Saturday, May 19, 2012

"Ya win some, ya lose some"


I'm calling it -- 2012 is definitely my garden's best squash year ever. I've never managed to get more than a couple of squash out of my spring garden, so the fact that I've harvested four 'Tatume' squash this week puts this year's crop in first place.
'Tatume' squash

'Tatume' squash are quite firm, even when harvested small -- which is quite a challenge, because they produce so prolifically and the leaves are so huge! (This one is roughly baseball sized.) Huge bonus - zero sign of squash vine borers. The stems of 'Tatume' are solid, so they're considered more resistant to borer damage.
'Tatume' squash

Jack just asked me, "Um...so, what are we going to do with all these squash?" Why, eat them, of course! There's oodles of recipes in my Victory Garden cookbook for squash -- stuffed, sauteed, fried, stewed, roasted, grilled, and baked. Of course you can also grate them and bake them into breads and cakes.

Sadly, I can also say this is so far my worst tomato year ever. The plants look healthy and are blooming, but I've got really poor fruit set; the flowers just fall off. All I have to show so far are these two small 'Green Zebra' tomatoes (and a 'Sun Gold' that didn't make it into the house for photos). These tomatoes are about the size of those Campari® tomatoes from the grocery store.
'Green Zebra' tomatoes

Oh well - ya win some, ya lose some. Not that I've given up on the tomatoes altogether, but things aren't looking promising. I didn't plant Cherokee Purples this year, and now I'm regretting it. So, how is your veggie garden doing? I'd love to know!

Words and photos © 2009-2012 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

18 comments:

  1. Those are beautiful squash and tomatoes. It's funny, not 5 minutes before looking at your blog I told my husband that this has been our best summer vegetable garden ever. The squash is thriving and (knock on wood), we only had 1 vine borer and I snuffed him out. I've applied beneficial nematodes, covered the base of the plant squash with foil, then straw on that and then applied BT. The plants are beautiful with lots of squash growing. The tomatoes are thriving but are not turning red or purple or black. Will they ever turn, I wonder? They've been hanging there taunting me for weeks now, 8 plants in all. I'm either going to have the mother lode of tomato harvests or nada. Congrats on your squash harvest. Enjoy!

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    1. I imagine those tomatoes will have to turn sometime! I once harvested a bowl of pure green tomatoes in the fall and they all eventually turned red. Keep the faith!

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  2. Those squash look good. I got some Tatume seeds at Natural Gardener last weekend. A young man there said they are pretty vine borer resistant. I'd given up on yellow squash, because of the borers.
    We have a few tomatoes coming along. Still have some time left before the heat really sets in....I hope.

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    1. I'm really impressed with these squash, Linda. Last year, the heat set in about this time -- 101 on May 25, 2011!

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  3. Those squash look yummy!! Sorry about the tomato crop! The Zebra ones look neat- don't think I have seen those. We did Celebrity, Creole, Sweet 100 and Yellow Pear this year and are having more tomatoes than we can eat! I put them out for customers to take. Don't want them to go to waste!!!

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    1. I want to try Yellow Pear next year! I've heard great things about them.

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    2. Yea, my yellow pear have a ton of fruit. They should start ripening this week. I've had good luck with them for several years.

      I'm excited to try the Tatume squash next season. Yours look great.

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  4. Those squash do look good/ I notice Linda says they are vine borer resistant. Maybe that explains the success. However, I am having the best year ever for zucchini. Never had so many and no sign of the borer yet although I had these plants covered until they burst through the netting! As for tomatoes ANs yes- stuffed squash, sauteed squash have been n the menu every night. I have had loads of ripe celebrity but the plants are looking pretty sick now. their time has come.

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    1. I don't know why I didn't try these squash before. I tried 'Costata Romanesco' squash last year but only got a couple before the plants died (drought, not borers). 'Celebrity' did well for me last year (another variety I didn't plant this year). It's really odd the 'Juliet' and 'Sun Gold' tomatoes are so late to produce, they're usually so reliable.

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  5. I've been wanting to plant these; by golly, next year I will! I just love them and the fact that they don't have the borer problem is a plus. Gorgeous pictures, too. On your tomatoes, do you need to shake them up a bit: maybe not pollinated? Or just freaked out with our swing weather?

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    1. I thought it was the temp swings, but others are doing well with tomatoes in the same climate. I planted a lot of new varieties this year and I'm not impressed with any of them yet. The squash has lots of bees but I haven't seen many around the tomato flowers. Maybe I should get out there with a Q-tip!

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  6. As I've said, I didn't do a spring garden because of the potential for extended drought (based on the prediction of last fall) . As such I don't have any of my normal plants--though two of the peppers made it through the winter, a volunteer basil plant came up, and I have one tomato in the growbox...first year of only doing 1 tomato plant...man, it's tough.

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    1. It's tough being a farmer! I miss having homegrown tomatoes.

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  7. Those squash look excellent. I've grown the Tatume in prior years and I really like them. I just harvested my potatoes and will probably harvest onions and garlic in the next couple of weeks. My green beans and cucumbers are going crazy. My peppers and tomatoes are coming in steady. Thanks to the Juliet tomato, I'll never want for tomatoes. My watermelon and cantaloupe are producing, but the plants are lack luster and sickly looking. I'm not sure what's wrong. You're right... win some... lose some.

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    1. I'm debating whether to harvest my potatoes now or wait a full 120 days (I have this internal debate every year!). They never bloomed but I've read that doesn't matter. What varieties of melons did you plant? I just planted mine a couple of weeks ago.

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  8. Beautiful squash! My zucchini is also producing well, and plenty of tomatoes have set but no color yet (yellow pears, black plums, and volunteers). As for squash recipes, last night we had zucchini stuffed with mint and feta, then grilled; I highly recommend it!

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    1. Oh, wow, that sounds fantastic -- and I have fresh mint, too! Thanks for the recipe idea!

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  9. Year of the squash! Caroline, it's so difficult getting crops with all the insects, birds and furred animals that are after them. In other years I've grown beautiful melons but never tasted a single bite so we usually just try to protect a few tomato & pepper plants. We've had some peppers in the last couple of weeks and the first tomatoes ripened over the weekend. But boy, that Tatume squash is tempting! In Illinois our favorite variety to grow was 'Kuta' but they seem to have disappeared from the seed catalogs... wonder if the squirrels would share Tatumes?

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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