Thanks to my neighbor, Valeria, who shared her trombetta squash seeds last spring, I’ve had a blast growing this interesting and flavorful squash in our Victory Garden. Yes, we put in a new, small garden when coronavirus hit and Fayetteville first went into self-quarantine. I’m so glad we did. This unusual squash variety has provided so much more than food on our table.
Along with milkweed, it is one of the most entertaining thing growing in our garden. And we can probably all agree that during the summer of coronavirus, anything that provides entertainment has become a commodity.
Especially if you can eat it.
First, the technical info.
Trombetta squash (origin Italy) is also known as Tromboncino and Zucchetta.
Its scientific name is Cucurbita moschata ‘Tromboncino’.
Yes, it looks like a little trumpet or trombone. And I’m not kidding when I say it will bring music to your garden. It has for me…
Let’s look back on the summer of Trombetta Squash, shall we?
May 23, 2020: Today I built a 7″ to 8″ bamboo trellis to support my future trombetta squash vines. I planted three seeds, one at the base of each pole. Since I’ll soon harvest the red onions growing in and around the bamboo trellis, I thought this spot, beside the coneflowers and aromatic aster, would be ideal for the trombetta squash vines.
Now, grow. Please.
June 3, 2020: After being home on the farm a few days, I’ve returned to find my seeds have not only germinated, but they have grown to be sturdy little seedlings.
I think they look a bit like soybean babies.
June 7, 2020: Is it my imagination, or have my seedlings doubled in size in only 4 days???
June 22, 2020: There’s serious growing happening. All three squash plants are sending up tendrils along the trellis.
Success! Fingers-crossed and knock-on-wood. It’s probably too early to brag.
June 26, 2020: Umm, perhaps once again I have underestimated and over-planted. For now, the trombetta squash is coexisting with the coneflowers, but I sense a competition brewing.
July 4, 2020: Honey, the trellis shrunk… Somehow.
July 8, 2020: First Blossom!!! He’s a whiskery little fellow. I’m in love!
July 9, 2020: Once you begin to have kids, it doesn’t take long and you’ve outgrown your space. This morning I relocated the aromatic aster and added two more bamboo teepees. Connecting the three teepees with eight foot poles, I channeled my Tinker Toy playing days. Now the trombetta squash can vine until her heart is content.
Lucky for us we have an unlimited supply of bamboo. (That’s the first time I’ve ever said that!)
July 12, 2020: Happy, happy!
July 19, 2020: A tiny frog has taken up residence in the land of the trombetta squash. He rests beneath the large leaves and sometimes suns on top of them. So stinkin’ cute. I’ve named him Freddie.
July 22, 2020: Baby squash!
July 28, 2020: Is it weird to visit your squash babies several times a day? I think not. Babies need attention to flourish.
July 29, 2020: Bunnies have moved into our garden, and as much as I love to watch them, I am NOT going to let them have my first squash. Yes, I harvested our first plant today. If the bunnies hadn’t been eyeing it, I might have let it grow another day or two.
July 30, 2020: (morning) Ooooh, the magic ingredient. Rain!
July 30, 2020: (afternoon) Rain = squash vine in overdrive.
August 4, 2020: What if I’ve really planted a magic beanstalk? Oooh. The possibilities.
August 4, 2020: Today we enjoyed a tasty squash, radish, and dill salad. I grew the squash (and dill) and now I feel like I could conquer the world. Ha.
August 5, 2020: Did I really only plant three seeds? Today I added two more bamboo teepees. The trellis itself has become garden artwork. At least I tell myself this as I rearranged the chairs around the fire pit.
It’s too hot for a fire pit anyway.
The bunnies have been feasting on the lowermost vine leaves. I sprayed a rabbit repellent to deter them. Now they are eating my coral bells.
August 6, 2020: Today my squash trellis officially became a squash house. I added a fallen tree limb over the front and now there’s a “doorway”. Very zen-ish in my opinion. Reminds me of the tea houses in Japan.
August 8, 2020: Annabelle does yoga while I harvest squash. During the time of coronavirus, we have lush outdoor spaces and ways to socially distance with friends and family. Others aren’t so lucky.
August 9, 2020: We are spending a week at the lake. Night one, and I’m sautéing my homegrown squash with a little olive oil and dill. Tasty with the spaghetti my sister is making. Full bellies. Full hearts.
August 16, 2020: Thank goodness my trombetta squash survived without me a whole week. Not gonna lie, I missed checking on my garden every day. Okay, multiple times a day. P.S. Those female blossoms on the end of the vegetables were showing off for me when I returned. They truly look like musical instruments.
You can practically see the humidity in this picture.
August 19, 2020: Made zucchini carrot bread today substituting grated trombetta squash for zucchini. The bread was so moist and delicious. We ate the whole loaf in record time. I’m calling this a healthy dish because it included coconut oil and Greek yogurt. Not to mention vegetables!
August 20, 2020: The monarchs have taken to sunning from the topmost leaves of the squash vine. They also seem to appreciate the shelter the large leaves provide when laying eggs on the milkweed growing underneath the squash.
There’s a monarch caterpillar feasting on milkweed now. What an unexpected bonus!
August 21, 2020: My neighbor harvests her squash blossoms, stuffs and bakes them. I’ve thought about doing this too (and deep frying mine), but our blossoms are FILLED with bees and other insects. Even though I know the blossoms are a delicacy, I’ve decided to leave them for the pollinators. Maybe later… I suspect we will continue to have plenty for some time.
August 22, 2020: They grow up so fast!
August 25, 2020: The dog days of summer are here. The sunlight has a different slant to it as the days shorten. Even the trees have begun to turn. I wonder if my trombetta squash will pick up speed in the cooler weather or begin to decline?
My guess is they will provide a nice fall bounty.
August 27, 2020: When my friend first gave me seeds, she said if I let one squash grow really large at the end of the season, I can harvest seeds from it to plant next spring. (Typically, trombetta squash is harvested before the seeds form.)
Sooooo….. I’ve been letting one grow and grow for several weeks. It had grown so large it was beginning to pull the trellis sideways. Today, John and I harvested it. He held it while I cut it from the vine.
Voila! I hope there are seeds inside this huge guy. (If the fair hadn’t been cancelled this year, I would have entered it!)
I’ll update you on the seed situation when I cut into it. I’ll be saving that project for another day / week.
August 27, 2020: I tried a new recipe from Bon Appetit using some of the squash I harvested a few days ago. It’s called Cheesy Zucchini Eggplant Bake and it’s a keeper!
Recipe changes to suit my ingredients: I omitted the eggplant, using a trombetta squash from my garden and summer squash from my SIL’s garden. And I used small Arkansas Traveler tomatoes rather than grape or cherry tomatoes. You can’t go wrong with Arkansas Travelers.
August 28, 2020: Here’s how my squash vines look today.
Yesterday afternoon I saw a hummingbird perched on the topmost bamboo pole. This morning, I spied a bright yellow goldfinch eating from the dried coneflower seedhead beneath the vines.
Nature is amazing. I say it all the time, because it’s true.
I had no idea when I planted those three little seeds that an entire ecosystem would ultimately grow, providing not only food for our table, but also shelter, protection, and nourishment for birds and bees and butterflies and frogs and bunnies, and probably even critters/insects I’ve not noticed.
There are at least 12 trombetta squash babies growing today. While I expect the vines will continue to flourish through fall, I will end my diary now knowing that already those three little seeds have blessed me beyond measurement.
Thanks for reading what has possibly been my longest blog post ever. This post may also, for the first time, truly encompass all four words I always end with—Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.