Summer Squashes like yellow squash and zucchini are very easy to grow so long as you give them plenty of space to spread out and are diligent about bug control. Allow 3-4 of space between the plants and they’ll take over like some kind of mutant alient plant. Keep them watered and feed with an organic fertilizer every 3 weeks.  Watch those blooms carefully; one day you have pretty blooms and a couple of days later you better pick those little squashes, ideally when about 6″ to 8″ long. Overgrown squash is tough to eat; they’re best picked and eaten young.

English: Squash bug nymphs (Anasa tristis). Photo courtesy WikipediaOH NO! SQUASH BUGS!

Squash bugs have become my greatest garden enemy. While I’m not a huge squash fan (I usually want it about once a month in the summer), this is the 5th year in a row that they have arrived just as squash production is in full force. Squash bugs also attack cucumers, and this REALLY gripes me because I’ll eat cukes every day without tiring of them.

Both of these plants were equally beautiful one day, and the very next day the shrivelled plant on the left signaled the invasion of the squash bugs.

Squash bugs strike without warning. One day the plants look great, the next day they’re shrivelled up and dying, like the photo at right.

I read earlier to put fireplace ashes around the plants, which I did when they were planted. A deep, wide ring of ashes as it’s said squash bugs don’t like to crawl across them to get to the plant. This didn’t work for me. Maybe I was supposed to repeat the treatment every so often, but feared too much ash could harm the plants as much as a squash bug. So I didn’t reapply.

Four days ago I went outside and found this horrible sight. I marched in and Googled “squash bug remedies” and found the quickest way to kill them is seek and destroy. I removed bits of leaves that had those tiny little orange eggs on them, and threw them into a bowl of water with dish detergent in it. I plucked off adults and babies, and drowned them in the dishwater too. I murdered every one I could find.

Leaf parts containing squash bug eggs, plus babies and adults, drowning in a bowl of soapy water – much to my delight.

(One thing that has helped is that I put in squash plants in 4 places in the garden. Single plants that were tucked in amongst other plants have been unaffected. But it’s hard for a squash bug to miss seeing those big pretty yellow blossoms, so I’m being vigilant

Then I filled an empty bottle with watered down dish detergent and sprayed the plants really good. I’ve been re-inspecting the plants every morning and find a stray bug here or there, and drown them in the bowl of dishwater death, too. So far I’m winning the battle, but it’s only day 4 of the siege.

My neighbor puts coffee grounds on her summer squash plants and said this is working for her; apparently squash bugs don’t like the bitter coffee taste. We have a Keurig coffee maker and getting the grounds out of those little K-cups is a lot of work. I do recycle those grounds, but it would take several days to accumulate enough to douse a squash plant.

I’ve read that planting hot peppers with your squash plants also deters squash bugs, so I’ll definitely try that out next year.

It’s one thing for me to be sick of squash, it’s another for bugs to rob me of that opportunity before I’m ready. Besides, I’ve tried out some new squash recipes and found some that I actually enjoy, which I’m sharing.

Common goldfish in a pond

If you have a goldfish pond, reward your little fishies with some zucchini. I cut it in long wedges and throw it in the pond and they love it! My fish won’t eat yellow squash but they’re happy to take care of my extra zukes for me.


OLD VIRGINIA FRIED SQUASH & POTATOES

Here’s the family recipe for yellow squash and potatoes fried in bacon fat, the way all southerners are required to learn to cook it.

4 small (6″ long) yellow squash
2 medium potatoes
1 medium onion
4 slices bacon
1/2 green, orange or red pepper
salt & pepper to taste
*Optional: add some fresh cayenne or hot banana pepper for extra color & spiciness

Slice the squash, dice the onions and pepper, and cube the potatoes. Fry bacon. Remove bacon from pan, add potatoes & cook until about half done (if you like crunchy fried potatoes, cook until crunchy and remove from pan). Add squash, green pepper & onions, plus salt & pepper to taste. If you removed the potatoes for the crunchy option, add to back to pan to warm before serving.

Variation: use corn instead of OR in addition to the potatoes

SQUASH PIE

OK, you’re not going to believe the secret I’m about to divulge. You can use yellow squash to make a sweet pie that tastes JUST LIKE cocoanut pie!

1-1/2 cups grated yellow squash
1 cup sugar
3 tsp all-purpose flour
2 eggs
2 tsp lemon extract
2 tsp vanilla extract

Wash & peel the squash. Cut in half length-wise. Scoop out the seeds & grate the squash. Mix all the ingredients together with the squash. Put mix in pie shell ( it will be soupy, don’t let that worry you) and bake for about 45 minutes on lower rack.

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One Response to “Squash and Zucchini”

  1. olemike Says:

    Thanks for checking out my blog and also for the ideas. We can always use new ways to prepare out squash.

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