Exciting Summer Squash

April 30, 2006

You’re probably sitting there asking “what could possibly be so exciting about any summer squash?”

Well, if you’ve limited your gardening to the typical zucchini and crookneck squash varieties, then there’s a lot that you may find interesting and exciting about some of the less common summer squashes.

I recently wrote an entry about Sunburst Patty Pan Squash, just one of many unique squash varieties that are easy to grow in the home garden. Following are a few more interesting summer squashes that will provide a change of pace from the ordinary dark green zucchinis that you sometimes can’t even give away.

  • Golden Zucchini – Very similar to the green zucchinis that everyone is familiar with, but the twist is that this variety is an attractive golden-yellow color. Just as productive and easy to grow, harvest when small for the best quality and to encourage higher yields.
  • Tromboncino – My favorite squash and one of the best tasting summer squashes that you can grow, a vining type that requires plenty of room or a trellis. Very unusual fruits resemble a butternut squash except that they are thinner, longer, and light green in color. Even if allowed to grow to two or three feet in length Tromboncino will remain tender and absolutely delicious.
  • Wood’s Prolific – This patty pan or scallop type is similar to Sunburst Patty Pan Squash except that the fruits are smaller and pure white in color. As its name suggests this one will provide you with enormous yields if you keep the fruits harvested.
  • Magda Cousa – A Middle Eastern, Lebanese style squash, this one is productive with a delicious, nutty flavor. The fruits resemble a zucchini except that they are shorter and plump with a light green color. This attractive variety is early maturing, very tender and delicate, a great choice for stuffing.
  • Costata Romanesca – An Italian heirloom zucchini. One unique feature of this variety is that the fruits are noticeably ribbed with alternating bands of light and dark green hues.
  • Ronde de Nice – That’s right, a zucchini that grows perfectly round squash fruits. Harvest tennis ball sized, dark green zucchinis and see what creative uses you can discover for them in the kitchen.

If you’re tired of family and friends going in the opposite direction when you come bearing gifts of zucchinis, try planting one of these unusual summer squash varieties. Instead of running away they’ll line up to find out about the new and interesting vegetables that you’ve harvested from your garden.

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  • carole

    This is my first year in Reno, and my c-n squash are shriveling at about 2″ in length; very disappointing. Got any ideas? I can’t tell if I’m over-watering or underwatering things. Also, would mulching help the soil stay cooler and if so, can I use grass clippings?
    thanks, and I like your column!

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Carole, sounds like blossom end rot. Just remove the affected squash fruits and the condition should improve as the season progresses.

  • Tamara

    Mine are shriveling too, I live in Texas. I am not sure if they are getting to much sun or what. I water one to two times a day. The leaves are nice and green and growing great, and I am still getting lots of flowering. But the squash is shriveling??

  • Karen

    I live in Texas and have tried growing summer squash twice, and both times some type of worm began eating the plant stalks from the inside out, creating a yellow mealy-looking matter. Is there an organic way to treat and/or prevent these from devouring my plants?

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Karen, sounds like a squash vine borer at work. I have heard of gardeners injecting the affected squash vines with a dose of Bt. Here’s a link to some info that may be of assistance to you: http://www.gardensalive.com/article.asp?ai=804.

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