This year we planted one full section of squash in the garden. The first Patty Pan (white scallop) seeds were started indoors in yogurt cups in early March. They sprouted great, but got leggy fast, even in my sunniest window. They were set out in the garden before the end of March.
Squash section of the garden, March 23, 2009
On March 23rd my garden helpers planted the rest of the squash seeds directly into the garden. Curtis made little dirt hills surrounded by a moat and a wall of dirt to help hold the water near the plants.
The idea was to plant 3-5 seeds on each hill, but apparently a few more were planted per hill than originally intended...
I count 15 plants on this hill. April 15th, 2009
We also added loops of soaker hose around each hill and throughout the squash section. The easy answer to this overabundance of squash would be to thin out the seedlings, but... the seeds were a mixed bag of 7 different types and I did not want to kill off any one kind by thinning too early. So I let ALL the squash grow, and grow and grow...
April 26, 2009
until I am now unable to walk in that section of the garden and have to wade through the thigh high plants to harvest squash.
June 16, 2009
In terms of productivity, the Caserta (light green squash with dark green stripes) has been the most productive. Second is the patty pan (white scallop), followed by zucchini, round squash, cocozelle (dark green curved with pale stripes). The poorest performers are the yellow squash, I have picked two tiny crookneck yellow squash, and only seen one straightneck yellow squash, but it was too mushy to cook with. I have tried hard to pick the squash small, to avoid them getting tough skinned and seedy. So far, I have only had to toss two or three that I had let grow for too long.
In terms of flavor and taste, my favorite is still the patty pan, followed closely by the round squash. The zucchini, caserta, and cocozelle all have similar flavor. The zucchini has a more firm flesh and it appears to resist getting seedy longer than the other varities.
Patty Pan with flower May 19th
Zucchini, Caserta, beans and potatoes
Caserta, 2 onions, round squash, beans
Next year, I hope to grow more of the vining varities of squash vertically (patty pan, and round). This year already, I have been able to train a few of the trailing round squash vines to grow up plant cages in the bed, that makes harvest much easier. I also need to allow more spacing, or thin more efficiently. Despite having clear favorites for the differnt types, I still would plant a wide variety, it is more fun to pick 5 different kinds than a bunch of just one or two varities.