Trombone squash - Ralph

mad_about_mickey(**7* *N.C.)March 17, 2011

You brought it to the past few swaps and had also made it into a tasty salad. Are the seeds available locally? What is the proper name? Thanks !

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Ralph Whisnant(z7b-8 NC)

I will be glad to bring you and anyone else who wants some both seed and a couple of plants to the swap. I got my seed originally from Tammy. The first time I grew them I did not get a mature squash to save seed from. Then Triangle John ordered a pack and gave me some two years ago. This year I inadvertently had 7 or 8 mature, so I have enough seed for half of Wake County. I have never seen the seed offered for sale locally. I do not remember the proper name (tromboncini?) for these Italian heirloom squash, but you do a search for Trombone squash, there are articles about them out there. If you do grow these it is best to have a fence or some other structure for them to climb on, but they will do ok on the ground. Last summer I had two vines and by the first frost they had vines going 30 feet in all directions. The vines can root where they touch the ground and they are very productive. Once they get spread out you can expect to gather 6 or 8 10-inch squash nearly every day, These "small" squash can be used any way that you would zucchini or yellow crookneck squash and are milder tasting, so in addition to cooking and stir frying them, we eat them raw in salads. The vines are very insect resistant unlike other summer squash which are usually dead deu to vine borers by mid-summer. You can let several produce mature squash without it stopping production of the smaller fruit. The mature fruit average 15 - 20 pounds and can be baked, mashed up and prepared like you would sweet potatoes or butternut squash. When we cut off a section of the end of a mature squash to cook it, we wrap the cut end with cling-wrap and it keeps until we cut the next section. I still have 2 and 1/2 of these and they show no signs of deteriation.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 1:26PM
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mad_about_mickey(**7* *N.C.)

Thank -you for responding. I would really like to try these this year, they were delicious. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 3:53PM
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Tammy Kennedy

wow- Ralph- you found out lots more than i did! I'm hoping they do stupendous out at the CSA garden, since they have so much more room & light than i do! I'll pass this info on to the founders. :)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 6:04PM
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Ralph Whisnant(z7b-8 NC)

Tammy, how many seed and/or plants would you like?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 11:51PM
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I've seen the seed packets available at Logan's downtown. Isn't the whole thing about them is that they are a gourd that tastes like a squash? That the vine borers leave them alone because they don't recognize them as a squash? I wonder if the old fruits would dry like a gourd?

I will be trying to crowd out some turf grasses with it this year by letting it run on the ground so by the Fall Swap we may be the Trombone Squash epicenter of the universe!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 9:46AM
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Tammy Kennedy

you know, John, i don't know. I suspected it was a gourd because of the shape, but if i remember right it has the yellow blooms like a squash, not white like a gourd- Ralph? If it has yellow, it could well be a cross, too. I assume they are cross-able since they are related. It is an old heirlooom from Italy- Zuchetta Rampichante Tromboncino is the long name. I got my seed originally from Pinetree, who still sell it. They say it's a zuch that grows like a squash, and that the runners are 5'. So obviously it grows a just a wee bit bigger in warm NC than in Maine. :)

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 11:23AM
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Ralph Whisnant(z7b-8 NC)

I have read an article that stated that these make a winter squash if left on the vine, but that they turn into a gourd if left for even longer. I do not believe this to be true. I normally harvest them about the time the blossom drops off or before and they are already over a foot long in many cases. If they are allowed to stay on the vine long enough (3 - 4 months), they produce a 4-foot long tan to light orange winter squash weighing 15 - 20 pounds. These mature squash are solid flesh from the stem end down to the relatively small seed cavity, so I cannot imagine them turning into a gourd no matter how long they were left on the vine. The most amazing thing about them is their keeping ability. We cut the top 6 inches from one about a month ago and put a piece of cling wrap over the cut end of the remainder. We baked the last section this week with virtually no signs of deteriation each time that we cut a new piece. After baking I sometimes cut this squash into small cubes and stir fry it along with carrots, mushrooms, spinach and whatever else is available from the garden, but most of the time we mash the baked squash and use it as a substitue for sweet potatoes in a dessert recipe we got from Southern Living Magazine. Cheryl has promised to bring one of these to our spring swap next month.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 1:48PM
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Tammy Kennedy

Do you refrigerate the portion you covered with cling wrap?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 10:55PM
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Tammy Kennedy

and how does the taste/texture compare to other winter squash? Which is it closest to?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 10:56PM
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I remember Carla talking about an heirloom squash that you could cut a piece off of while leaving it still on the vine and it would continue to grow and not be damaged by wound. That way you could cut only what you need for each meal.

When I grew bitter melon (which tastes like kerosene!) I would simply bite a bit out of it while leaving it on the vine to continue growing, sometimes it hurt them, sometimes it didn't.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 9:17AM
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woodsworm(7a NC)

All this is wondrously wierd! Ralph, you and Cheryl will be mobbed to get seeds and to taste this at the swap.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 6:40PM
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