Since this was my first year attempting a real vegetable garden, and since the preparations took so long that I worried I would NEVER get to plant anything, I began most of my crops as transplants. I bought the starter plants at various local nurseries, Home Depot, and even a hardware store. Each of the plants has done extremely well, and we are beginning to have nice harvests of cherry tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, and some yellow squash.
I have learned something, though, since planting all these little starters. You can never trust a label. Take, for instance, my yellow squash. The variety I love most to eat is summer squash. They look like pale green or yellow flying saucers, and taste buttery and succulent. As I purchased my corn seedlings, bell pepper plants, and zucchini, I added just one summer squash. I remember them taking a lot of room in the garden and being prodigious producers. So, just one should be a great start, with more next year from seed. Or so I thought.
The summer squash bloomed early, with big yellow blooms covering most of the vine. Along came shiny yellow ends, pushing the blooms away from the stalks. I waited for them to begin to fatten, rounding into the patty pan shape I remembered. They continued to grow, and began to look suspiciously like crook necks. I waited, maybe they will puff out at the last. Nope, these were imposters! No round patty pans for me, these were undeniably crook neck squash.
Oh well, really crook necks are fine by me. I waited until they looked harvest ready. About the size of those I find in the grocery store. Two beauties awaited me. One had real heft to it. The other…was…hollow. I sliced this one down the middle to find that an earwig was inside, feasting away unaware that his dinner had been removed from the garden. I figured as long as we get half the harvest it is all good. Next time I cut a couple of squash, same thing – one for me, one for the earwigs. Sigh.
We made a beautiful vegetable lasagna, using the yellow crook necks and the zucchini freshly picked from our garden. But, while the zucchini were moist and solid and tasty, the yellow squash was woody and seemed to be lacking in water content. Still, if it is growing in my garden, and if it can be used in a dish that still tastes good, I am going to allow it to grow.
Today rang the death knell for the poor yellow squash though. The leaves of the plant have begun to look spotty, and a powdery mildew had formed on the surfaces. Rather than let it spread to the other plants in the raised bed where the squash is located, I pulled it out. There were no more blooms and the last two squash had been harvested. Good-bye imposter squash!