Friday, May 29, 2009

Squash : Pick Early Pick Often

In a couple days I hope to be picking some of our first squash from the garden. Squash is one of those prolific plants that will produce for long periods of time as long as you do the right thing to it help it along. It likes to be picked on repeatedly. In fact squash peters out when the fruits are allowed to grow on the plant without picking. It's best picked when it is 4-6 inches long - definitely don't let it grow to monstrous proportions! Even if you can't use the squash right away it's best to picked anyway just to keep your plant producing. Throwing a squash away (I would hate to do this!) is better than letting the plant go since it will completely shut down production.

Other things to worry about are squash bugs and squash vine borers. The squash bugs can be prevented by watching for tiny little clusters of eggs on the leaves then smushing them with your thumb. (There we go again committing thumbicide! Gardening sure does evoke the violent tendencies within us all.) The borers are a bit more difficult to contend with as they drill into the plants and cut off the vascular system between the roots and the rest of the plant. If you see a sawdust like substance by the stalk of your plant you probably have borers. You can avoid their damage some by doing sequential plantings or using row covers. After they have infested the squash you can try to cut them out or possibly bury other parts of the stem to propagate new roots but this just suspends the ineveitable.

Squash flowers are male and female and are pollinated by the bees. The female flowers are easy to see because what looks like small squashes are just below the flowers.  This is why bees are so important. Without them we would have to buzz around our own squash plants pollinating as we go just to get squash for our dinner tables. Sounds like a lot of unnessary work to me, I'd rather keep the bees!

Squash flowers are edible and are frequently eaten in a fried form. You can fry just about anything can't you?

These blossoms look good to me just as they are, on the plant waiting for their visit from the bees.  That way they can make me something for dinner! 

12 comments :

  1. Wow. That is cool getting a harvest in May. Good job. I have to admit to having some 24" zucchini last year. But seriously, they grow like a foot each day. Anyhows, very impressed with your squash.
    SG

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow. That is cool getting a harvest in May. Good job. I have to admit to having some 24" zucchini last year. But seriously, they grow like a foot each day. Anyhows, very impressed with your squash.
    SG

    ReplyDelete
  3. We harvested one squash the other day. Good gardening tips Dave. I love the blooms too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am jealous that your squash is almost ready to pick. Last year I had huge plants great looking blossoms and...... no squash. I assume its because I've seen hardly any bees. This year I planted in different place and will see how it goes.Still haven't seen many bees but hoping for the best. I've got lots of great recipes if you're looking for something new!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can hardly wait for squash blossoms, mmmmmmmm. I should have planted some squash earlier so I'd have some. I stuff them with cheese, batter them and pan fry them.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Good for you, Dave! I can almost taste those squash now! But what kind(s) are you growing? Is that a Yellow Crookneck (my favorite) I see?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great job Dave. I have squash plants but no fruit. It has been blooming for quite some time. I too don't see any bees but the ones I do see aren't doing their job. Sooooo still no squash. I really should have had squash the first of May.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Looks really good-and early too! Still so cool up here mine haven't done a thing. I think you should try fried blossoms. Let me know how it is and I'll try it too:)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I can't imagine getting a harvest of squash in May -- but that is what is so great about blogging - I get to see what's blooming in other parts of the country. P.S. - I LOVE fried blossoms and stuffed as well. -Jackie

    ReplyDelete
  10. wow I just transplanted my squash to the garden today! I hope they grow fast too!

    ReplyDelete
  11. nice work, i also just blogged my zucchini growing

    barry

    http://irish-oriental.blogspot.com/2009/05/courgettes-aka-zucchini.html

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great looking squash plants. I picked my first squash today and have probably 10 to 15 more that will be ready in a couple days. My zucchini are weird though, they began blooming before the yellow squash but seem to have "stalled" growing lately.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Tee

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for reading The Home Garden. Please feel free to comment on the posts, ask questions, offer suggestions, or just say hi!

I read every comment The Home Garden receives and appreciate the time you take to read about what I'm working on!

Dave

Advertising will be removed from comments as the administrator of this blog sees fit. If you wish to advertise please fill out a this contact form with your proposal.