Getting Schooled by the Squash

It’s just not summer without fresh squash, is it? Zucchini and yellow for roasting or grilling. A few tough-skinned winter squash to grace the table come fall. Their close cousins, the cucumbers, in a salad or in a brine… Just one of those iconic tastes of summer.

I may have overdone it.


Yes, I packed too many plants of too many varieties into the squash bed. Two bush zucchini, two bush yellow straightneck, and I don’t even remember what the final count was for cucumbers. Or winter squash – growing along the fence – for that matter.

It’s not that I’m getting more produce than I can handle, mind you. It’s that when the bed becomes a jungle, picking things at that ‘just right’ size can be difficult. A cucumber hiding under a leaf goes very quickly to…


Great for making a batch of fermented half-sours – which I don’t do (yet) – but not for the cornichons I promised Hubby (who, you might remember, brought me the seeds from France for that express purpose ).

Obviously, I should have trellised them. But after three years of growing a bush-type cuke – with amazing success, I might add – the needs of an old-fashioned vining type were just completely forgotten…


See? Isn’t this easier? A few of them managed to reach the fence. Snip, snip, snip – tiny cukes for pickles. Lesson learned.


And about those winter squash…

The compost pile has been re-named Mount Squashmore.

This is one lesson that makes me absolutely giddy…

Back in the spring, when I had the yard crew out here…


You didn’t really think I did everything myself, did you? It’s a BIG place! And in the words of an old butcher I once worked with, “I’m only one (wo)man, Doctor!” The crew comes out a few times a year to help with big projects, like shredding up the winter debris and turning the compost pile. They can accomplish in a single day what would take me two weeks…

As I was saying, last spring, when the crew was digging compost out to fill the new asparagus bed, the foreman, who I’ll call ‘O’, because I’m not sure his regular boss knows he takes on side projects, pointed out to me the first of the volunteer squash growing near the top.

“I left that part alone,” he said. I laughed, and told him that was good, but I figured the deer would eat it long before it ever produced anything…

I have never been happier to be so wrong…

As summer went on, more and more of the composted squash sprouted, blossomed, and set fruit – with no interference from any of the four-footed eating machines that share our property. This is just the first batch to harden-off. There are more.

Many. More.

So, if winter squash don’t require the protection of the garden fence, why am I letting them take up space there?

I know they won’t be there next year!

I just hope the deer don’t develop a taste for them in the meantime…

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14 thoughts on “Getting Schooled by the Squash

    • Thanks, Greg. It’s a little weird, though. The cukes and winter squash are producing like crazy, but I’m only getting one or two zucchinis per week, and even slower on the yellow squash…Maybe next year, when the bed is less-crowded, they’ll do better.

  1. And beyond those beautiful squash I can see plenty of tomatoes on your vines, one of which is just starting to blush. Considering that you have a deer problem, looks to me like you’ve had a very successful growing season. Congrats!

  2. Wow, your garden looks great. and I seriously want your crew that comes in to help, (can I pay them with eggs and honey?) No way have i got pumpkins that size, yours are amazing.. impressed c

    • You know, I had to go back and look after you mentioned it – I thought ChgoJohn was just keeping up a running joke we’ve had about the summer of the beautiful green tomatoes. I’m up to five ripe ones now…

    • Old Gino at Aquidneck…you may not remember him. That was his famous line when the special orders would start piling up on his bench. Dano probably still shouts it from time to time…
      You know, if the winter squash can move out of the regular beds, there might be room for eggplant next year… 😀

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