The Summer of Squash

| 8/3/2010 1:32:19 PM

Tags: Squash bugs, Tromboncino Squash, Black Beauty Zucchini, Bush Baby Zucchini, Squash Vine Borers, Curcurbit leaves S.M.R. Saia,

A photo of Shannon SaiaThis year is definitely going to go down in my records as the summer of squash, which is to say that I've had a spectacularly successful gardening season – squashwise. This may seem a little bit like saying that I've had fantastic luck growing dandelions ... I mean, squash, right? There's a reason people get sick of zucchini. But here we are in August – AUGUST! – and I am still harvesting squash. For the first time in three years, my squash plants were not destroyed by squash vine borers by the first week of July.


What did I do different this year? What expertise did I bring to bear?

You mean on purpose? You're kidding, right? This was more or less dumb luck. Maybe less.

I mean, I did a couple of things – both half-heartedly and by accident. I specifically did not plant Black Beauty Zuchinni, which I read after my second year's loss is particularly susceptible to vine borers. I went with the bush baby instead. I also planted scallop squash (that produced a few fruit and then died) and a bunch of different winter squash (that all started out strong and then fizzled out and died). But I think the important thing is not that I had so many squash plants but that they were in three distinct and separate parts of the garden. When I did have problems, the offending insects didn't get everybody.

For example, these critters. The Squash Bug.

10/21/2010 12:48:49 PM

If you let those squash ripen o the vine they turn out like a butternut. They also get like 3 ft long. Check out the path to feedom urban homestead, they grow that one like every year.

8/6/2010 11:45:31 AM

Shannon, Ooh, those squash bugs look icky! I'm trying zucchini for the first time this year, but I think I got it started too late. It's barely blossoming. And lots of folks in AK grow it, so I know it can be done. Live and learn...maybe there's still time! Maybe we'll be seeing some squash recipes from you down the road? Susan

cindy murphy
8/6/2010 7:21:20 AM

Hi, Shannon. I've never seen tromboncino squash before. I love their color; it's always a bonus when food looks pretty, as well as tastes good. I'm rolling my eyes at that, (as I'm sure you are too) but when I get "Eeww - that looks nasty" from the peanut gallery, it doesn't matter how good it tastes: if it looks nasty, obviously it tastes nasty. Like Vickie, this year I'm on the receiving end of squash - and we're getting plenty. It looks like all my volunteer vines (and I let way too many of them grow) are producing gourds. At least I think they're gourds - do you know how to tell the difference? I should probably do a two-minute Internet drill to find out. Perhaps I could be eating instead of waiting for Halloween to decorate with them. Glad for your squashly success story. Wishing you many more....success stories that is, since it seems you've had enough squash right now.

8/4/2010 12:03:59 PM

Shannon, Oh so glad your squash is doing well. Sounds like all your garden is growing fantastic. The one time I grew zucchini I would pick it and go out to the garden the next day there would be full size grown ones again. So now I buy it from the man down the street! Can't wait to hear more garden stories vickie

s.m.r. saia
8/4/2010 9:23:10 AM

Dave, I'm glad to hear that you're garden is doing well! I hope you have a huge haul of potatoes!!!

nebraska dave
8/3/2010 5:01:01 PM

@Shannon, I think anything that grows on a vine is doing well this year. My cukes are going berserk. I can’t give them away fast enough. I hear people say that pumpkins, melons, and squash of any kind are taking over the gardens. Tomatoes not so much. I am just now starting to harvest tomatoes. They are considerably later this year, but so far mine are quite delicious and have no bug or rot problems. The bell peppers are outdoing themselves and the potatoes are well I don’t know quite yet but they do look good. The spuds are not infested with any thing that could harm the potatoes under the ground. I’ve quit watering them like the books say so we will see just how good of a turn out it will be. The onions were a bust. I have harvested a total of three and I think that’s going to be just about all she wrote. I’m really thinking about digging up that whole area and planting a fall crop of some sort. That would be the first time ever doing that. I think you have discovered the secret to gardening and well all of life. Diversity is the answer. Different varieties in different places in the garden will keep the entire crop from succumbing to bugs or disease. I don’t have that luxury so I have to be careful about crop rotation and clean soil each year. By clean I mean good top compost every year. Have a great garden harvest day.

mother earth news fair


Feb. 17-18, 2018
Belton, Texas

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!