Spaghetti Squash – the Rest of the Story

That spaghetti squash cradled in a panty hose sling finally seemed ripe enough to harvest. I’d never grown spaghetti squash before so I had to go on line to get advice about when to pick them. Apparently when the rind is tough they’re ready. They are, after all, a type of winter squash. My thumb nail didn’t make a dent so I carefully undid the panty hose and brought my squash to the kitchen.

spaghetti-squash

I pricked some steam holes in it and put it in the microwave for 12 minutes. I could have baked it in the oven, I suppose, but it was too hot. I let it cool for awhile and then cut it in half and scooped out the seeds.

cooked-spaghetti-squash

The flesh comes apart in strings and I use it as a substitute for wheat pasta for my gluten intolerant husband. It is way better than it looks. I put spaghetti sauce on it, but it would be good with just butter, salt and pepper and maybe some cheese on top. I harvested two squash from this vine and there are three babies on the way. Anybody know how many squash you can expect to get from a vine? I want more than five, but that may be totally unrealistic.

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Panty Hose in the Garden

There are lots of uses for panty hose in the garden, but here are two you might not have thought of.

Those corregated tubes that you attach to your drain spouts and pull out to direct water away from your house are mosquito magnets. Each one of those corregations holds enough water to breed mosquitoes. Cut a pany hose in half and pull over the end of the tube and the mosquitoes can’t get in or out. You’ll have to clean the ends out from time to time, but fewer mosquitos, especially this year, would be wonderful.

drain pipe end with panty hose for blog

By the way, the plant on the right in the photo above is a poinsettia that somebody gave me for Christmas. It was on it’s last legs when I put a shovel in the dirt and stuck it in. Looks pretty happy to me a couple of weeks later. I doubt I will get energized enough to go through the hassle of digging it up and putting it in a dark closet come fall, but for now, it’s green and shortly will hide the panty hose end of the drain.

As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of all inventions: I had a spaghetti squash hanging from my vertical trellis. It was growing heavier by the day. I propped it up on the wire, but when I looked at it a couple of days later, the wire was becoming embedded in the squash. I didn’t see how that could come to any good end.

spaghetti squash before support

Then the “Aha” moment hit me. Panty hose! I cut a pair right through the crotch and tucked the squash into one leg. I tied the other end to the wire mesh to give it support. I’m not sure how I will know when the squash is ready to harvest, but gardening is a learning experience, after all.

spaghetti squash supported by panty hose for blog

In case you are like me and haven’t worn panty hose since 1987, you can get them at the Dollar Store in Easton.

Dog Vomit Slime Mold

Bonda Baxter (Community Garden bed #4) sent me information about this slime mold which she saw in the community garden. It’s not harmful, but it really looks disgusting. The information below is copied from the Ohio State University Extension website which is also where the photo came from.

dog vomit

Dog vomit slime mold (Fuligo septica) is a common problem this time of year. After gardeners put down a fresh layer of mulch they often see this aptly named growth showing up a few weeks later. This dog vomit is actually a slime mold that exists as an almost clear thin blob that crawls around the surface of the garden – this is its plasmodium stage. When it is developed enough to reproduce, it pulls itself together into the more recognizable pile that some describe as scrambled eggs. Eventually the scrambled eggs will brown to the recognizable pile of canine emesis. At this point, the slime mold spores are released to start the process over again.

Dog vomit slime mold is not harmful to plants. There is no way to totally eradicate it from the garden. However, some people have reported that watering in new mulch does help reduce the amount of slime mold. Also, any pile of sporulating slime mold can be scooped up with a shovel and deposited out of sight – breaking it up or blasting it with water will only help it spread its spores.

Could somebody please talk to the weather man. With the torrential rain today, this slimy mess will be all over the community garden.

Squash Sex

In my raised beds at home I have lots of squash plants. Acorn, butternut and spaghetti. I don’t plant these in my community garden bed because they need lots of room to run and are not such good neighbors. Would you want this pumpkin vine taking over your garden bed?

pumpkin running

I also plant some squash to grow vertically in concrete reinforcing mesh cages. I made these originally for my tomatoes because they are so tall and I can reach through the openings in the mesh. Okay, I know you’re waiting for squash sex and this is just a tease. Sorry.

wire cage for vertical climbers

I have lots of squash blossoms, but not so many squashes. Here’s the skinny. There are male blossoms and female blossoms. The female blossoms have tiny squash at the bottom – see photo below which shows the little squash and above it what will turn into an orange blossom. There are lots more male blossoms than female blossoms…more opportunities for bees to pollinate the female flowers.

squash blossom female for blog

Online I read that early in the season there are not so many female blossoms and I should be patient. Not my best trait, but I’m working on it. I have lots of  male blooms. They’re very pretty and they are delicious stuffed with goat cheese and deep fried, but I want squash!

Cucurbita moschata 'Butternut'. Original descr...

Cucurbita moschata ‘Butternut’. Original description: Courges butternut (Cucurbita moschata) Photo JH Mora, septembre 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)