Tromboncino

Zeedman

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This is an interesting squash. It is actually a close relative of Butternut squash, C. moschata, but with MUCH longer necks. Tromboncino was bred & selected to be used immature, much like zucchini. What originally caught my attention - and the main reason it has replaced zucchini in my garden - is that it is highly SVB resistant. I am growing one cultivar this year, Zucchetta Rampicante Tromboncino, originally from Pinetree seeds. Although I usually grow this on the ground, it is a vigorous climber & can be trained to a trellis... as I did this year. These plants are 7 weeks old.
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Tromboncino on 6' trellis, planted 6' apart. Because I am replenishing my seed this year, the flowers need to be hand pollinated early in the morning... so I grew 4 plants at home. The trellis was necessary to conserve space. The first successful pollination is visible in the lower right corner.

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Bagged female blossoms

When saving squash seed, the flowers which will open the next day need to be taped, tied, or bagged closed the day before. This is to prevent crossing by bees with any related squash (in this case, Butternut) which might be growing within 1/2 mile. Yes, they CAN cross with something 1/2 mile away, as I found out when planting squash seed saved from my rural garden, 25% of which were obviously crossed with something else. :ep I am "selfing" each plant, so for each female blossom, a corresponding male blossom (near the bottom of the same plant) must also be bagged. I tie a paper towel tightly over each flower. After pollinating the next day, the cover on the female blossom is quickly replaced & re-tied, and the stem marked to identify it as pure seed (I use a wire twist tie). The cover will remain on until the flower drops on its own. These young squash were already 15-16" long before the flowers even opened. Two flowers per plant have already been hand pollinated; if all are successful (which is likely) those squashes will be allowed to mature for seed, and any others which form will be open pollinated & eaten.

The plants are rampant & heavily branched. If vines are allowed to touch the ground, they will root from the nodes, and enable even greater growth. Grown on the ground, the vines can travel 15-20' or more, with many laterals. In late summer, all of the laterals will begin to produce female flowers, and the yield can be huge. A single 2' squash, picked when 1" wide, will feed two people. 90% of the length will be completely solid; all of the seeds are concentrated in the bulb on the blossom end. The solid slices freeze very well, since they have no soft center.

Mature squash will look like skinny 3-4' long Butternut squash, with the same tan skin. They can be eaten just like Butternut - and some who have eaten Tromboncino that way swear by it - but to me, the flavor & texture are just OK. I'll post photos of the mature squash when they develop.
 

PhilaGardener

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I can attest they are SVB resistant (a characteristic of moschatas). Trellising helps keep the fruit straighter (and clean); this is one I'd like to grow on a cattle panel made into an arch to form a walk-through tunnel. :) The plants are very vigorous and can get massive - and those long fruits are impressive. The year I tried them they took over the garden. Kids are just amazed by the appearance of the fruit. But I also found the flavor just so-so.
 

Ridgerunner

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Tromboncini stands up to the squash bug pretty well too, not just the squash vine borer. I think the borer leaves them alone because the stem is not hollow but is solid through. I was not impressed with them as a winter squash but was happy with them as a summer squash, just get them while still small. Sounds like I ate mine a lot smaller than you do. They can be pretty prolific. If you can't grow other types of summer squash or zucchini because of the borers or bugs and have the room they can be a good alternative.

They trellis well though you might need to train them to start growing on the trellis. They do spread, sure agree with you there. They will try to send runners off across the soil surface if you let them. I'd prune mine to keep them under control, did not seem to bother them.

In Arkansas I'd grow them on a 30' section of garden fence, deer did not seen to bother them, another plus. I don't try them down here, although the borer won't let me grow regular squash. I'd have to devote one of my 8 raised beds to them, 12.5% of my growing capacity. That means I'd grow three fewer pole beans I'm trying to stabilize. I'm not ready to make that trade-off but it's tempting.
 

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the point to grow them from my perspective was not as a winter squash but as a zucchini replacement. so picked often and when young in similar size to a small and young zucchini. not having grown them i am curious if anyone who has finds the taste close enough. if i recall correctly what i have read so far the texture is a bit firmer, which to me would be a bonus.
 

Zeedman

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Tromboncini stands up to the squash bug pretty well too, not just the squash vine borer. I think the borer leaves them alone because the stem is not hollow but is solid through.
In my experience, the very young plants (before they start to run) are vulnerable to squash bugs, that is the only time I've lost any to insects. I've also observed that plants under attack by squash bugs are more likely to be attacked by cucumber beetles, so they were a tattle tale for locating the squash bugs. :smackI try to kill the first adults before they lay eggs, but missed a few one year, and had an outbreak of their gray nymphs... I was trellising that year, and wiped them out with soap spray. SVB have tried to attack them (I've seen small bore holes) but the mature plants must have strong defenses, because the holes healed & there was no further sign of damage.
the point to grow them from my perspective was not as a winter squash but as a zucchini replacement. so picked often and when young in similar size to a small and young zucchini. not having grown them i am curious if anyone who has finds the taste close enough. if i recall correctly what i have read so far the texture is a bit firmer, which to me would be a bonus.
The texture is slightly softer than zucchini, but it is firmer overall because the neck portion has no soft center like zucchini. The flavor is different than zucchini, not as sweet, but delicious in a different way that is hard to describe. IMO Tromboncino absorbs the flavor of spices better than zucchini. The slices become a beautiful light green color throughout when cooked or blanched.

I wasn't impressed by them as winter squash, but will be experimenting this year to see if there is a more palatable way to use them. It's a shame to waste all that flesh, given that each mature squash will be 15-20 pounds in weight.

A strong storm rolled through overnight, and blew about 1/3 of the vines off the trellis - including the two young squash pictured above. :ep Fortunately, no vines were completely broken off, and I was able to reposition them onto the trellis. I mounted slings to support all the the developing squash, which will lessen the chance of collapse in the future.
 
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