My family really enjoys squash and zucchini; even our 5 year old does not complain when it is brought to the table. I have some problems with growing these vegetables. Squash bore can take out up to ½ of a crop. When the vegetables are ready to pick, keeping up with the harvest can become a challenge. If they are not killed by the squash bore most plants will contract powdery mildew and die before the season is over. Every year I plant over two dozen summer squash and zucchini plants knowing that I need to compensate for the challenges. This year I grew a (new to me) variety of squash that fixes all of the issues!
Tromboncino Squash, also known as Zucchino Rampicante Squash, is an Italian heirloom vining zucchini and winter squash. It is October, the end of the growing season here, and the plants do not have any squash bore damage or mildew. Tromboncino is a sprawling thick-vined plant that curls if left to grow on the ground. Trellising helps the squash grow straighter and if you have a small space, this is one plant you should trellis, (my vines are over 12 feet long!). The curling gives the squash good character however makes it a little harder to prepare in the kitchen.
The squash takes about 70 days to mature to the green stage; at this point the squash can be picked and used as a green zucchini. If left to grow longer, the squash will get up to 3 feet long and be used as a winter squash. There is no way to pick this squash too late; if you miss the green stage, just let it go until you have a winter squash.
The neck of each squash is seedless. This makes preparing it very easy and each squash gives you pounds of seedless flesh to roast, grill, or bake. The bottom bulb of each squash contains the seeds which are very useful. The seeds are easy to scoop out (like you do with a butternut) and can be saved as seeds for next year’s garden or roasted and eaten like pumpkin seeds.When eaten in the green stage, the squash tastes like a cross between a zucchini and mild asparagus.
If you let the squash ripen on the vine the flesh turns orange and tastes like a cross between a butternut squash and a sweet potato. Our favorite way to prepare this or any other squash is roasted with a little salt and pepper.
Roasted Squash and Zucchini
6 cups zucchini cut into large chunks
6 cups yellow squash cut into large chunks
2 tbsp olive oil* plus extra for greasing pan
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Grease roasting pan with olive oil
Chop zucchini and yellow squash and put into a large bowl.
Drizzle olive oil over squash. Mix with a large spoon until squash is evenly coated.
Sprinkle salt, and pepper over squash. Mix with a large spoon until squash is evenly coated.
Pour squash onto roasting pan and spread it out until it evenly covers the pan.
Bake 30-45 minutes stirring once until cooked through and lightly brown.
*you can also use coconut oil or avocado oil