Thursday, May 23, 2013


Summer Squash
Pumpkins, gourds, summer and winter squash as well as zucchini and what other kind of squash you may think of belong in the same family.  No surprise there, right?  Regardless of what kind of squash you choose to plant, they require plenty of room to grow unimpeded. Last season, I planted (threw out is more accurate) a handful of pumpkin seeds along the scenic creek.  They are now show-casing their big bright yellow flowers and they are sporting large leaves and runners rambling along some logs.

My favorite squash are the crooknecks but they were not available at planting time so I settled for a summer squash also known as yellow zucchini.  Did you know that the yellow zucchini flowers are edible? They are supposed to be a "culinary delicacy" when sauteed or deep fried.

Professional gardeners recommend that you slip a barrier such as a foam tray or a newspaper between the squash fruit and the soil to prevent rot.  Experts also suggest that you cut out the smaller squashes to promote the growth of larger ones.  It is important that you harvest the fruit before the skins turn hard.

Unfortunately, squash is susceptible to troublesome pests that spread bacterial wilt before any of the fruit is ready for harvest.  You may control aphids with a forceful spraying of water.  The aphids are known to carry virus.  The pumpkin plants on the Back Forty have developed a powdery mildew that requires spraying with a commercial fungicide.  So far, the rest of the squash planted among the red top bushes are doing fine.

Summer Squash Fruit
A delightful and colorful stir fried vegetable medley may be enjoyed by chopping a yellow summer squash and a green zucchini into bite size pieces and mixing them with onions and any colored pepper.  I use the skin of the squashes as well as the seeds.  If you prefer, scoop the seeds out with a spoon after cutting the squashes lengthwise before cooking.

Since my squashes have succumbed to rot and wilt in previous years, I have not had a chance to freeze too much of them, but it is doable.  I cut the squash up with skin and seeds in large bite size pieces, dunk them in boiling water for a few minutes, drain, and cool under running water, then bag them and put them into the freezer.  They turn out fairly well and when cooked with some onions taste rather delicious.

Source:  Encyclopedia of Plant Care by Miracle-Gro

As always, thank you for visiting my blog.  Stay a while and leave a message.  I'll be off until Monday.
Have a safe weekend.

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