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Sowing Squash

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Successively sowing summer squash seeds surely secures a supply of squash and a successful season. We start in May and two months later planted the last three rows. Little ones are sprouting up as the old ones bite the dust.

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There are many kinds of summer squash, but none as early and prolific as Early Prolific Straightneck. I wonder where it gets it name? A crookneck is similar but has the more traditional curvy look. We call them yellow squash and fry them with oil and onions in butter, another squash we grow is Zepher, but half of it is light green.

Zucchini is the dark green one but this year ours is yellow instead. That’s because the variety is Gold Rush and it seems to be more resistant to the stem rot caused by the squash borer. The leaves of zucchini are also darker green and the stem is fatter than on the yellow squash.

As squash matures you might notice a pretty orange and black moth flying around. She lays her eggs near the base of the squash plant which hatch into the squash borer. This larva is responsible for the plant wilting and eventually rotting off at the stem.

In a small garden a piece of cloth or nylon stocking wrapped around the stem deters the moth from laying her egg there. A tennis racket can take care of the moth if you are know which one it is. Once the plant starts wilting they are hard o rescue. Splitting the stem and removing the worm is satisfying, but the plant rarely recovers.

Patty pans look like flying saucers. I’ve heard them called scallop squash, too. They come in yellow, white and a few shades of greens.

Our rows are almost 300 feet long, and the first planting of three rows suffered from lack of rain. We mulched them with hay, which helped a little. But it’s the second planting of four rows that are really producing now. I’ll probably mow the first ones down even though they still have squash because the quality is lower and we simply don’t need them.

This is a great advantage to successive sowing; if one planting doesn’t do week the next one will. You can never tell about the weather. A squash plant has a limited lifespan anyway, so if you want late squash in September it’s wise to sow seeds in July.

All plants want to reproduce. If we can keep the squash picked the plants will live longer. But once we miss a few fruit and they mature into caveman clubs the vigor goes way down and the satisfied plant happily withers away. We harvest squash every other day.

We sent over 20 bushels in last week. The CSA Members take it to their neighbors. The abundance of a garden needs mouths to feed, and community supported Agriculture is a great wat to distribute food. We just grow a bunch and send it to Nashville and let them deal with it. and our tiny sprouts will be producing squash on up until the first fall frost.