Hot summer weather is good summer squash weather. There are lots of varieties to choose from with lots of different tastes.
In the past I’ve grown patty pan with its cool melon honeydew taste. Zucchini and its similar varieties are a favorite. Yellow crookneck has that difficult shape. The yellow straightneck is nice.
This year I’m growing Zephyr. Its shape is similar to a zucchini. It’s color is yellow at the narrow end and green over the seeds. White spots scattered over all aren’t very noticeable, but pale the other colors. It has a mild flavor.
Summer squash is easy to grow from seed. I dig down and turn out a shovel full of dirt. The hole is filled with compost. The dirt is replaced to form a mound. Seeds are stuck in the mound and watered in.
Seeds germinate in about a week with large oval cotyledons. Small leaves follow. The plants remain small for about two weeks.
The plants are busy putting down roots. Unlike winter squash, summer squash plants do not vine. The roots arrive at the compost. Overnight the leaves reach a foot across and the plants double in size.
My summer squash plants are waist high and as big in circumference. They are blooming madly. Squash is forming and overflowing in the refrigerator.
That bane of any cucurbit grower has noticed my squash. Squash bugs do prey on other plants out in the pasture. They prefer the taste of squash.
These pests are in the true bug family which means they have wings that cross on their backs making a little triangle at the top. They feed by stabbing their mouth into a stem or leaf and drinking the sap.
Squash bugs begin as eggs. These are often laid as a group between two veins near and under the leaf. They can be strung out along a stem. They can be a cluster on top of a leaf.
I remove and squash as many as I can find.
The eggs hatch into little gray nymphs. They stay as a group sucking the leaf dry. The nymphs molt and grow larger.
Finally the nymphs become winged adults. These and other adults hide during the day in mulch, nearby grass, under leaves and stems. Whenever I find them, I squash them. They stink when squashed.
Eventually the bugs overwhelm the summer squash plants and kill them. Until then I will battle their infestation and enjoy the squash.