Tag Archives: squash

Late Season Squash – Trombetta di Albenga

Every season there is a star, a variety that exceeds our expectations either with fruitful bounty or with taste. Last summer it was chayote. This past summer the star was Trombetta di Albenga, an Italian, heirloom, vining squash, that when picked early tastes similar to zucchini only better.

It can be grown either along the ground, which makes the fruits curl

tromboncino squash

or along a fence which allows the fruits to hang straight.

squash growing on fence

If the fruit is not picked it can grow very large (5-6 ft), though at this point it is no longer edible but can be used like a gourd.

squash gourd

The most amazing thing about this variety is that its November and its still fruiting.

late summer squash

One interesting observation, in the early part of the summer there were many male flowers and fewer female flowers, now at the end of the season, there are many female flowers but very few male flowers.

To insure pollination we manually brought the male and female flowers together. The male is on the left.

manual pollination of male and female squash flowers

A couple of week later, a botanical offspring…

late season summer squash

Guidelines for Summer Harvest


The height of summer is upon us and so is the height of the summer harvest. This week alone we picked about a pound of basil, 3 pounds of cucumbers, 5 pounds of squash, 5 pounds of tomatoes, 2 watermelons totaling about 30 pounds, and 65 ears of corn. One trombone zucchini was NOT picked in order to see how big it gets. At this size it is no longer edible but it will keep for some time as a decorative gourd.

Some guidelines you should follow for harvesting your summer produce:

Corn – Silks begin to turn brown and dry out as the corn cob matures, approximately 3 weeks after first appearing. You can check a few ears for maturity by peeling back the tops and pressing the top kernels with your thumbnail. If the liquid exuded is milky rather than clear the corn is ready to be picked.

Cucumbers – Harvest when fruits are a deep green color before any yellowing appears. Pick the fruits regularly to encourage more fruiting. Mature cucumbers left on the vine will signal the plant to stop producing.

Squash – Same as cucumbers, harvest often to encourage production.

Tomatoes – Tomatoes are best when ripened on the vine. Harvest when the fruits are uniformly red (or yellow, purple, etc.) The fruits should be beginning to lose their firmness just slightly soft.

Watermelon – Watermelons will be nearing maturity when the tendril across from the fruit turns brown and dry. Look for a yellowing underneath where the watermelon touches the ground and for the surface color to turn from shiny to dull.

Summer Harvest – Zucchini Recipes

Its not quite fair that summer harvest begins at the close of school. We got our first cherry tomatoes a week before school ended, but no heirlooms, no corn either. Fortunately some of our school gardens are accessible year round and currently zucchini and squash are plentiful.

Try these zucchini/pasta recipes for those who like their pasta both healthy and flavorful. Enjoy!

Zucchini and Pasta 1
Boil water and cook pasta (use whatever kind you like: fusilli, penne, linguini, whatever). Sauté sliced zucchini with garlic, onions and basil in olive oil until softened. Place in Cuisinart and pulse until chunky. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix with cooked pasta and top with grated Parmigiano or Pecorino cheese.

Zucchini and Pasta 2
Sauté sliced zucchini with garlic, olive oil, hot red pepper flakes, and fresh mint. Place in Cuisinart and pulse until chunky. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss with cooked pasta. Top with grated Parmigiano or Pecorino cheese.

Week 30 – The Three Sisters Garden

At Dorsey High School we are recreating a Three Sisters Garden as practiced by Native Americans hundreds of years ago.

The three sisters are: corn, pole beans, and squash. Typically they are all interplanted in a hill (or mound) to compliment one another.

Corn provides support for beans, which in turn provides nitrogen for the corn and squash. The squash grows along the ground acting like living mulch suppressing weeds and minimizing evaporation.

The corn and squash should be planted first, followed by the beans once the corn is about 8-12 inches. The beans are planted in a ring around each corn stalk.

One practice we will not be recreating is the planting of fish or eel with our seeds. Native Americans often did this to provide extra nitrogen to the soil. Thankfully we now have a product known as fish emulsion, which is an organic fertilizer that supplies the same nutrients as the raw variety.

For more information on the Three Sisters garden
Please see:
1) Creating a Three Sister Garden-Discovering a Native Trio from Kidsgardening.com and;

2) Celebrate the Three Sisters: Corn, Beans and Squash from Reneesgarden.com.