Forum: Polyculture & Niche Analysis Questions & Comments (optional)

Niche analysis - tromboncino squash

 
 
Picture of Melinda Kelley
Niche analysis - tromboncino squash
by Melinda Kelley - Thursday, December 3, 2020, 5:19 PM
 

Hi everyone,

I may do some additional niche analyses, but the plant I am most excited about is the tromboncino squash.  Last year, I was able to grow some tiny zucchini in my limited sun garden patch, but then lost all of my plants to the squash vine borer.  When I learned about the tromboncino squash during my permaculture practitioner interview, I was intrigued - initially because it's such a prolific grower (and will vine up onto a high structure - which in my case will enable it to enjoy greater sun exposure) - but then I learned that the vines are so dense that they're resistant to the borers.  A win-win for me, and I'm excited about getting these started in 2021.  I'm also thinking about how I can create a vegetable/fruit polyculture that will enable me to grow several productive vining plants in a higher "layer" with shade-tolerant plants (or those that will produce earlier in the season) below.

Melinda

Picture of Kathleen Siegel
Re: Niche analysis - tromboncino squash
by Kathleen Siegel - Friday, December 4, 2020, 4:24 PM
 

Melinda, 

Thank you for sharing this squash variety, I had trouble with powdery mildew and boarers last year so I would love to try this variety. Have you tried trellising this vine? How heavy do the fruits get, do you think a trellis would be an option? I am looking to see what I could do vertically in my garden for next year to optimize my space! 

Thanks for your input! 

Kate 

Picture of Debbie Sexsmith
Re: Niche analysis - tromboncino squash
by Debbie Sexsmith - Friday, December 4, 2020, 10:51 PM
 

Hi Melinda and Kate

I agree! Thanks for the introduction to this vegetable.  I can't wait to try it.  We have a large archway that holds loofa so I think it would work for this.  I grew a white zucchini that had a huge long vine and withstood all the pests and mildew.  Only our true customers tried it because it was different.  We loved it.  I am not sure about it working in the three sisters garden.  Although it did say that it could stay on the vine like a butternut.  The corn wouldn't handle the weight.  Most winter squashes tend to crawl on the ground but can be trained to go up.  Summer squashes can act differently like this white one. It took off over the loofa.  I work with the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre and have grown Three Sisters gardens for a number of years.  We actually have a project launched to increase the scale to 5 acres this coming summer.  I added a fourth plant, cosmos, to protect the squash.  They attract beneficials.

Peggy Berk
Re: Niche analysis - tromboncino squash
by Peggy Berk - Saturday, December 5, 2020, 7:16 PM
 

Hi Melinda,

I’m familiar with that squash and it is somewhat tasty when eaten immature, but it is technically a winter squash (maybe even a pumpkin?) and the vines are huge... some 20 feet long with enormous leaves so you can expect it to shade out part of your garden even if you have something sturdy for it to climb. (I’m always cautious about  prolific vining squash - they have managed to pull down a number of my split rail fence posts and climbed my plum tree and broke a major branch from the sheer strength of the vine and the weight of the fruit).

At the same time, there are a number of easy cultural methods for thwarting vine borers as they are only active for a very few weeks. Well secured row covers that you leave in  place until blooms appear (as  long as you are not planting squash in a location you’ve used in the past couple of years) and wrapping the lower stems in aluminum foil are two methods that work well.  You are a few hours south of me so I’m not sure if your timeline is the same,  but up here in NY the adults emerge in late June and are generally finished laying eggs within about 2- 3 weeks, so many vegetable gardeners up here simply wait it out and don’t transplant squash until July when they are no longer susceptible. You don’t have to give up on your zucchini!

Peggy

 

Picture of Melinda Kelley
Re: Niche analysis - tromboncino squash
by Melinda Kelley - Monday, December 7, 2020, 10:32 PM
 

Hi everyone,

I was very excited to see so many responses about my squash idea!  I've never tried these before - but honestly, any vegetable that was so prolific in my backyard that it overran a trellis or other structure would be welcome!  My problem is always a small yield of fruiting veg unless they are able to grow high and catch the sun as it rounds our house.  I will probably still plant a few zucchini plants (I had seen the foil-stem-wrap suggestion online and was absolutely going to try try it this year) - and maybe a patty pan squash plant or two (thinking that perhaps smaller vegetables would take less sun to mature?).

And yes, this plant would probably be too out of control to be a part of a three sisters combination - but I wouldn't be able to grow corn in my space - so I'd only be able to attempt two of the three sisters anyway.

Like Chris, I would also be happy to keep in touch with folks.  This has been a really enjoyable class, and the forum posts have been one of the best parts!

Melinda

kelley6452@hotmail.com

Picture of Deb Winther
Re: Niche analysis - tromboncino squash
by Deb Winther - Friday, December 11, 2020, 11:01 AM
 

Hi Melinda,

I hope you'll keep us up to date on your squash adventures! My site is also small, so I'm looking for some vertical solutions. A vining squash for a sunny section of my fence sounds like a good use of some wasted vertical space.

Good luck!

Deb