Squash in the Garden

    • Petunias can be planted now. Their bright flowers will bloom all summer in hot, sunny locations and they will take a light frost.
    • “Topsy Turvy”®Tomato and Pepper Planters are a fun and convenient way to enjoy these popular vegetables hanging right outside your kitchen door.
    • The average date of the last frost in Willits is May 12. So protect young flowers and vegetables on clear, cold nights.
    • Begin spraying roses now for insect and disease problems. Neem oil is a good product for a less toxic solution.
    • Put up hummingbird feeders now and enjoy these colorful and entertaining birds.

Squash, Anyone?

The squash family provides us with such a wide variety of vegetables that differ so greatly in size and shape that it is sometimes hard to believe that they are related. They are divided into two groups: summer squash and winter squash.

Summer squash are dominated by the ever popular zucchini. Available now in both green and yellow as well as black, gray and striped, they each have a slightly different flavor and each have their followers.

Other summer squashes include scalloped squash or Patty Pan or sometimes Scallopini. This easy-to-grow and prolific squash is round and flattened like a plate with scalloped edges, and white, yellow or green in color.

Round bush zucchini has numerous ball-shaped fruit that are perfect for stuffing. And the well-known yellow crookneck is a delicious squash. Plants will bear continuously when regularly harvested at 5 to 6 inches long.

Summer squash are wonderful picked fresh from the garden, but the fruit can only be stored for 1 to 2 weeks. So-called winter squash are types that develop a hard shell and can be stored for many months and used throughout the winter.

Winter squash include varieties such as Butternut, Buttercup, Spaghetti, Acorn, Delicata and Banana.

Acorn squash is a winter squash with distinctive ridges and sweet, yellow-orange flesh. The most common type is dark green in color and it is a handy smaller size for baking.

Banana squash is the king of squashes growing up to 4 feet long and anywhere from 10 – 70 pounds, though they average between 10 and 20. It has an elongated shape, with light pink or orange skin and bright orange flesh and will provide dozens of winter meals.

Buttercup squash has a turban-shape (a flattish top and dark green skin) and deep-orange flesh with a sweet and mild flavor.

Butternut is one of the most popular varieties. They have a smooth, long-necked bowling pin shape with tender flesh that offers a creamy flavor. This old favorite offers fine eating and consistent flavor.

Delicata, also known as the sweet potato squash, is creamy and sweet with a mild aroma. Oblong and cylindrical, it is creamy-yellow with green, sometimes orange, vertical stripes.

Hubbard squash is a large dark blue to green squash with a tear-drop shape, very hard and bumpy skin and tender yellow flesh with a rich flavor. There is also a golden-skinned variety.

Spaghetti squash have a hard rind, and unique flesh that separates into strings when cooked for a “spaghetti”-like dish. It makes a low-calorie substitute for pasta.

Make room for some new varieties of squash in your garden and enjoy their many flavors all summer and through the winter months.

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