Saturday, June 30, 2012

Garden Update Late June, 2012: The Squashes

Baby butternut squash
The butternut squash is starting to come  in. I like butternut for a lot of reasons, mostly related to taste. If you pick them young, while they are still yellow, they taste and cook like summer squash.

I have plenty of summer squash coming in, though, so I am going to wait and let these ripen up. If you pick them when they are completely ripe, and are careful not to bruise them, and if you store them properly, they will keep quite well through the winter months. That's why these are called a kind of winter squash.

Summer Squash (Tomatillos to the Left)
So far I have seen no sign of the squash bugs that plagued my garden last summer. I suspect the main reason for this is that I have avoided using wood chips for mulch underneath them. Squash bugs really like to hide underneath wood! I do have wood chips on my garden paths, however. Don and Matthew chipped up the tree limbs that were destroyed, along with part of a neighbor's fence, when he promised me the sun. I am also experimenting with growing the squash up on a trellis to make any squash bugs easier to see and, hopefully, more vulnerable to predators. I've learned to squish them when I see them, however, especially the nymphs, which move a lot more slowly than adults.

To trellis the heavier squashes is not enough. I will have to find the baby squashes and support them up against the trellis as they grow. This is new to me, although I've read about it and seen it done in my travels in Italy.

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