Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Some zucchini love
Years ago, while out tending to my garden, I came across a 2 foot monster! It was long, thick and green… it was an enormous zucchini squash. I had so many, I was begging people to take them. So then I just quit planting that prolific producer. But, this winter in particular, I kept yearning for my chinese 5-spice zucchini bread, alas, I could find NO zucchini in my local grocery store. Seriously!?! Oh how I wanted to make zoodles with my new spiralizer!!!
The issue in the garden is they sprawl like crazy. (the upper middle is squash) Those crazy flowers at the bottom left are nasturtiums! Yes, you can have too many!
But what if I grew them vertically? A simple one-piece trellis can be secured against a sun-facing wall or strong fence. (or bed spring)
Plant your squashes the same distance apart that they would grow at if left at ground level. Once your squash has put on growth, gently weave the shoots onto and into the trellis. Soft plant ties and string can help steer wayward stems in the right direction. Most squashes will then produce tendrils that will grip their supports like a mountaineer pulling himself skywards towards the peak.
Grown this way, they will need more water and fertilizer than normal, it takes more effort to, literally take UP, the nutrients. What about that heavy fruit? You’ll need to support it, the best way is to make a sling with old pantyhose. Tie it to the trellis.
You can grow any number of squash this way. In fact a nice little Patty Pan would be perfect. ‘Sunburst’ has been recommended.
Braised Pattypan (Sunburst) Summer Squash
- ½ medium onion, sliced into wedges
- 1 clove garlic, crushed and minced or sliced
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4 Tablespoons broth or water
- 1.5 pounds pattypan squash, trimmed and left whole
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
- juice from 1 lemon wedge
- Place a large (deep-ish) pan over medium heat (I used a 3-quart cast iron pan). Warm a little oil and add the onions. Sauté until translucent and fragrant, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the tomato paste, 2 Tbsp oil, and broth and mix well, then add the squash and season with salt and pepper. Mix again.
- Cover and reduce heat to low-medium for about 15 minutes. Stir and replace cover, cooking another 10 minutes or until squash is tender. Top with a squeeze of lemon juice and the fresh parsley and serve.