I have this squash that grew on my tomato ladder trellis at the end of the season. See the tan orb on the right side of the picture. I have three pictures in this post to show winter squash growing in a unique way! These tomato ladders, when grouped together, make great trellises. As you can see from the pictures the tomato ladder is supporting the squash quite nicely. I get the tomato ladders from Gardeners Supply. They are very strong and come in red or green. I stack three together so they are very tall.
It is time to pick it before the first frost. The squash can be damaged by the frost depending on the temperature and how long it stays at that temperature during the night. I have a few more squash to harvest—I have been harvesting them gradually since the summer. You need a sharp knife to harvest the winter squash because the stem is very hard and strong. It needs to be– to hold up the squash that grow off the ground.
Here is another picture of the squash that grew suspended about 4 feet off the ground, seemingly in mid-air.
I used tomato ladders to create a cucumber trellis. And then the squash vines which were growing crazy wild took over the cucumber trellis. After a while I noticed a squash growing about 4 feet off the ground. It was supported by a tomato ladder and a wooden stake. I had placed some wooden stakes across some of the tomato ladders to provide more growing area. I don’t recommend them for tomatoes but they are great for creating trellises for cucumbers and squash.
You can’t see the wooden stake so well in this picture. Basically I placed them through the tomato ladders, horizontal to them. I was trying to provide more support and growing area for the vines to attach to.
Tomato Ladder Trellis Close-up
In this picture you can see very close up that the squash is very conveniently resting on one of the crossbars of the tomato ladder and the wooden stake. You can also see from the picture that this squash is very large and heavy! It was supported nicely right up until the time of harvest. So I discovered how great the tomato ladders are for growing these heavy squash quite by accident. Because this squash happened to grow this way. It was a valuable lesson for me because next year I am going to create a few trellises in my garden for the squash to grow on to save space.
Here are some more links to my blog posts about my adventures this year growing these huge winter squashes:
Winter Squash Growing Great
Tahitian Melon Winter Squash
Better Than Butternut Squash
I am having so much fun growing winter squash even though it is taking over my yard. I will definitely be buying Tahitian Melon winter squash again providing that it tastes as good as it grows! Each time I see a large squash nestled in the undergrowth I get a thrill and each new baby squash is exciting! Even though I don’t think all these babies will get full grown at this point in the summer. But you never know–we still have 2 more months of frost-free weather. I have picked 3 squash. The first one was 5.5 lbs, the second 6.5 lbs and the third one was 9.6 lbs. Wow! Those are a lot of pumpkin pies and squash soup!
Growing Winter Squash Update
We cooked our first winter squash and it was amazingly delicious and as you can imagine, at 9.6 lbs, it supplied a lot of squash. We made three pies and had a lot left for squash soup and just to eat plain. It has a lovely orange color which attests to how healthy it is with the beta-carotene.
If you are a beginning gardener and you like butternut squash I recommend this for growing winter squash because it is a strong plant, seemingly resistant to problems and it produces beautiful. large squash-just be prepared for it to grow all over.
I talked to one of the farmers at the local farmers market wondering why it is not sold at the market. He said when he was a kid in Pennsylvania that is all they used for pumpkin pies. He called them Neck pumpkins. I got my seeds from Southern Seed Exchange.See my 2 previous posts for more info on Tahitian Melon Squash.
Winter squash growing great–right up the tomato cage! Here is a photo from earlier in the summer, when the Tahitian Melon Winter Squash started growing. You can still see the tomato cage as it is growing up onto it. The tomato cage was eventually totally covered and the squash took over the cucumber trellis which was about 3-4 feet away from this tomato cage. So far, I have seen 2 large squash growing on the same side of the tomato cage. I did anchor the tomato cage with some more stakes inside of it. So far, so good–it is still standing. I think one squash is ready to harvest so that will take off some of the weight!
The picture to the right is a squash that is growing at the bottom of the cucumber trellis. The red you see at the top of the picture to the right of the squash is part of one of the tomato ladders that I used to create my cucumber trellis. I have seen pictures of these squash with a curved neck. Maybe they grow with a straight neck when hanging from the vine instead of laying on the ground because the weight of the squash keeps it straight. It is almost touching the ground which should help hold its weight. Right now it is doing fine. Now I realize why the squash vine is so strong where it attaches to the squash–to hold the squash so it doesn’t fall off of the vine (if it happens to be hanging instead of laying on the ground.) This squash measures about 2 feet long! I wouldn’t use a tomato cage again for support. The squash were just too heavy for it. The tomato ladders worked much better.