Sunday, August 18, 2013

Squash, Melon Update

The melons have pretty much been a bust this year. I have brought one into the kitchen, but the rest of what I would normally expect to harvest from the plants in the garden either never formed, were bored/gnawed into by bugs/caterpillars, or are just beginning to form now, when the vines are far enough gone with Downy Mildew that the fruits are not going to reach maturity before the vines die.

This will add another year to my de-hybridization project for the canary melons,  but at least I got to enjoy one of my favorite melons this year. I am saving seed from my lone melon, with a note that it was produced in a horrifically wet, cool summer. These seeds may be useful someday.

Considering how rough the summer has been on the melons, I am happy to be able to report that the butternut squash seem to be doing well enough. From the three vines, I've brought in six squash, lost a few to pickleworms, and there are a few more on the way.

Butternut changes from green, to whitish, and then to tan when mature.
Butternut is one of the confusing category of squashes called "Winter squash." It isn't grown in the winter; it is planted in spring, pretty much when the zucchini go in the ground. The name comes from the way the squash keep through the winter without much special help. They just need a cool, out of the way spot to hang out, and they will be in good shape well into February and beyond.

In truth, they won't even be that great to eat until they've done some of that "hanging out" for awhile. The sugars develop over time, and it can take a month or so for them to reach their flavor peak.

Soon, I will be clearing the bed that currently holds the melon and butternut squash plants, regardless of whether all the squash have matured. It's time to get more of my cool-season seeds into the ground!

4 comments:

  1. What a summer it has been here in Atlanta!!! I really didn't want to complain too much because it was very cool summer and we needed the rain....But dang! Enough is enough already, we gardeners need some sunlight too. Oh yeah, your squash looks lovely. I'm just hoping my lone zucchini plant has survived.

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  2. Apparently, the squashes can get along with a lower light level (so many thick, dark clouds this year) than the tomatoes, which have just limped along. I hope your zucchini and rest-of-your-garden have done well enough! -- Amy

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  3. Went outside today,and found my zucchini plant is doing well. You are so right about the tomatoes limping along. For awhile, I was starting to get concerned about my okra plants,but now they're producing.Everything else is doing okay in the garden,and now I'm glad I didn't plant eggplant this year because I probably would've been highly disappointed. Well, happy gardening to you!

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  4. Hi Shelly - Glad to hear that the zucchini survived. This year has been full of both weirdness and miracles! That your okra is just now kicking in sounds about right. It will keep going right up to the first frost, so you probably have a couple of months (or more!) of fried okra to look forward to. Thanks for the update! -Amy

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