In a fit of optimism, I planted five (yes, FIVE) summer squash plants this year: 2 "benning" (patty pan), 2 "Cube o' butter" (yellow zucchini looking), and 1 crookneck. This is for two people.
Live and learn. And then learn again because I forgot the first two times!
Anyway, I am now delivering squash to work and family every day, and it's only a matter of time until these people burn out on it. I have learned the joys of fried squash blossoms (that will head off a lot of produce at the pass!), etc.
Does anyone have any clever ideas for squash (I have all the ususals, like bread, soups, broiled with cheese, sauteed)...
Does anyone dry it? how? and is it worth it?
we have always canned our excess squash in glass mason jars, they keep SO long that way and wont need cold storage that way either. And yeah, they do make for great pickles also! Apart from battered and fried, and the occasional squash casserole, thats pretty much all we do with ours, but i myself will sometimes slice one up and eat it straight up raw.
Indigenous people used to slice the squash and slip them on a stick, leaving a little space between them, to dry them. Then you could use a bag sealer and have emergency food stored, in case of a natural disaster of some kind. I like sauteed squash for breakfast. Saute in a lightly buttered pan, and season. You could also bread them in seasoned flour, then egg, then seasoned cracker crumbs. The breaded ones can make bottoms for hors d'oeuvres, topping with sour cream and ranch or sour cream and onion dip, etc.
Oh, my... what a question! Last year I made (and froze) faux zucchini crab cakes made with my excess zucchini. They were a BIG hit; I should have made more! I sautéed them before freezing, and they were much tastier after freezing, esp. with a squeeze of fresh lemon. (recipe from the internet).
I also made and froze several squash quiches using a variety of quiche recipes. They were great to thaw for a meal when I didn't want to cook. HOWEVER, if I make and freeze quiche again this year, I will make crustless quiche. The crust got really soggy.
I dried both some zukes and lemon squash in slices, for potential use in soups (and some for my 'survival' stash), but didn't get around to trying them yet.
Try leaving one squash on the vine to turn into an over-ripe monster. That might slow down production. Then focus on picking small fruit.
My mom used to grab odds & ends from the garden, chop them up, then either give them a quick sauté with eggs or a quick blanch/boil in a can of diced stewed tomatoes. We had this as a side dish almost every night. We called it squash goulash because it usually had squash in it, but it was a little different every time.
My sister made bread-&-butter pickles out of two colors of squash, they were attractive and tasty, too. I substituted squash in my Harvard beets recipe, it gives you that pickled taste without having to go through the whole pickling process.
My sister says that every time she uses her food dryer, her electric bill spikes. I don't Know if they are all electricity hogs, but you might want to monitor that.
I haven't had squash, let alone an excess, for a couple of years due to squash bugs, but I used to love to take the big ones, split them lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, bake for a bit in the oven, and then stuff each half with either a vegetarian mixture of chopped veggies, breadcrumbs and grated cheese or with meat and veggies, especially ground lamb. We'd have one half for dinner for the two of us and I'd freeze the other half for another time.
Pick them small and grill with olive oil and thyme
Fritters: shred, leave for an hour, squeeze out the water, mix with egg & bread crumbs, season, fry into dollar pancake size
Ratatouille or caponata: tomatoes, eggplant, zukes - tons of great recipes online
Squash blossoms in fettuccine carbonara
Layered as lasagne in a casserole, awesome with mushrooms and lots of ricotta/mozzarella
Zucchini bread - like banana bread, but it'll need more liquid/fats
What a way to go ('drowning in summer squash'), possibly my all time favorite food! I was going to suggest sending them to your east coast 'friends', but I see that Linda has beat me to that one.
Seriously though, when you have more than you need and/or can use, I very much like the idea of handing them out to family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and anyone else who would like them. Is there a Weight Watcher's meeting near you? If you were to show up in the meeting area with a basket of free squash, I'll bet you would be incredibly popular. I actually did this once with a variety of excess garden produce (I had an overabundance of Japanese eggplant that summer), and was all but mobbed, but it is a fond memory, since it was clear the recipients were incredibly happy (not to mention surprised). Homes that care for the elderly (not sure the correct term) might also like to receive some fresh veggies, as might children's homes and community pantries (that feed the homeless).
If I were trying to keep lots of squash for later consumption, I would slice a bunch crosswise & cook in a large skillet or dutch oven to 'reduce' them by cooking off the water. A pot overflowing with squash will cook down to 1/4 or less the original volume, thus taking up much less space. I would pack this condensed form into freezer bags and stack flat in the freezer. (You might also like to freeze some sliced, blanched squash, but this condensed method will allow you to store the max qty in the least space.)
Processed in this manner, the squash can be used in a variety of recipes next winter with no observable loss of flavor or texture. It can be used in squash casseroles and soups. One of my favorite squash soup recipes is healthy, easy to make, and does not require exacting quantities. It's made of mostly yellow, summer squash with just one or two zucchini's (optional) for color contrast, a carrot or two, some chopped onion, garlic, (chives and parsley if you have them), and chicken broth or bullion. Cook veggies until soft. Then pulse in batches in the food processor or blender. Process some smooth, some to about the texture of slaw or finely chopped nuts (you should see lots of small, colorful bits), and a small amount 'chunky'. Combine for a tasty and colorful soup. Add salt, pepper, and other seasonings as desired. (The precooked frozen squash will need little to no processing for this soup.)
In my area, there is a nameless, regional squash dish that I love. It's a southern thing, so you may or may not care for it, but as the condensed, frozen squash is tailor made for this recipe, I'll offer it for consideration. Basically, you cook the water out of a pot or skillet of sliced yellow squash to which you've added 1 sliced or chopped onion, garlic, green onion (white & green parts included), salt, and black pepper. In the south, we usually also add a little finely chopped (cooked) bacon or smoked ham to add that smoked flavor, but you can also add a pat of butter or margarine or chicken bullion or omit this step entirely if you prefer a fat-free, healthier version. Cook covered on low at 1st until water from squash fills pan. Be very careful not to scorch during this step. The idea is to coax the water out w/o adding any extra water. Once you see lots of water in the pan, turn up to medium or until squash is simmering well. When tender, uncover and cook for a while on medium to med high to cook off excess fluid. Stir periodically. When almost all of the water has cooked off, turn down to low and continue cooking. Mash with potato ricer. Squash should now be thick like mashed potatoes, but not as smooth. The finished dish should have visible seeds and very small bits of squash (and meat). When fairly 'thick' and 'dry', squash should begin to brown slightly. Adjust seasoning. Done. This is not a 'crisp tender' type dish, and except for the bits of dark green onion tops is not especially colorful, but it is packed with flavor (and has the added benefit of using up a lot of squash).
The above dish is much easier/faster if you use a pressure cooker for the 1st step. Throw everything in a pressure cooker with the minimum water required for your cooker (1c for mine). Cook 3min in pressure cooker. Squash will now be tender and water will have cooked out of it. Dump into large skillet and proceed to the step where you cook uncovered on med high to cook off water. Finish as per above.
If using the pre-condensed, frozen squash for this dish, you just need to add sauteed onion, garlic, green onion, and seasonings, and go directly to the final step where you cook off the last bit of water and then brown on low. Best of luck to you. I would love to have your 'problem' (too much squash).
Uh, you forgot the splash of Louisiana Red Hot Sauce, & the dash of Cayenne pepper...
At home, we would then turn this "squash casserole" into a baking dish, sprinkle seasoned bread crumbs on top, drizzle with some butter, and run it under the broiler for a golden brown, crispy top...
We also make a "smothered cabbage" dish almost exactly the same way, cooking the cabbage down with sauteed onions, bell peppers, a bit of minced garlic, and some seasoning ham. You cook off the excess liquid during the simmering process. Add a couple splashes of Hot Sauce and some cayenne pepper during the "smothering" phase. The cabbage comes out moderately "mushy" depending on what kind of texture you like.
Serve over steamed white rice. Best cooked down with brined pig tails that were parboiled (to leach out some of the salt).
Community gardens which grow for charity will also be happy to take extra produce off your hands. I donate my extra to a garden that grows fresh produce for low income, home-bound elderly people, but we also have church-based gardens locally that grow for other needy folks.
Now we are really getting the ideas flowing, both for preserving and donating those squash - so many great ideas I think I will tag this thread for future reference.
Gymgirl - I could only offer our local 'recipe'. Glad you added your regional variations. Just to clarify, are you saying that you folks in TX (or LA) also make a squash dish like the one I described but with hot sauce, cayenne pepper, etc? And does 'smothered cabbage' refer to actual cabbage, and how does it figure in to the squash recipe?
Darius - Wow, that it a shame. Around here many grocery stores routinely donate their overripe produce to the food banks instead of selling it at reduced price. I miss the markdowns but love the idea of making the food available to area soup kitchens.
I may have just stumbled upon another idea for using more squash now and in the future. Have you considered tossing one in with some fruit, yogurt, ice, and sweetener for a great, healthy smoothie? What about trying squash sorbet? I've seen some very unusual sorbets served in upscale restaurants. For either option, you could use either fresh or frozen squash.
Recently I've begun trying to reduce my food waste to near zero. I put leftover milk, cream, fruit juice, pureed fruits, etc in freezer bags, measured and labeled. Frozen flat and 'thin', I can often break off a chunk of milk or fruit w/o using the entire bag. Now I'm finding fabulous uses for these treasures, from sorbets to green smoothies. Yesterday for breakfast I tossed frozen melon, frozen milk, & frozen OJ into the VitaMix with a large carrot, whole apple, and a couple handfuls of frozen collard greens plus sweetener and was amazed to find that it was awesome! When mixed with fruit, you can't taste the vegetables, not even bitter greens. If collards work, I should think a squash would also work, fresh or frozen. I like to use my frozen fruits and veggies in lieu of ice cubes. This morning's smoothie was very similar except that I tossed in some Crystal Light, the powder not the mixed beverage.
Unfortunately, many food banks don't have the infrastructure to deal with storing or distributing fresh produce in a timely fashion, and most of them in turn distribute to food pantries, not give it out directly, so there is a time lag.
As a gardener, it's frustrating to think about just donations of canned goods at Christmas when something like 50% of the produce in the US is lost to spoilage, but issues like refrigeration and labor and rapid delivery chains are hard to overcome, especially if a pantry serves a large area like most do.
If your food bank can't handle fresh goods, try a small food pantry or other organization that is close to the ultimate recipients. Your food bank might be able to direct you to one.
Alternately, I suppose you could try making wine out of it, although the "Joy of Home Winemaking" is not enthusiastic about wine from winter squash and downright unencouraging about zucchini wine.
Two different recipes mentioned getting the liquid out of the squash. One, grate and squeeze, the other simmer covered on very low. If you aren't on a low sodium diet, may I suggest a sprinkle of salt? That is usually what is used to pull liquid out of raw veggies.
I edited my post. Your recipe is so close to how we smother cabbage, I forgot we were discussing eggplants!
I clarified in the post how we do both.
CUDOS to discovering the joys of blending & extracting!
I bought a Magic Bullet recently, and have been extracting kale, cucumbers, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, spinach, pineapples, peaches, goji berries, acai berries, greens, etc. into nutritious frozen drinks.
I LOVE my Magic Bullet, but, I read the reviews too late. If I had, I probably would have bought a Ninja, instead.
In a nutshell, although my Bullet works fine right now, it probably only has about a 6 month -1 year reliability before it will start to malfunction. This would not be a problem, since I purchased the extended, 26-year replacement warranty.
The problem that almost every reviewer had is that the Magic Bullet customer service department is practically NON-EXISTENT, so, forget about calling to get any replacement, resolution, or refund...I paid almost $150 for mine (with the warranty).
Take my advice, and go spend the $$ on the Ninja (the one with all the bells and whistles). You'll be very happy, and someone will answer the phone when you call with any issues.
I've heard of the Magic Bullet, but am not certain how it works exactly. "Extracting" calls to mind those machines which extract the juice only w/o the pulp, peels, etc. The VitaMix is similar to a blender but with a super powerful motor capable of grinding whole fruits and vegetables, 'liquifying' everything, seeds, rinds, cores, etc included. The VitaMix also grinds nuts to make nut butters, grinds meat, and crushes ice (almost instantly). The power of the machine is quite impressive; however, the price is in line with that of the Kitchen Aid food processor which can probably do the same things and more. Had I taken the time to think things through, I suspect I might have preferred that food processor.
Just to clarify my description of the VitaMix...My $20, circa 1995, WalMart blender will eventually, & with much user frustration (starting, stopping, tamping), crush ice and grind most things. What's different about the VitaMix is the ease with which it powers through such things almost instantly. It will liquify a whole apple and large carrot in well under a minute, likewise a block of frozen watermelon.
I bought my machine some 5yrs or so ago but only took it out of the box and used it for the 1st time 2 days ago. For me, converting all manner of fruits and veggies to wonderfully tasty smoothies was a direct result of my efforts to cut food waste by freezing things that would normally spoil before I could finish them. Seeing that stack of frozen ingredients and remembering I had that VitaMix still in the box somewhere turned the light bulb on for me. I had seen numerous recipes for green smoothies but had no idea how delicious such concoctions could taste, so I, too, am glad I finally stumbled upon the idea. I probably didn't mention it earlier, but I did also include frozen, sliced watermelon rind (green outer skin removed) in my smoothies. It doesn't have much flavor, but is nutrient and fiber rich, 'free', and virtually calorie-free.
All of this may seem OT, but I brought it up because I suspect one could easily toss a summer squash (or a handful of frozen squash slices) into a smoothie along with some fruit and other ingredients and end up with a delicious 'fruit' smoothie that does not belie its veggie content. I thus thought this might be yet another yummy option for using up some of the excess squash.
I cross-posted with you 'guys', btw. I was working on my VitaMix post as you were posting. Thus my post was not intended as part of your conversation about the merits of the Magic Bullet vs Ninja - nor is it intended to 'sell' the VitaMix, just to explain it. The VitaMix is in the $500 range, so like I said, I think I would buy the Kitchen Aid food processor if I had it to do over. I just think that would better fit my needs.
The Magic Bullet pulverizes the food particles such that you end up with a smooth (albeit "moderately pulp-y") beverage. More like a thick slushie. Even nuts are (relatively) pulverized into unrecognizable bits when you use the special blade.
It's great while it works. But, how LONG it will work is very, very questionable. And, like I said, the customer service phone DOES NOT ANSWER.
One reviewer held the line open, on hold, for a solid 8 hours -- no one ever came back to him...
I'm going to have to disagree with the assessment of the Ninja as having THE most powerful motor. 1st I would like to preface this by reiterating that I would probably not buy the VitaMix again. It was an impulse buy, and quite expensive for a smoothie maker (not all it does though). That said, I did find the VitaMix, which also pulverizes fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc into a slushy liquid, to be amazingly powerful, so much so that I found it difficult to imagine that the Ninja could be more powerful. I went to all 3 websites (Magic Bullet, Ninja, and VitaMix) and compared them just on the basis of motor power, and the VitaMix actually has the most powerful motor.
I based my comparison on the stats for my VitaMix vs the most powerful Ninja (per the Ninja website). Here are the results:
(1) The Ninja Master Prep and Master Prep Pro have 400W & 450W motors respectively. That converts to .54 hp (horsepower) and .60 hp respectively.
The Ninja 1200W Kitchen System has a 1200W motor. That converts to 1.61 hp. That is the most powerful item shown on the Ninja website.
(2) My VitaMix (which is not necessarily the most powerful one they sell) has a 2.25 hp motor. That's 2.25hp vs 1.61hp for the Ninja. The VitaMix wins by a landslide. (The VitaMix also comes with a 13yr warranty on the motor.)
(3) As to the Magic Bullet, I didn't read everything on the website word for word, but I scanned for the motor power and was unable to find it. They don't seem eager to advertise the actual numbers. On Amazon I found that the Magic Bullet power base (I'm guessing that's the motor for the product) has a 205W motor. That's only .27 hp (horsepower). That means the Magic Bullet is having to work much harder to do the work, which probably explains why they don't last.
All 3 of these products do basically the same thing. Of the 3, the VitaMix has the most powerful motor by far, but it is VERY expensive. I paid around $500 for mine (5yrs ago), but I now see it selling for a whopping $800. If you don't want to pay that outrageous price, I understand. I probably wouldn't do it over again, either, but If you are looking for the most powerful motor, that is the VitaMix.
Edited to add this blurb from the VitaMix site: "Vitamix commercial blenders are used in over 100,000 restaurants around the world; Dairy Queen, Orange Julius, Smoothie King, and Jamba Juice are some of the restaurants that use Vitamix blenders in their establishments."
Sorry for going OT here. Just wanted those who may be considering a purchase to have the facts. Now I'm going to get back to the subject of squash. :-)
Edited again to add that I am not affiliated with any of these products in any way, nor do I know anyone who is.
Oh, you good, good people! I sent out a question, got too busy at work to check... and look at what you've done!~
You've not only helped with the greatest dilemma of June & July, but schooled me on the Vitamix I lust for! Not for nuthin' but if too much squash is my greatest dilemma right now, I'm living well and appreciating it!
Okay: plan for this weekend: squash fritters (to freeze), dry (in dehydrator that for some reason is really energy efficient), zucchini bread, crustless fritattas! (I even have the aluminum foil trays to put it in!).
We bought one pot of squash at the store to find out it had 6 plants in it. We started late, but I'm prepared to be drowning in squash later this summer. And I love squash, so it is not an issue for me.
My summer squash was starting to produce before I left for the beach so I brought 1.5 large ones with me. It's been only 24 hours into vacation and already I had broiled squash with homemade pesto smeared on it for dinner last night and leftover squash on my egg bagel for breakfast/brunch.
I love when I bring my garden abundance on vacation, I miss the garden when I'm not home. Have a friend stopping by to pick beans and look for some red tomatoes; it will take away some of the end of vacation blahs to look forward to coming back to the garden's plenty.
Just a thought... some churches do anonymous baskets to needy parishoners and others in the community. I happen to live near a few, so I regularly leave bags of excess veggies on a Sunday morning with a sign that says FREE!. Or in the south, many Baptists attend on Wednesday evenings. Different faiths like Krishnas & Sikhs to name a couple have a group vegetarian meal together usually after worship.
When I give to any of these places, I try to stress that they are doing ME a favor by taking it, rather than the other way around.
Anyhoo, just an idea.
scarletbean, such wonderful idea to donate to our favorite charity organization. I also like to 'teach' the joy of gardening to others, so they can have the skills for a lifetime. A gift that keeps on giving...kinda thing.
Lily_love- I am always going on & on about the fun of gardening. Especially kids in the 7-14 yr ages. They are young enough to have fun without being embarassed and old enough not to be tearing things up. I pull them in by talking about a cool bug, or a pretty butterfly. Kids seem amazed that their food starts out somewhere besides the supermarket. Well, grown ups are, too.
The boy (8yrs) next door was hooked when I told him I was making 'poop soup' to water the garden. (manure tea) That was last year, and he had a pea patch and has some pumpkins and a few green beans growing this year. He is so excited by the Zucchini, it grows so fast, he wants to try for some baseball bat size ones next year. He eats all the veggies from the garden, since he either grew it himself, or 'helped' me. He also turned his little brother and sister onto it by showing them how to dip mint leaves in sugar and "it tastes like doublemint gum!" Or, that dill tastes like a pickle.
I also meant to suggest using shredded squash for an ingredient in meatloaves or burgers. It adds moisture and stretches your ground meats. you can also addit to veggie burger mixes and i have put it into salmon patties. I just keep it in the freezer already shredded. It mixes in well with chili or taco filling.
One other thought.. I know a wildlife rehabilitator and I some times give her extra produce for her rescued animals. Rabbits, Opossums,raccoons,birds,turtles,squirrels and/or chipmunks, bats, skunks, groundhogs and whatever else she has that will eat veggies.
Wishful thinking: Invent a cat litter made from zucchini that would be biodegradeable.
More wishful thinking: zucchini gasoline.
I love all of your ideas and,being most fond of wildlife, am particularly fond of the idea of providing extra produce to wildlife rehabbers who often have to bear the full cost of food for the animals in their care. That said, if you can perfect that last one, the world will surely beat a wide path to your door!
Dream, If i manage to invent either the cat litter or the zucchini gasoline, I will send each person at my door home with not only my invention, but with a zucchini.! haha.
I think my crazy production is from the 2 year old horse manure i got from my neighbor. She moved the horses to another location, and never cleaned the barn. She let me have all i could shovel. It has made a big difference in all my veggies.
My yard man managed to cut down most of my struggling squash, and some climbing beans!
A stray dog has adopted us, but now we're not keeping her. A woman from LabRescue was here to see the dog, and it turns out she lives about 15 miles from here and has horses. I may get some black gold soon too. :)
Are you sure you didn't hire my yard man? He pruned my very expensive set of rose 'trees' to stumps just above the 1st grafts, pulled up a number of clematis 'weeds', killed a couple of very healthy camellias, and somehow even managed to kill an incredibly healthy small tree which was an essential part of the front yard design and w/o which the front yard will now be unbalanced. He made up for these errors by taking exceptional care of a nice clump of weeds near the front door and coddling a number of sweet gum, tree of heaven, and ginko seedling volunteers that cropped up in my backyard and grew to 7ft or more in his charge.
Darius, if by black gold you mean horse manure, be careful because horses are often dosed pretty heavily with chemicals which end up in their droppings. I heard of a person whose garden was also ruined because there were sufficient traces in the manure of an herbicide from the hay the horses were eating to affect his vegetable plants.
No. While I'm doing my own yard work right now and am not retaining his services currently, I will likely do so again at some point. He did have a lot of very good qualities, and it's virtually impossible, in my area at least, to find a yard guy with excellent knowledge of ornamental plants. We are positively inundated here with people who want to mow & edge lawns. Very few of these people have any real knowledge of plants/gardening and few are even willing to undertake jobs which require anything more than mowing, edging, and minor pruning.
My yard guy was one of the few willing to even do the more complex and time-consuming tasks my garden requires, to mow and trim, prune and weed around all those ornamental plants. Despite his foibles, he was conscientious, hard working, and he really tried. He was better than the alternatives. If I need someone again to help out, I would hire him again, imperfect though he was.
Once I went outside and broke it to him that the plants by the front door were weeds, he cut them down. He thought they were a type of ornamental grass, and I could see how they did resemble that sort of thing at that stage in their growth. Likewise, once I painted a ring on the trunks of the seedlings I wanted removed, he cut them down. He had simply been unable to discern between desirable plants like my Rose of Sharon and undesirable sweet gum seedlings about the same size. Those matching rose trees with the tiny pink roses raining down from high pedestals will never be the same again, but mistakes happen. Some of the clematis survived. Others didn't. He is learning. I think he may have killed some trees and shrubs by getting too close with the string trimmer. I'll need to discuss that with him.
I told you the bad things he did. Just to be fair, I probably should also tell you at least one of the good things. I feed the raccoons and other wildlife in my backyard (and maintain a thread series on the subject). Over the years the raccoons have gotten to know me and have become like pets. In summer they bring their babies here. I provide small (dog & cat) toys for the kits to play with plus a wading pool. My backyard is like a raccoon McDonalds. The kids play while the moms eat. Over the course of the year, the raccoons carry the toys all around the yard leaving them here and there in favorite play spots.
I explained the toys to the yard guy the 1st time he came here (I was unable to pick the toys up due to an injury). Now, every summer when he arrives to start work, he 1st goes all around the yard, picks up the toys, and puts them in a large bucket on the patio (where the raccoons find them and redistribute them around the yard slowly). I never asked him to pick up the toys. I would probably have mowed over them myself. This is indicative of his work ethic and why, despite his foibles, I do like his work and would hire him again if I needed a yard guy (and had any money).
Okay still on vacation and not able to get to my garden notes but it just came to me: cavilli squash! It is parthenocarpic and will produce well regardless of pollination conditions. Light green/lime green in color. Tastes great too!
No netting, but I am vigilant about killing squash bugs. Also I rotate my plants and do lasagna gardening so I think I smother the larvae. Also patrol the undersides of leaves and scrape off eggs; both squash bugs and vine borer eggs. Cavilli are very strong plants, I've grown them for five seasons and they are able to withstand normal amount of bugs. Only time they struggle is when it's hot and dry. Sine this summer is so rainy they are thriving
Beautiful squash Rita! I grow mine from seed also good to know you can do them in pots. My deck is full sun so I grow birds eye peppers, several kinds of basil, lavender and other her w in pots. Herbs and edibles thrive in the direct sun Nd I have to take my sun where I cn find it.
That's the coolest veggie! Rita, have some recipe to share please? Hi Linda, Rita is doing well with the vegs. in containers indeed. My next question for Rita is; what fertilizer and how often do you feed these plants in pots please.
The container is 17 1/2 inches accoss. I have already learned it should be bigger as those Cavillis are BIG plants! I have 23 inch pots already for next year.
But I am growing lots of veggies in containers set up on my very sunny driveway. Mostly squash and eggplants.
No receipes. I usually just cut the zucs in half lengthwise, drizzel with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder. Then grill or broil them till tender. Yummy! You can also slice up and stir fry or bread and fry them.
I feed them weekly, sometimes more often. I use AlgroFlash. Wonderful stuff. I have also used Neptunes Fish and Seaweed Liquid fertilizer. Like that one also.
Cavilli is supposed to be somewhat resistant but I don't see that to be true as those SVB like all the different types of zucchini and squash that I have.
I didn't even know what a Squash Vine Borer looked like till I saw one in my yard. And in spite of very carefully checking the plants twice each day (morning and evening) I never did see any eggs. First thing I knew I had SVB was frass and wilted plants. It was quite the shock.
All my 5 original plants of squash which I bought as seedlings ended up with borers. Then at least one of the Cavillis and one of the Elite zucchini also which I had put in the garden much later.
The younger plants look good, I am hoping I got rid of the borers. Of the 5 first plants the two yellow squash look pretty good, I think they are recovering. But the three original zucs look the worst as the stems are really bad and sickly looking.
I injected ALL my squash and zucchini with Spinosad. I think that it worked but we will see.
Try bunching up some cheap tulle (think bridal veil...) fabric around the base of the squash, down in the pots on the dirt. The squash moth won't be able to get to the dirt or land on the stem near the dirt (where they like to go) to lay eggs.
I haven't gotten around to planting squash seeds, but my plan was to start a couple Tatume seeds in two large 24" planters and put pvc hoops covered with the tulle over the containers. I may plant some seeds tomorrow, since I'm pulling up spent planting areas.
Squash growers over on the veggie gardens forum are reporting increased yields since they covered their seedlings with the tulle. The moth can't land on the dirt or the stems to lay eggs...
I have not tried the cover them method but don't think it would work for me. I have to keep spraying these plants with Neem to stop/control the powdery mildew, means I would have to take everything off and put it back on each spraying. Also then need to hand pollinate.
I am hoping I have the SVB problem managed. The Neem should kill any eggs, in fact it does kill any eggs so one only has to worry that you might have missed spraying an egg. The Spinosad injected into the stems seems to be doing the trick of killing the borers that had made it into the stems. So far so good, no new damage. Time will tell.
Those SVB' s are really the worst! I lost 2 of 4 or 5 zuke plants this past week. I finally just pulled them out of the bed and when the stems broke, there were SO many awful larvae about 1 inch long and some a little bigger. I sliced the stems (plant autopsy) to see how bad it was and it was bad. I still have 2 more zukes and a yellow squash which I can see evidence of svb's on. However, I have done nothing to fight them, and the plants are all very robust, so I got quite a lot of squash. Too much, really. So, next year I may try the tulle on 1 or 2 plants and see how it does.
I planted mine late, and haven't had ant squash bugs so far. I thought it was because I didn't plant any squash last year, but maybe it was because I was late. So maybe there is an up side to being so far behind this year!!
Downside is that I haven't had any squash yet, either ...
Geeez, I have been eating squash for weeks and weeks. Plus giving it away cause I can't eat it all.
I had baked zucchini and a cucumber and tomato salad for lunch today and the same thing yesterday. At the rate the yellow squash and zucchini are comming looks like I will be eating the same for lunch again tomorrow.
I don't know about squash bugs, but I can tell you from painful experience that squash vine borers have made it to the east coast. I think svb may be the worst pest ever, since they are not controlled by sprays. They kill my plants before even the 1st squash can ripen. Argh!
I've been taking note of the ideas recommended here and plan to try them next season. A couple years ago I read about the idea of injecting beneficial nematodes into effected stems, but to me that sounded like an insane amount of work for something that might not even work (and expense). I bought some hoops and material and plan to try the row covers. I may also try the tulle.
Since I had success spraying spinosad into the broken off part of my squash plant after a borer invaded, if I see more evidence (wilting leaves) I'm going to inject spinosad into the core of all my other plants with my newly acquired hypodermics. I figure the SVB can kill a leaf, no problem, but I want it to die before it invades the base of the plant.
LAS, for me the Spinosad injections work and don't work. What I mean is no more plants have died, they do look healthy and are pumping out the fruit. But they still get borers. You can tell that cause of the frass. But at least it gives me a tool to fight against the borers. I am getting plenty of squash.
I'm away from our garden, and have just chopped up the two yellow squash I brought home, but has anyone had experience with a Burpee yellow squash that is straight, darker yellow than normal, and has a dark green mark at the stem end? We think it is noticeably sweeter than other yellow squash we've had, and were interested to see it in a display with zucchini at the local Trader Joe's. I recommend it, and will post the name if I can find it.
Yes, drobarr, that's it. But I had to go through old receipts from Burpee to confirm, because mine and Trader Joe's had a very dark green area on the fruit at the stem end, and this picture doesn't. I'll send a foto when I get back to Maine.
Here is a picture of mine. It has the dark green on a very little portion right around where it connects to the stem. Often garden catalogs and websites do not always accurately reflect the plants/fruits.
My variety is called "Golden delight hybrid" from Jung Seed. http://www.jungseed.com/dp.asp?pID=03541&c=148&p=Golden+Delight+Hybrid+Squash
On their online picture there is no green on the stem end but on my fruits there is.
For each zone there is a season where SVB is most active. Ours is mid-May to mid-June in 7a (N. GA.). Most zones are close to that range. I plant zucchini and summer squash in early May. My understanding is SVB do not become active until plants start to bloom. My plants are row covered with Agribond until female flowers appear. Once the female flowers appear I spray weekly with Bt and have little or no problem with borers. They are not usually an issue with winter squash and therefore do nothing special to those.
We use spinosad in our garden but as infrequently as possible. Usually no more than two times a season and have not used it this year yet. Consider the long range effects of neurotoxic pesticides, i.e. they are prone to become ineffective, and reserve these for last defense.
You can use any large bored syringe to inject squash with Bt. Best if the gauge is large enough to draw the thick Bt so you can inject up into the vine without clogging the syringe. Irrigation syringes from the dentist work but have no needle. Ask for one when you have your teeth cleaned.
I think you are right about 'seasons' for SVB. I have found if I plant my summer squash quite late, I have fewer problems.
Today I picked my first lemon squash (called lemon for shape, not taste), about tennis ball size. They are from seeds I saved last year, and I was worried they might have crossed with another squash but apparently bloom times were dissimilar enough not to cross.
Based on weather conditions I could plant a month earlier. In this scenerio plants will flower during prime borer season. I'll get a few weeks harvest at best and that's it. The later planting results in a four to six week harvest.
I ate my very first zucchini ever from my own plant Tuesday, and it was GREAT!
It was soooooooooo EZ, how come I've never grown them before???!!!
I clipped off a few leaves that were split on the stems, maybe the wind crimped them or something, but didn't look to be any "frass" way up there. In doing so, I noticed the stems are hollow, like straws, so I may be proactice and dribble some Bt down several of them. There's only one plant growing in the middle of the EB, anchored by a lone stem from the seed I planted. It didn't put out any additional roots along the way, so I can lift the whole plant off the soilbed and look underneath at the bottom of the plant.
So far, no evidence of "frass" although I have seen a couple little brown dots which I'm sure are SVB eggs. I'll pull them off soon, and inject them with the Bt.
I've noticed that the more you water the plant, the faster the zukes grow, LOL, go figure!!!
P.S. I'm pretty sure I won't be picking any "baseball bat" zukes!
Those home grown zucchinu are so good when you pick them small. Honestly, I don't know why people leave them on the plant till they are gigantic.
Here are some Saffron yellow squash seedlings that I planted out not long ago. And yesterday I planted out some Cavilli zucchini seedlings that are smaller than the ones in the picture. This should have been it as it is now late but yesterday I sowed some Poquito Squash seedlings as they say early, only 50 days so I decided to try it.
Right now I have Caserta zucchini that are about ready to pump out the fruit and some Green Tiger zucchini about a week behind them.
Of my original plants I put in early May, only one is still with us. The rest were all pulled due to SVB. The replacement plants for those are looking pretty ratty about now so that is why I have all those younger ones.
I picked my one and only spaghetti squash. The vine was an absolute mess. It had another fruit comming, or so I thought but when it touched it, it was totally soft and I found insect holes. So probably borers. The stems were a totall borer mess. I am not going to be planting these again next year. The plant was just horrendously large and all that for one fruit. So that was one thing tried new that I did not care for and will not be grown again. I will just stick to summer squashes.
Pulled the plant and bagged it. Out it went for the garbage pickup.
Gymgirl, are those little brown dots kind of shiny, bronze or coppery and slightly smaller than a seed bead? And do you see them in groups? If so, i am inclined to say they are squash bug eggs.
Just gently scrape them off with a fingernail and squash them... or if the leaves are tough, lightly rub between your fingers. Destroy these eggs and be on the lookout under leaves, on stems or even on supports and strings.
These eggs will hatch and you will see white bugs with black legs and then they will grow up to become squash bugs, sometimes called stink bugs or shield bugs. They will suck the life out of your plants, the little creeps! They are shy and hide under leaves...I think they overwinter in the garden, so another good case for cleaning the debris from the garden in fall.
I read that they become immune to pesticides easily. It is easy to control them by hand unless you have a really huge garden.
I'm in the habit of just scraping off squash bug eggs with my finger (they're very dry, so it's not icky). I've wondered if they can hatch where they fall on the ground, but I don't think so. Hand picking like this can keep one or two plants under control. Does anyone else think they can survive? I don't think I could actually smash them.
I'm finally getting a few late-planted summer squash. They are lemon squash heirlooms (lemon only in shape) from Baker Creek. I saved the seeds from a few overgrown lemon squash last year.
I have most of them covered in tulle but the covering isn't perfect. The tulle was cheap but just 54" wide. 72" wide would have been a LOT better.
Another thought about dealing with squash bugs. If you plant bush varieties of summer squash, when one leaf wilts you know to inject Spinosad in the crown. You don't have to worry about where the borer may actually be. That injection should work for invaders of other leaves. And the first appearance won't have killed off any squash. Well... if you watch carefully. My borer caused a whole chunk of the crown to fall off, but the Spinosad saved the rest of the plant.
Technically I think the summer squash is always a bush. But there is pondocino (or something like that) which is a vining winter squash but if you pick when it's small it tastes and cooks like summer squash. But I have to remember the name, its not pondicino...it's...um, senior moment...it'll come to me...
My ONE squash plant in the Earthbox has died a horrible death. I lifted it, and the bottom is teeming with ants...don't know what that's all about...I wasn't brave enough to poke around for evidence of any squash vine borers...
Linda, I'd be happy to send you seeds from this monster cushaw, but beware! It grows...and grows...and grows...it was from Baker Creek, listed as "Mrs. Aquilard's Cushaw", and lawdybe, it's impressed me. A few side-vines and leaves have been lost to SVB, but it just grows another vine where the old one left off.
Bonus: the leaves have been shading my roses, beans, and nasturtiums. Nasturtiums! In August!
Here's a view from above, and that's just HALF the growth. It's growing 50+ feet into the alleyway on the other side. That's my neighbor's garage with the red roof, which fits two cars end to end, so if that helps give you a scale! I've also cut it back several times, but it has crawled all over the ENTIRE veggie bed.
Also, a view of how the resulting cushaw looks inside - this one was young, but it was growing in the power lines. Just ate a slice raw, and it tastes clean, with a bit of a garlicky note, but very tender and not overly flavorful, so I think it'll loan itself well to either sweet or salty. I'm grilling it tonight in a tin-foil wrap with olive oil, garlic, butter, and those peppers.
For the southerners, I also got a two-pound slab of fatback from a local farmer, so some cracklins might find their way into the veggies.
When I peeled my one zuke, I kept eyeballing it for a rogue SVB larva! That was not a very comforting thought as I was cutting it up for my salad, LOL! I saw no evidence of any holes when I picked it, but I sure kept on looking... I almost wanted to put the individual slices under a magnifying glass just in case I missed anything, then realized I could not live my life that way, LOL!
I'll grow many more zukes next season. And they will DEFINITELY be under a hoop covered with tulle!
Gymgirl, not to worry. I have had some of my zucchini have borers into them. You can tell right away. The holes are easily seen. So if the zuc is nice before you slice it, you are not going to be finding any nasty surprises.
Fortunately this happens rarely and I just bag those fruits. Don't even put them in the compost. Don't want to intentionally grow any borers.
This is my first year growing zucchini and yellow squash. Certainly going to be growing them again next year.
Linda, and you know how tough the soil is here by Bayou St. John. I'd be actually drowning if the soil would stay still!
So far, I've harvested 2, but it's technically a winter veg - so they ought to get bigger and add on more female flowers. It's also been hot and oddly dry here for a few weeks until yesterday, but now there's those two storms giving us the side-eye, so I won't complain.
I am getting frustrated with all the summer squash. As if that ratty powdery mildew was not bad enough they just aren't producing squash. Covered and covered in male blossoms so that it is a very big deal when a female blossom appears. All these plants are all different ages in that I have started seed and new plants at various times during the summer. Just want them to put out the female blossoms already again.
Looks like this thread is giving LOTS more info. than what to do with extra squash! Love IT!
But I have to share this intriguing idea I found on Pinterest. I have yet to try it... but I will very soon.
It is a step by step on how to turn your extras into canned pineapple. Yes you have to buy pineapple juice... but I just think the idea of turning the one into the other is pretty neat. http://cottageinthemaking.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/what-to-do-with-those-giant-zucchini.html
Last year I found a recipe to turn green tomatoes (end of season leftovers) into strawberry freezer jam using strawberry jello! It was awesome. Kids could not tell the difference! Neither could my husband who HATES tomatoes. But he was keen enough to ask where I had found all the strawberries... since I don't grow them. Now he wont eat it! His loss. Its definitely cheaper than buying the stuff in the store..
Ps... I just found my first squash bugs ever on pumpkins. Thanks for the info. on how to fight them..
My ONE zucchini plant has hidden 2 overgrown squash from me (they are now sitting out on the porch), and I may just try this recipe for them. Usually if I find an overlooked zuke, I cut them in half, remove the seeds and stuff them with a meat/tomato filling and bake, but this recipe would put something on the pantry shelves to use all winter.
My cushaw has now put out 3 fruits as big as my head. And I have a big head!
It's had its fair share of SVB and others taking it down, but after a long watering and some trimming back, it put out a bunch of new blooms this morning. All male blossoms, but I'll bet some new ladies come around in a few weeks.