Last year, around this time, I posted a blog called “Cucumbers Under Siege” about a few of the common insect pests we find on cucumbers in our region. Another common pest affecting plants in the cucurbitaceae family (which includes cucumbers, gourds, melons, pumpkins, and squashes) is the squash vine borer.
The Squash Vine Borer
The notorious SVB is a particular menace to zucchini plants. Despite zucchini’s reputation as extraordinarily prolific (who hasn’t heard the joke about home gardeners leaving plants on their neighbors’ porches in the middle of the night to get rid of their excess harvest?), it’s just as common for a zucchini plant to produce a few tender summer squash, then suddenly wilt and die. More often than not, a squash vine borer larvae boring into the stem of the plant is the cause. SVBs are hard to control, and can cause a lot of damage. You can read more about how to identify and deal with them here.
I’m a path-of-least-resistance kind of grower, especially when it comes to the SVB. You may remember my post last fall, where I dealt with this pest in my pumpkin crop by planting a borer-resistant variety called Dickinson. Well, friends, this year I went on the hunt for an SVB-resistant summer squash and boy, did I find a winner!
Meet the tromboncino, aka zucchetta (modeled here for you by New Farmers Academy interns Heather and Tiffany).
This squash has it all! No vine borer damage (or cucumber beetle, squash bug, pill bug, or Japanese beetle damage) to speak of; an interesting shape, impressive yields, and no seeds at all in its long, long neck. Excellent flavor and texture – firmer, sweeter, and nuttier than zucchini. So far, I’ve tried it grilled and sautéed in scrambled eggs. Next up? Chocolate tromboncino bread with walnuts!
Tromboncino squash is not available in grocery stores. Its variable size makes it hard to price, and its unusual shape makes it difficult to ship and store. You need to grow it yourself or get it from your local farmer. If your local farmer doesn’t grow it already, request it! I’m sure they’d love to grow the fun, carefree, prolific tromboncino!