RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Squash

Squash Vine Borers

June 12, 2021

If you are like me, you dread the thought of pests like the squash vine borer invading your garden. Beverly sent this helpful note this afternoon with a few tips.

I have been enjoying the stunning growth of the squash “volunteers” around Raincatcher’s. Last year’s plants dropped seeds that have become this year’s squash plants.  Having a big concern about squash borers, I read up on the subject.

 It seemed necessary to check each plant daily for the sawdust colored frass (poop) that appears at the stem when the larva is present.

After a week of wondering if I would be able to identify it, eureka! The squash plant below was planted in the Sensory Garden of the Edible Landscape. It went from healthy looking to kind of unhealthy looking overnight.

The next picture shows a close-up of the frass.  I removed the diseased section of the plant and replanted the remainder of the squash plant with 3 nodes in the soil.

Extra mulch seems to be helping other squash plants evade the borer so far. Continued vigilance will help us to slow down the squash borer population at least a little bit.

Beverly Allen, Dallas County Master Gardener Class of 2018

Many years ago at our Joe Field Location we had a lunch with every menu item made from squash starting with squash blossoms quesadillas! Links to the articles are provided below.

Squash squash and more squash

Squash recipes following our squashme event

August Garden Survey II

 It’s August and  I wanted to write a little something for the blog that would encourage our readers and remind them fall is coming.   Here’s Patti Brewer’s reply when everything seemed so bleak and no rain was in sight:

Well, I’m flattered you asked.  This spring we had the shortest growing season I’ve ever experienced in all these years.

 We had one big flourish of zucchini and yellow squash and then  production was halted because of the intense early heat  and lack of rain out west of Ft Worth where I veggie garden. This area is not the same growing zone as Dallas!
 Squash plants were babied when the spring would not come and covered  up when a freeze came through in late April; then the heat came with a vengeance. Plus I am ruthless for “squashing” the squash bugs and their eggs that always appear. I am blaming the limited squash harvest on the on the heat and lack of rain.
Patti, we agree it’s not  your fault! 

Brewer Vegetable Garden Earlier This Year

The only thing we are harvesting  now is jalapeños and Serrano peppers. Bell peppers are struggling. We usually get our most productive harvest of peppers in Oct and Nov.

It was 111 degrees one weekend in July!   We are sandy loamy soil. So you can imagine how things are barely hanging on in the veggie garden.

Blooms on a Regenerated Spring Tomato in 100 degrees-August 2018

I am trying to regenerate about half of our spring tomato plants. I will sprinkle our homemade compost on the tomatoes and peppers this weekend because it is getting down in to the low 70’s

We are not on a drip irrigation system in the garden. I have mulched and mulched again which has helped. We were a failure at beets. Not sure why. I do have a loofa growing on supports that the English peas were growing on in the early spring, But It hasn’t bloomed yet.




For the fall we always plant the following: mustard and turnip greens, garlic, spinach, turnips and kale. Sometimes we don’t plant the spinach or kale till November.

I will be planting a new area for wildflowers in September. I have harvested many wildflower seeds from this past spring! Just hope we get the rain for those to germinate. Our farm locate west of Weatherford is experiencing big time drought.

Orb Spider Spins a Victim!



My  recent video of a hummingbird hawk moth and a picture of an Orb spider mummifying a grasshopper have been our entertainment. All from out here in Palo Pinto county!!


Patti, did you get any rain in the last week?

Yes!!! As of August 19th, we have received almost 3 inches!!  I’m seeing my bluebonnets sprouting!! I have a new seeded wildflower plot that is 20 X 25 feet. That makes me happy. Loofah is vining like crazy. Still waiting on it to bloom. Tomatoes and peppers have so many promising blooms!!  I have a few tomatoes on the vine too!!

Temperatures although mostly still in upper 90s with lows in the low 70s are making my garden happy. Black eyed peas are up along with mustard and turnip greens. Kale is up because I shook the dried seeds from my kale plants from last winter! Previously planted in the summer was zipper cream peas and black eyes. They look great now and I picked some even. I planted Blue Lake Bush green beans yesterday.

Rain was very important for our entire place. Fall is my most favorite season!!

Patti Brewer, Master Gardener class of 2012


A Musical Squash for the Edible Garden

Have you wanted to grow squash in your vegetable garden but find that your plants are plagued by squash vine borers before you can harvest even one squash?  Or maybe you are looking for a variety of squash that can be used both as a summer or winter squash?  Or perhaps you would just like to try growing an unusual squash that would be an exotic addition to any edible landscape.  If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then next summer you might want to grow Tromboncino Rampicante or Italian Edible Squash.

This squash goes by several common names: zucchetta rampicante, climbing zucchini, climbing crookneck, trombolino d’albenga, trombetta and serpentine squash.  It hails from the city of Albenga on the Italian Riviera where it is used in gnocchi and ravioli. Though most squash are in the species Cucurbita pepo, Tromboncino is a cultivar of Cucurbita moschata, which also includes butternut squash. Since its stem is not as hollow as C. pepo, it is more resistant to squash vine borers.  Even squash bugs and powdery mildew do not appear to affect it as readily.  Plus its name “Rampicante” gives away one of its other characteristics.  It grows “rampantly,” with vines often exceeding 15 feet in length.  These long stems, particularly if grown along the ground rather than on a trellis, can root at the nodes, thus giving the plant an even better chance to beat squash vine borers and other insects and diseases.

Some people compare the mild taste of a young Tromboncino to a zucchini.   If left to mature as a long-lasting winter squash, it is more like a watery butternut squash and it keeps very well.  If harvested at about 12 or up to 36 inches, the long neck makes perfectly round slices as opposed to other varieties of squash which have a less uniform shape.  Another advantage to the long neck is that there are no seeds in it. The bulb, which contains the seeds, can be stuffed with a variety of fillings.


Tromboncino is very easy to grow and likes our hot Dallas weather.  It can be started from seed in late spring, once the ground warms up.  A strong fence or arbor is recommended, especially if you want long, straight squash.  Even on a four foot fence, the Tromboncino pictured in this article started to bow once it touched the soil.  Tromboncino grown on the ground however tend to look less like trombones and more like French Horns, with many twists and curves.  Some people have said that the hardened curved winter squash make great legs for a Halloween spider; while the long straight Tromboncino squash make cute “weiner dogs.”  Because Tromboncino are so prolific, there are many recipes for how to cook with both the squash and the male flowers on the web.

So, if you want to make your garden sing, next year give Tromboncino Rampicante a try.  Just be sure however to give it a lot of room or you may find, like one of the commenters on the web, that he had “…really enjoyed seeing the plants take off and cover the compost heap where I planted it to give plenty of nutrients. I figured since pumpkins have done well as volunteers there that this squash would too, and this one did. Two plants covered the heap and would have covered my SUV, too, if the carport hadn’t shaded them too much.”




Squash Recipes Following our SQUASH ME Event

Squash blossom quesidilla

Squash Blossom Quesadillas


Flores de Calabaza (squash blossoms)

Oaxaca cheese, shredded

Corn tortillas

Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, stemmed, and cut into ½-inch strips (optional)

Basil leaves (optional)



Prepare Flor de Calabaza Squash Blossoms:

Remove the woody stems.  Pluck out the stamen/pistil from the inside of the squash

blossom (careful there might be bugs or bees inside).

Trim off the sepals (the small, wavy leaves that grow from the base of the blossoms).

Discard stems, stamen, and sepals.  Gently rinse blossoms in cold water and place them on a paper towel to drain.  At this point you may cut the base from the flower, open and lay it flat.

Squash blossom male with stamen

Make Quesadillas: 

Place a dry griddle or cast-iron griddle over medium-high heat.  Melt 1 tablespoon of butter on the griddle.  Place a tortilla on the griddle and sprinkle with cheese.  Add 2 to 3 squash blossoms, and roasted chile, if using, on slightly warmed tortilla.   Or, place three or four basil leaves on top of the squash blossoms. Cover with tortilla.  Cook until light golden, about 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese melts.  Flip over and cook until golden brown.

Serve warm and, if desired, with salsa.

Above: Stuffed Squash Blossoms Ready to Fry

Above: Stuffed Squash Blossoms Ready to Fry

Fried Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms




1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ¼ cups club soda, as needed

16 zucchini or squash blossoms

½ cup ricotta

4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil

1 garlic clove, crushed through a press

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil, for deep-frying


  1. To make the batter, using a fork, stir the flour and salt in a bowl to combine.  Gradually whisk in the club soda to make a batter-there should be a few lumps of flour.  Let stand 10 minutes to thicken slightly.
  2. Using a small knife, cut a slit down the side of each zucchini blossom, and remove the pistil from inside each blossom. (If a blossom tears, don’t worry).  Mix the ricotta, basil, and garlic in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Using a small spoon (a demitasse spoon works well), insert a heaping spoonful of the ricotta mixture inside each blossom through the slit.(Rather than cutting a slit in the side, try a simpler approach; carefully open the blossom, remove the stamen with tweezers then “pipe” in ricotta filling – about two teaspoons.  Gently twist to close and fry according to instructions).

Be sure that the cheese filling is completely enclosed by the blossom.  Transfer the blossoms to a platter.

  1. Place a wire cake rack on a rimmed baking sheet.  Pour enough oil into a large skillet to come halfway up the sides.  Heat over high heat until the oil reaches 360 degrees F on a deep-frying thermometer.  One at a time, holding the blossom by the stem, dip the blossom into the batter and remove, letting excess batter drip back into the bowl.  There should be only a light coating of batter.  Place in the oil and fry, turning once, until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Fry the blossoms in batches to avoid crowding them in the skillet.  Using a wire skimmer, transfer the blossoms to the cake rack to drain.  Serve hot.

Yield:  Makes 16 blossoms

Squash ribbons


Shaved-Squash Salad with Tomatoes, Zucchini Blossoms,Ricotta and Thyme Oil

Baby zucchini and small yellow squash sliced on a mandoline add to the lovely,delicate nature of this colorful salad



1 generous handful fresh thyme springs (about ¾ ounces)

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 baby zucchini (3 ounces total), thinly shaved on a mandolin

4 small yellow crookneck squash (3 ounces total), thinly shaved on a mandoline

4 ounces mixed teardrop or cherry small tomatoes, cut in half crosswise (1 cup)

6 zucchini blossoms, halved or quartered if large

¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn if large, plus more for sprinkling (optional)

Pinch of red-pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon coarse salt

Coarsely ground pepper

3 ounces fresh ricotta (1/3 cup)


  1. Place thyme on a cutting board, and bruise with the dull edge of a knife.  Place thyme and oil in a small saucepan.  Cover and heat until small bubbles appear.  Turn off heat, and steep thyme, covered 20 minutes.  Discard sprigs, leaving loose thyme leaves in oil.  Whisk together lemon zest and juice and 2 tablespoons thyme oil (reserve remaining oil for another use; it can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks).
  2. Combine half the dressing with the zucchini, squash, tomatoes, zucchini blossoms, basil, red-pepper flakes, and salt.  Season with pepper, and toss.  Divide the salad between 2 plates, and dot with half the ricotta.  Top with remaining salad and remaining ricotta.  Drizzle with remaining dressing, and sprinkle with basil.

Yield:  Serves 2

Note: Squash blossoms can be replaced with a leafy green such as spinach.

squash salad

Zucchini Carpaccio


5 medium zucchini, trimmed

Coarse kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

One cup French feta

½ cup lightly toasted pine nuts

2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or mint


  1. Using knife or mandoline slice, cut zucchini into paper-thin rounds.
  2. Arrange rounds, slightly overlapping, on a large platter.  Sprinkle lightly with coarse salt and pepper.
  3. Whisk lemon juice and oil in a small bowl.  Drizzle dressing evenly over zucchini.
  4. Drop small spoonful’s of cheese all over zucchini.  Sprinkle with the pine nuts, basil or mint and serve.

Squash Soup

Squash Blossom and Gruyere Soup with Stuffed Blossom Garnish



For Soup:

About 1 lb. squash blossoms

1 small onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons butter

4 cups light vegetable or chicken stock

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup shredded gruyere cheese

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For garnish:

6 large unblemished squash blossoms, prickly stems and interior pistils removed

1 cup ricotta cheese

¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated

A handful of chopped fresh herbs: basil, thyme, tarragon, sage, rosemary

¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Chopped fresh herbs, for garnish


  1. Prepare the blossoms by cutting off the prickly stems and removing the yellow pistils from inside each flower.  Chop coarsely.
  2. In a large heavy pot, sauté the diced onion and garlic in the butter over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent but has not started to brown.  Stir in the chopped squash blossoms, and sauté for a minute or two until they wilt.  Stir in the stock, and let simmer for about 20 minutes, until everything is soft.
  3. Puree the mixture, either by using an immersion blender or in batches in a blender.  Return the soup to the pot and stir in the cream.  Gradually add the gruyere cheese, stirring occasionally until completely melted.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Keep warm without boiling until ready to serve.

For garnish, combine the ricotta with the parmesan and herbs.  Just before serving, stir in the pine nuts so they don’t get soggy.  Season the mixture to taste, and stuff each of the reserved whole blossoms with a spoonful of the mixture.  Float the blossoms on the soup and sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs.

Extra “processing” with an immersion blender, food processor or Vita Mix may be necessary to obtain a velvety smooth consistency.

Serve immediately.

squash casserole close up

Southwestern Squash Casserole

This one made it to our top ten list. Imagine, a casserole with saltine crackers in the filling being a family favorite.


8 medium yellow squash, sliced

½ cup sour cream

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons chopped chives

6 slices bacon, crisp-fried, crumbled

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

12 saltine crackers, crumbled

Paprika to taste


1. Place the squash in a saucepan with water to cover.  Cook over high heat until tender; drain well.

2. Combine with the sour cream, butter, cheese, salt, eggs, chives, bacon, green chilies, cilantro and crackers in a bowl, mixing well.

3. Spread evenly in a buttered baking dish.  Sprinkle with paprika.

4. Bake at 350⁰ for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Yield: 8 servings


Pictures by Starla












Squash, Squash, and More Squash Coming

We are going to be sharing many, many squash recipes from our SQUASH ME event yesterday.  We had beautiful, lower temperature weather and a fabulous speaker who talked to us about the wide and inviting subject of squash.  While you are waiting for a complete write up, we thought you might like a few of the recipes.  Please also spend a little time reading about The Sex Life of Squash on the blog, Garden Betty to prepare  for the scintillating squash info we will be presenting in the next few days.

Michele and Sue Serving Squash Muffins with and without Gluten and Banana  Zucchini  Bread

Michele and Sue Serving Squash Muffins with and without Gluten and Banana Zucchini Bread

Squash Muffins 


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

2/3 cup grated yellow squash

1 egg, beaten

¾ cup milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and squash in large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.  Combine egg, milk, and oil; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.
  2. Spoon batter into lightly greased muffin pans, filling two-thirds full.  Bake at 350⁰ for 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove muffins from pans immediately.

Yield:  1 dozen.

Banana-Zucchini Bread


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups mashed bananas

2 cups unpeeled shredded zucchini

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts


  1. Combine flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder in a mixing bowl, and set aside.
  2. Combine oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl; beat well.  Stir in bananas and zucchini.  Add flour mixture, stirring just until moistened.  Stir in pecans.
  3. Pour batter into two greased and floured 8 ½- x 4 ½- x 3-inch loaf pans.  Bake at

350⁰ for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

Yield:  2 loaves.

squash chocolate cake

Chocolate-Zucchini Cake


½ cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, melted

2 cups sugar

3 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

3 eggs

½ cup milk

2 teaspoons grated orange rind

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups coarsely grated unpeeled zucchini

2 ½ cups flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Whole fresh strawberries (optional)


  1. Cream butter; gradually add 2 cups sugar, beating until light and fluffy.  Beat in chocolate.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in milk, orange rind, vanilla, and zucchini.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon; add to creamed mixture, mixing well.  Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch Bundt pan.  Bake at 350⁰ for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool cake in pan 10 to 15 minutes; remove from pan, and place on a wire rack.
  3. Combine powdered sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon; sift over warm cake.  Cool completely.  Fill center of cake with strawberries, if desired.

Yield:  one 10-inch cake.


Recipes by Linda

Pictures by Starla



%d bloggers like this: