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The Latest Dirt - Sept 2022

Update From Our Garden

By Janet Miller

Photo by Greg Letts. Avocado Squash, or Early Bulam, is growing in Our Garden.
Photo by Greg Letts. Avocado Squash, or Early Bulam, is growing in Our Garden.

The summer has been good to us at Our Garden. Heat waves have been short followed by reasonably mild temperatures—a relief to the garden and the gardeners. Our twice-weekly harvests have yielded over 11,000 pounds of produce for our friends at the Monument Crisis Center, and we’re not done yet. We still have much more to come, including winter squash, sweet potatoes and cabbages – all of which tilt the scale mightily. We’ve had some new pest problems with both aphid and white fly showing up on cucumber plants, but we quickly removed those crops and replanted. As our squash and beans give out, we immediately replant with broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, all of which is covered with shade cloth from top to bottom for sun protection and to keep out cabbage loopers and aphids. So far so good.

I wanted to share something more interesting than just our stats and planting schedule; after all UC Master Gardeners tend to be plant geeks and always appreciate new cultivars. This year our Family Bed crew was looking for a vining summer squash they could grow vertically to save space. In general summer squash are not climbers. Their winter squash brethren, like butternut, kabocha and delicata, are long vining plants easily trained to climb. However, I remembered a summer squash variety that I grew years ago that was called Avocado Squash, (actual name is Early Bulam) and I still had seed. So, we started a bunch of them and not only are they amazing climbers, but they are prolific and hardy. The squash is shaped like an avocado and has green outer skin and green flesh and we all think it’s the best flavor of all the summer squash types we grow. The one challenge is that we can no longer source untreated seed – they tend to be treated with Thiram, a fungicide deadly to pollinators. A quick call to our friends at Kitazawa Seed Company gave us an alternative we’ll try next year called Teot Bat Put, also known as avocado squash and also vining. We like avocado squash so much that we’ll be offering it for sale at next year’s Great Tomato Plant Sale. So, if you can remember the name Teot Bat Put (or just remember avocado squash) it’s one you’ll want in your garden next year!!