Monday, October 8, 2007

Baseball Bat Squash

I found this huge baseball bat of a squash under the stem of a Costata Romanesco plant, where it was hidden from view until it got too large to miss. It weighed 4.2 lbs. The second large squash was also hidden, but I found it sooner. It weighed 1.2 lbs.

I was prepared to sell the huge squash at the Farmers' Market for about 50 cents, a tremendous bargain on a per pound basis, but there were no takers. The three smaller squash sold, however. Huge squash like this are often used for stuffing, or grated for zucchini bread.

I brought it home, and we sliced it into large rounds and grilled it, along with an eggplant, for sandwiches. Most of the grilled slices were frozen for winter use. I was surprised that the squash had not yet developed seeds; it was solid all the way through, and reasonably tender. When the plant is investing resources in a large squash like this, it tends to reduce the resources that it puts into making new flowers and small squash. Eventually the huge squash fruit slows in growth while the seeds mature. We rarely allow the seeds to reach maturity, unless we want to save them for next year. It may have taken another two or even three weeks for the seeds to mature in this fruit, if I hadn't harvested it. Hopefully the plant will start producing flowers and small fruits again.

Temperature were cold all of last week, barely making it into the 60s during the day, and hovering in the 30s and low 40s at night. The squash didn't grow very much in this cold. At Saturday's market I wore my down jacket and felt like I was in the refrigerator. Not many customers came to market, and only a few of them bought squash. I brought about 29 lbs of mini squash, 349 little fruits, to market, plus about 18 large squash. I only sold $18.50 of squash, not a good yield for 4.9 hours of harvest. Bon Appetit was not interested in buying the rest from me, as they have done the past few weeks. The executive chef told me he was over-stocked this week. So, Parma Senior Center will be the recipient of the excess. They are appreciative.

Saturday evening after dark I checked the weather report and saw that there was a a freeze warning; temperatures were supposed to fall to 34oF. It was too late to cover the plants. Fortunately, we didn't get frost after all. This week temperatures are due to rise into the 70s, an Indian Summer. Development of flowers and fruit should speed up again.

With warmer temperatures we'll need to get some water on the patch. Irrigation water has ended for the season, but John attached a hose from our well to our irrigation system . The pressure isn't as great as water from the canal, so we can only turn on two sprinklers at a time, but at least I won't have to drag soaker hoses and occillating sprinklers around.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good for people to know.