Oh, the saga of the winter squash. Why did I plant this again? I like my raised beds neat and easy to maintain, but with winter squash I have this:
As attractive as those leaves are, this is getting out of hand. I have to watch to keep it from climbing into my cucumber bed. Because this just might be the year I finally get non-bitter cukes, and that is more important than any squash, no matter how pretty.
It might even entertain ideas of going up the tomato trellis, which is already contending with the supposedly bush beans:
I think the okra can handle it though--okra is tough like that.
But then in this weedy patch behind the squash bed I spotted this, and now it is all worth it:
My first "north Georgia candy roaster"! I put a bed of straw under it, which just seemed like the right thing to do. It'll age to a tawny pink, like butternut but with a blue tip (that sold me on it, natch). These things get huge, and if I get as many as someone more adept with squash than I am would get, then this will be hilarious. Have I mentioned that I live in a 900 sq. ft. house, with no root cellar? And by the way, Mr. Do does not really care for winter squash. We do have a shed "piggybacked" on our house, which we first called the murder shed because it looked like some place a serial killer would store implements ... or people. It has adopted the more cutesy moniker of the "bug-out cabin" (TM spoondaddy) If I can seal all of the vole access points, I think this would be the perfect storage place. But I'm not holding my breath--something destructive will surely befall this squash before I even think about harvesting. So let's admire it once more:
By the way, I needn't have worrried about the squash vine borer, as this plant seems determined to survive the mangling I gave it--growing side shoots with abandon.
I may regret pointing these vines toward the flower bed, where I'll have to worry about them tearing down my plants--Baptisia and some new Monarda (along with a scraggly looking old one I transplanted on a 99 degree day). But why I thought this squash could reside in a 4x6 bed I'll never know--it'll be taking over half the yard by September at this rate.
And there are more new plants for it to smother, thanks to a trip to the garden center, where I displayed no restraint in the face of Agastache. Who could? I picked up some in coral and some in pink, plus some Salvia for good measure. I need a large bee population to pollinate all those curcurbits after all!