Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My vegetable garden: Zuchetta rampicante (trombino squash)

My garden has a horrible squash vine borer infestation.  I have not been able to grow and kind of squash or pumpkins in at least three years.  I have tried all the methods of getting rid of these pests, and none of them really did any good.  I split open vines and killed the borers one by one.  I started two rounds of squash using one as bait that I pulled out and burned with the intention of leaving the second batch in safety.  I tried row covers.  Then I gave up.  No squash at all last year.  This past winter I learned about zuchetta rampicante.  They are supposed to be naturally squash vine borer resistant.  This is plenty of reason to plant them for me, but they also have many other good reasons to plant them.
Zuchetta is a summer squash that vines and stores like a winter squash.  Rather than growing in a bush like most summer squashes, it is a vining plant grows up trellises and fences.  This may help in its vine borer resistance.  When you pick them, they have the soft skin of a summer squash, but the skin can harden so that they can be stored like a winter squash.  They apparently store so well that you can cut off one end and the cut piece will form a sort of seal so that the rest wont go bad.  The fruits can get up to three feet long and one plant can produce 20 squash.  I read that they taste similar to zucchini, but haven't been able to taste any just yet.  The vines themselves started fairly slow, but are beginning to take off quite quickly up my old grapevine arbor.  I did help them up it a little by tying them to it since there aren't any places for them to grab on the arbor.  I will post an update when I (hopefully) have some squash to show.

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