Thursday, November 19, 2009

2009 Overview Squash and Cucumbers

Costata Romanesco zucchini and Diamant cucumbers

The cucurbits had trouble this year, every one of them. They hated the cool, wet June and didn't grow much that month. They waited until the weather warmed up a bit in July. This was a particular problem with my zucchini. Usually I like to get it big and producing before the squash vine borers rip the vines to shreds in August. This year it had barely started producing by the time of the attack. My winter squash don't have this issue since this year I elected to grow only C. moschata which are resistant to the vine borer. And indeed I saw no damage from them.


  • May 23rd seeds direct seeded
  • No record of when they germinated, cucumbers had to be reseeded constantly due to death by slugs
  • July 26th, first zucchini picked (Dark Green)
  • August 1st, first cucumber picked
  • Sept 15th, my first Magdelena Big Cheese squash

My neck pumpkin never produced. It set a squash very late and I knew it didn't have time to ripen. My Magdelena vines only produced one fully ripe squash (and another maybe ripe, I'm going to cook it soon and see if it has flavor, if so I'll update this post with the new numbers). My Armenian cucumber set just one cucumber this year. Yup just one. The bright star in the cucurbits were my Diamant cucumbers. Though they started producing late and were much less prolific than usual, they still pulled out a good harvest overall and continued into October.

Squash blossoms


  • Neck Pumpkins, 2 plants to a hill (3'x3' area), one hill, zero harvest
  • Magdelena Big Cheese, 2 plants to a hill, two hills, one squash 3.3 lbs (possibly another at 2.6 lbs)
  • Dark Green Zucchini, 2 plants to a hill, one hill, 2.6 lbs
  • Costata Romanesco, 2 plants to a hill, one hill, 2.8 lbs
  • Squash Blossoms, 0.9 lbs (from all squash)
  • Diamant Cucumber, 6 plants, in 3 sqft, 8.45lbs (trellised)
  • Armenian Cucumber 2 plants in 1 sqft, 0.2 lbs (trellised)

Diseases didn't seem any more common than in previous years. The weather just slowed them down a lot. The plants had very few pests. The summer squash that was riddled with squash vine borer larvea. There was none on the winter squash. My experiment to try just C. moschata for winter squash was a rousing success in that regard. Maybe next year the weather will cooperate and I'll get a better yield. Slugs were an issue early on, but once the vines started growing they were no longer bothered.

Next year I'll continue to grow only C. moschata winter squash. Given that next year's location is more cramped (only two feet wide). I'm not going to plant in hills. I will plant in rows, probably with a two foot spacing. I loved the taste of Costata Romanesco zucchini much more than the other variety, so that will be the only one I grow. Diamant will continue to be my main cucumber. It can handle just about anything. Also last year I bought a big packet of them (very costly seeds, and cheaper in quantity), so I'm sure I'll be growing them for a few more years at least. This is a great thing since it seems to be able to produce no matter what. Their yeild might have been down from last year, but in three square feet they still produced over eight pounds, so pound for pound ended up being one of the top producers in the garden. Next year I ought to start the cucumbers in newspaper pots. In bad years the slugs really now down the direct sown seedlings, but they are fine if the plants have a few good leaves to start with. Also the Armenian cucumbers need more space. The Diamant do fine 8" apart, but the Armenians could probably use 12".


  1. How did the armenians taste? I think I missed that harvest. Mine all died this past spring, I think from the cold. Next year I am growing Butternut squash, I think they are bug resistant as well. They seem to produce heaps of squash.

  2. Dan, the Armenians tasted really good. They were a lot like a real cucumber. If I hadn't known they were in the melon family, I would never have guessed it from the taste.

    BTW I cooked up my Magdalena today and it tasted like a butternut but was a more mild taste. It also wasn't as sweet. It would probably make a good soup squash, but I'm not into squash soup. I like my squash sweet, so I probably won't grow it again next year. I may just go for butternut too unless I find some other weird squash in the Seed Savers Yearbook that I just have to try.

  3. Don't toss that cooked-up 'Magdalena', Daphne, make my curried pumpkin soup! (Recipe on PRA.) I promise you'll be a convert! Our squash and cukes were pathetic this year, too, except for our wonderful volunteer mini-pumpkin in one of the compost bins (we got six perfect pumpkins with no care whatever). Cold, dark and wet just doesn't cut it with squash and cukes! Sounds like you got a pretty decent crop considering.

  4. I know the feeling. One side you wants all the cool, interesting varieties well on the other side you want the basic good producing varieties. I'm hoping the basic side wins out more next season...

    By the way, I cooked up most of the tatsoi over the last few days. It is one nice green! I have had it in soup and a stir fry so far. I am thinking I could grow tatsoi in place of spinach. Similar taste but much less mushy and it does not get leaf miner. Seems like a winner to me.

  5. Silence, oh I didn't throw it away. I mix all the squash together and puree it. I love the mixed puree better than any individual squash variety.

    Yes the squash were pretty pathetic this year. Even the squash from the farmers markets were pretty sad. I'm just hoping next year we get some more sun. Last year we had a ton of rain too, but we had sun between the rain instead of constant clouds.