More and more summer squash!
What would we do without our summer squash?
There are stages of summer squash growing.
Stage 1 is planting. This is when new gardeners often get tripped up by planting Way Too Much summer squash. But I’m an old seasoned gardener, so I went with three varieties, three hills, five seeds in each hill which I thinned out to two seedlings per hill. Pro!
Stage 2 is watching them grow. This is when you wonder if they’ll really grow as big as you remember. They will. Trust the seedlings!
Stage 3 is when they are blooming. Such big beautiful yellow blooms they have. First the male blooms come along, then the female blossoms follow allong and if you are a good gardener, the bees will visit and soon you’ll have little squashes forming. Welcome bees! (Did you see my video of bees in squash blossoms?)
Stage 4 is when you are getting just enough summer squash that you can keep up with eating it as you harvest it. You are diligent in checking your squash plants every day and picking squashes that are no bigger than a large cucumber. You can easily keep up with eating what your three hills are producing. Squash is good the first few times you eat it!
Stage 5 is when you miss picking squash for a few days and suddenly realize that you aren’t keeping up as you thought you would, as you promised yourself you would. Now there are three or four or a dozen extra squashes on the kitchen counter and some of them are getting just a bit bigger than you’d like. It’s time for zucchini bread recipes, or really any recipe that calls for A LOT of squash. Need new recipes!
Stage 6 is when you go out to the garden early one morning and see a gigantic squash hiding beneath one of the gigantic leaves. And you most definitely know that you picked all the squash that was there the day before so how is it even possible for one squash to grow that big in one day? Garden fairies hid it!
This is the stage I’m at now. I picked a big squash this morning.
But not to worry that all those squash plants will keep producing, forcing you to drastic measures to use up or get rid of all you squash. (I listed some of those measures in my book, Homegrown and Handpicked.)
Stage 7 is rapidly approaching. This is when you notice that there are a few leaves dying because the squash vine borers have arrived, unpacked from their trip from wherever they came from, and taken up residence in several of the stems. This means that more “travelers” are arriving, namely the squash bugs. They’ll just show up one day and brazenly begin eating the squash. Bad bugs! But you are still managing to pick a few more squashes even with the arrival of the bad bugs. Not like before, but there are a few to pick.
Then it’s time for Stage 8. That’s when you’ll get fed up with the whole mess of dying plants and pull them out, along with the any squash vine borers and squash bugs, stuff them in a trash bag and then won’t those bugs wished they’d chosen some other garden to visit this summer as they await their fate in the trash bag, which in my case is the city incinerator! Buh-bye till next year!
And then Stage 9 arrives. You’ll wonder if you pulled the squash plants too soon. Oh well, you can’t unpull them so where the squash was growing, plant some more rows of green beans. There should be just enough time for them to grow and fix a little nitrogen in the soil, flower and grow beans before frost.
And finally we reach Stage 10. The last of the squash has been eaten and but you’ve frozen some of it so in stage 10, you can pull out a bag of frozen squash from the freezer on a cold wintry day and fondly remember how nice it is to have a garden and too much squash.
I hope everyone is now in the throes of squash stages 4, 5, and 6. Those are the best stages to be in. Later today, I’ll freeze up some squash so I can enjoy a stage 10 moment… conjuring up a warm summer day on a cold wintry day by pulling out a bag of frozen squash to eat and remember.