Squash, anyone?

    • Plant an herb garden in a container near the kitchen door for convenient fresh spices like basil, oregano, parsley and thyme.
    • Calibrachoa, or Million Bells, look like miniature petunias and come in many unusual shades and blends. Plant them in full sun for a profusion of flowers from spring to frost.
    • Hang codling moth traps in apple trees to reduce the number of wormy apples in your harvest this year. Be sure to use a fresh pheromone (attractant).
    • Colorful Gerberas with their large, daisy flowers are a standout in containers. Water them infrequently and give them plenty of sun for flowers all summer.
    • Tomatoes and peppers can be set out now. Choose new hybrids or heirlooms for the flavors that you love.

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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