Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Year Of The Squash

As is the case every year, some crops just do better than others.  This year has been no exception.  I'd say my top three success stories for 2016 were tomatoes, potatoes, and winter squash.  And while I could moan on and on about all the things that didn't do well or didn't do anything at all, let me just brag about one of my favorite things to grow and eat that did great this year...winter squash!

Winter squash a total space hogs.  The vine for my Blue Hubbard, that has exactly one squash on it, is over 25' long.  It's huge!  It was a last minute planting as a filler and I just sort of let it go where it wanted so it's in the middle of a walkway and three growing beds.  I'm okay with it thought because it's not hurting anything and I've never grown a Blue Hubbard Squash before.  I'm so amused by it's size and shape and color!




The other big success story this year is another first time variety in my garden: Zucchino Rampicante.  It can be eaten young and green like a summer squash {though this is actually the case with all squash as they are edible at every stage of growth} or left to age like a winter Butternut squash.  I definitely had a learning curve as I soon discovered that if this one is left to touch the soft ground, it will rot.  So I took those home, cut off the soft spots, and ate them as summer squash.  The rest I have been careful to add rocks and bricks under them so that they aren't resting directly on the straw and soil.  It's worked out well but next year I will be sure to plant them to grow along the 6' chain link fence.  Now I know!








As was the case last year, Butternuts and Acorns have also done well.  My two favorites!  And much to my delight, for the first time in the three years I've grown them, I've had a lot of luck with Spaghetti Squash!  In total I will have grown five lovely Spaghettis.  I'm so pleased that I finally had success!










And finally, pumpkins.  I planted four varieties but only have three still growing.  Just one pumpkin of each larger variety: pie pumpkin and Long Island Cheese.  And I think I will get about five of the tiny Jack-Be-Little pumpkins {which are edible but I only use them as decoration}.  




The great thing about winter squash versus summer squash is that they can be kept for up to a year in the right conditions {cool/dry}.  Friends are continually asking me what I plan to do with all of my squash and I think they just don't understand that I don't at all need to suddenly figure it out.  It's a year's worth of squash.  When I'm hungry, I'll figure it out then.  And fear not, I will defiantly donate to my community garden's Squash Hunger program too.  

That said...do you have a favorite and unusual squash dish that I should try?  Please share as I clearly have a lot of squash meals coming my way over the next 10-12 months...


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