Of all the squash we’ve grown, Costata Romanesco and Zephyr summer squash have been a part of our garden since the start. We first discovered them at the local farmers’ market, and appreciated how their dense, creamy flesh makes them suitable for all manner of preparation, including steaming, sautéing, and grilling. We pick them while they’re still small, around 6 inches, and before the blossoms have fallen. In Rome, where the Costata hail from, they’re picked even smaller, finger-length and with the flowers still attached.
The Costata is an heirloom variety, while the Zephyr is a hybrid of yellow crookneck, with a bit of yellow acorn and delicata squash mixed in. It produces prodigiously, and these are also picked small. This helps to keep the plant in check, and encourages it to continue producing further into fall. The amount of green will vary — don’t be alarmed if early fruit appear completely green, the plant will soon sort itself out and produce a two-toned squash.
Growing winter varieties of squash can a challenge here, and the Tromboncino had certain qualities that made it an attractive choice: It’s resistant to powdery mildew and squash vine borer, serves as both a summer and winter squash, and produces well under a variety of conditions. Above: The end of the vine bursting with fruit, each coupled with its own leaf and tendril.
The Tromboncino didn’t take long before it lived up to its other name, “zucchini rampicante” — with spreading leaves and vines, it can creep up to 20 feet, only to be matched in growth by its rapidly elongating fruit. Classified as a moschata, the Tromboncino belongs to the same family as butternut squash, which it’s said to closely resemble in flavor and texture. So far, the only problem we’ve had is blossom end rot, though there’s more than enough fruit remaining to make up for the loss.
All of our squash plants reside in a single raised bed, and we’re experimenting with trellising to compensate for the lack of space. Above: Delicata squash hanging from its vine.
Above: A lone spaghetti squash. Like summer squash and Delicata, it’s five-sided stem marks it as a member of the Cucurbita pepo family.
A last batch of Napoli carrots, left from spring planting. We’re glad to have remembered to harvest these before they became overgrown and woody.
Orion fennel, the best-looking of the bunch, showing off its conformity to the variety’s shape and size.
We’d thought it was too late to pick this Catalogna Emerald endive, which is usually eaten as a spring green. As it turns out, this variety isn’t as bitter as the other Italian varieties of chicory we’ve grown. Though it may be too far gone for a salad green, it’s perfect as a braising one.
Carrots, fennel, filet beans, Shishito peppers, cucumbers, summer squash, favas, cherry tomatoes, chicory, kale, chard, and salad greens.
Preserving: Freeze chard, and summer squash flatbread.