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.


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.


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.


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.

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)

Trellis Envy

Mala Burt writes: Last week I was at Longwood Garden. The spring flowers, particularly the tulips, were spectacular. tulip-quilts-Longwood-for-w

Howeverr, it was the vegetable garden at Longwood that caught my eye. I was very interested in the types of trellises they had built to assist vining veggies. Here are some examples.bamboo trellis

The photo above is of a bamboo trellis. Flexible bamboo stakes are pushed into the ground and simply tied with twine at the top. I was curious that the plants below seemed to be cabbages. I wonder if they will tie floating row cover around the trellis to keep out the cabbage worms.

tri-post-trellis-with-grape I loved the look of this one. Stakes twined with grapevines. Of course, having some bright flowers here and there made the veggie garden less brown this early in the season. climbing trellis

This trellis would be terrific for growing cukes or squash.

I talked to one of the gardeners and asked about how they handled deer, rabbits, etc. Come to think of it, I didn’t see any squirrels. There was a pretty fence around this garden with rabbit wire at the bottom and the gates are closed at night. So that takes care of the rabbits. The deer are handled in a different way. They put up an electric fence and entice the deer by dabbing it with peanut butter. The deer get shocked and learn the boundaries. Here’s the kicker, however. They put up the fence every evening and take it down every morning. The visitors to Longwood never see the electric fence.

Grow Vertically: Make an Easy Trellis

Pennie Haase (bed #26) writes: This year I wanted to get the most out of my new garden bed, so I decided to grow up. Online I found lots of trellis ideas on square foot gardening websites. A quick trip to Lowes and $14 later I had everything I needed:

Materials for trellis

After measuring the bed, I had my husband cut the one piece of conduit, then laid everything out on the garage floor to see if in fact it would work.  A few minutes later we headed down to the garden and quickly assembled the trellis.   He pounded the rebar, tightened the screws and I tied.  My peas are just starting to grow, so we’ll see how well it works.

My Trellis at the Community Garden:

Pennie's Trellis

Pennie’s Trellis

Materials: (Lowes in Easton):3 – 5’ lengths ½” EMT Conduit ($1.65 each – aisle 14); 2 – ½” EMT to EMT pull elbows ($2.71 each – aisle 14); 2 – rebar pins ½” x 4’ (2.98 each – aisle 53 );1 – trellis netting 5’ x 15’ ($4.97 – outside garden area)

Optional Materials: 1 – 4’ stake for bottom; 2 – tie down stakes/irrigation stakes or cut coat hangers

Tools: Hacksaw, Hammer, Screwdriver, Tape measure, Scissors, Use hacksaw to cut off 13 1/2″ conduit from one 5’ section – this will be the top.

Note – measure your bed to ensure that it is 48″ on the interior

How To: Attach elbows to top of other two 5’ sections – these will be the sides.

Unroll trellis and measure out 6’ length x 5’ width, thread one side conduit down 6’ length alternating the conduit in and out of the squares, measure over 4’ and thread the other side section. Attach top by threading through alternating squares. Cut netting to fit, allowing extra for tying.

Pound rebar inside the corners 2’, don’t mash down top of rebar or it will not slide inside the conduit. Slide the conduit over the rebar, square it up, push conduit into ground to stabilize and tighten screws on the elbows.

Tie off the squares of netting to top and sides or use wire ties.

Optional: Pennie added a stabilizing stake to the bottom, threading it through alternating squares and securing it to the ground with irrigation stakes.

Info from Square Foot Gardening – also on the web: