2015 Garden Plans: Vertical Garden
Our Vertical Garden this year could be one of the most interesting parts of the garden, or it could be a trainwreck of insects and diseases! Why? Because we are planting an entire bed of squash.
The two biggest challenges to growing squash in Kansas are squash vine borers and squash bugs. If you’ve tried growing squash, you have probably lost 1, 2, or all your plants to one or the other at some point. One of the things I found while researching is that there are different species of squash, and the most common species that we grow are highly susceptible to these insects. There are two other species that are less susceptible/somewhat resistant to squash vine borers and squash bugs. So for our Vertical Garden this year, we selected 10 varieties of squash/pumpkins that are supposedly more resistant to these troublesome insects. It will be exciting to see how things shake out and which varieties are truly less susceptible.
‘Tromboncino’ and ‘Tutume’ are both squashes that are typically grown and harvested at the “zucchini” stage. There are no true zucchinis that are less susceptible, so we are trying these. ‘Tromboncino’ is a very long, Italian variety. ‘Tatume’ is a Mexican variety that is round.
‘Butterpie’ and ‘Fairy’ are both hybrid squashes that are going to have some similarities in flavor to butternut and buttercup squash. We grew ‘Fairy’ in 2012 and had no insects on it to speak of, and the vine was huge and vigorous with great flowers for stuffing.
‘Green Striped Cushaw’ is a Southern heirloom that is going to test the strength of our trellises, as they can be anywhere from 7-25 lbs. ‘Black Futsu’ is a Japanese variety that is supposed to have a rich, hazelnut flavor.
‘Hunter’ Butternut is just what it sounds like – a hybrid butternut squash. Most butternut squashes will be more resistant to insects than other types of squash. ‘Chiriman’ is another Japanese variety with dark green, lobed rinds and sweet, dark orange flesh.
‘Thai Kang Kob’ is a Thai variety that is pumpkin-shaped and good for curries. ‘Kikuza’ is another Japanese variety that has dry flesh and a spicy flavor.
As you can imagine, we are looking forward to watching all these different squashes develop and find ways to taste test them all!