes growing where it would need to go. Note for next year: Squash trellises need to be on the sunny side of the squash plants.
At least the mystery squash seems happy to give it a try. Though, in my heart of hearts, I’m worried that this might actually be a cantaloupe plant of some kind. I’m not actually sure how to tell the difference. If it has big triangular leaves with spiny stems and sends out those little twisty tendrils that cling onto other plants and –hopefully–trellis netting, it could be anything from a Delicata to a cucumber as far as I can tell right now. I better go back to my website on growing squash to see how much more I can pick up.
These guys I am pretty sure really are Delicata. They are a Compact Winter Squash from Renee’s Garden that gets great reviews for growing well and tasting a lot like sweet potatoes, which most of the kids are happy to eat. I took this picture just before I thinned them down to the recommended “2 strongest plants per hill.” I could have carefully pricked out the extra plants and moved them to a sunny spot so we could see exactly how much difference the sunlight would make, but it’s starting to feel like there’s an awful lot of squash growing around here. There are eight of the compact Winter squash plants left after thinning, half Delicata and half Early Butternut. There are at least twenty plants representing the dozen different varieties mixed into the Zucche in Miscuglio we got from Grow Italian with names like Tonda Padana, Serpente Di Sicilia and Berrettina Piacentina.
And, not to worry, it’s not *all* Winter squash. There are two Summer squash plants that I know of in the garden. They are Golden Scallopini Bush squash from Seeds of Change. It’s a rare native American cultivare that predates Columbus. And it makes small 3-6″ squash with a flying saucer shape that I hope will appeal to the kids.
I grow heirloom veggies because I want to save the seeds…Ok, so I am cheap and admit it. I just don’t like buying the same seeds year after year. This year I am going to plant Black Futso winter squash and Tonda Padna. They both have great reviews all over the web. My Paul Robison tomatoes are starting to sprout. I grew them a few years back when we had a horrible summer and only 1 plant made it. The tomatoes from it were awesome. However, I ate them all and didn’t save any seeds, thinking the plant would make more. Then a cold spell hit and it’s tomatoes didn’t fully ripen. We’ll see what happens. I also have other heirloom tomatoes for “back up” if the Paul Robison don’t make it! (mom didn’t raise a dummy!) Lol!
Thanks for posting about where you got some of your seeds. I’m planning on using heirloom seeds next spring (and maybe for autumn). I think that pre-Columbus squash is really cool! I can’t wait to hear how it tastes, too.