Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Waltham butternut and the dreaded "vacation zucchini"

I have been casting about for a winter squash that is productive, and fights back when squash vine borers attack. I searched for a winter squash that was resistant to squash vine borers and settled for the old-time favorite, Waltham butternut.  Apparently, any squash with harder stems is more resistant to these pests, the plague of squash growers everywhere.  I planted my butternuts late (apparently a no-no: early planting helps foil these beasties) and they began producing the beautiful fruits you see here.  The plants did finally get borers, but I used a garden syringe to inject BT (a bacteria that only kills caterpillars who munch on it) and the plants are still out-growing the borer damage.  I also will mound soil over various parts of the stem to encourage it to root, and I think I may get some more squash from these babies (this is from 2 plants).
Also pictured, the gardener's embarassment: vacation zucchini.  If you go away during the summer, have a neighbor pick your zucchini!  Large ones like these can be shredded and frozen for winter soups and stews.  If they have sizeable seeds, core them to remove the seeds before you shred them.  If they get woody, it is time for the compost heap!
Happy gardening!

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