04 August 2010

Borer resistant zucchini

Back in January, I talked about trying a new type of zucchini in my garden this year. Normally I grow the variety 'Costata Romanesco' because it is simply delicious -- but, like all zucchini I have grown, it generally collapses sometime in the middle of the summer due to attacks by the evil squash vine borers.
So this year, along with my 'Costata Romanesco' I'm growing 'Zucchetta rampicante tromboncino'. It is a different species (Cucurbita moschata rather than the typical summer squash Cucurbita pepo) and is supposed to be resistant to borers.

I can't speak to the borer resistance, at least not yet, because so far none of my squash have been attacked. I'm sure it is coming, though... borers being the evil little vermin they are. But I can speak to their other attributes. They are very late, and low yielding compared to any other zucchini I have grown -- they started several weeks after my other zucchini, and I've only picked 4 of them so far. I wouldn't recommend them for a small garden, unless you grow them up a trellis, because the vines are very long and vigorous -- a good dozen feet long so far, and showing no signs of stopping.
Here are what the fruit themselves look like. My standard Romanesco is on top, and the Tromboncino is on the bottom.
 Here they are sliced, ready to go into a pan with some hot olive oil and fresh tomatoes.

The flavor is quite good, though different from a standard zucchini. My romanescos have a warm, nutty flavor that I adore. The Tromboncinos have a sweeter flavor that reminds me a little of a winter squash. Raw, the Tromboncinos are firmer, drier, and crisper than the romanescos, but when cooked, they were slightly more inclined to get mushy -- which is not a good thing, as mushy zucchini is foul and loathsome.

All in all, I like the tromboncinos, but I'm not in love with them. They are beautiful and interesting, and the promise that they'll keep on producing all summer even if borers arrive is certainly wonderful. I plan on growing them again next year, along side my standard zucchinis -- as a standby for when the borers decided to try and ruin my summer.


Jennifer AKA keewee said...

I don't have problems with any borer here. I see you like to cook it the way I do, except I like to start with sauteed onions.

Joseph said...

I wish we didn't have borers... they are the spawn of the devil.
Actually, I almost always start with sauteed onions too... I generally start chopping onions before I've even decided what I'm making.

meemsnyc said...

Thanks for posting this review of this zucchini. It would be great if it was indeed borer resistant!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I can see why it's called a "tromboncino," it does look like a little trombone. I'll take a pass, though. I need a high-yield zucchini that will grow in a pot.

Jay said...

Squash vine borers do cause problems even for C. moschata squash (butternut) varieties such as Tromboncino. The way in which they are more resistant is that they put out roots at every intersecting vine node. Put dirt over the vine at each node and they will be a little more able to handle the onslaught of squash vine borers. If the vines between the main root and growing fruit get chewed up, you can water the nodes where roots have formed closer to the fruit itself to encourage additional rooting.

Another thing I do is try to watch for the moth with a fly-swatter ready. The SVB moths are super-fast, but if you can swat them while they are laying eggs then you can give yourself a little more time for your vines to grow.

Grandma Nurse said...

Hi, I've heard that the "Costata Romanesco" is resistant to vine borers. Have you had any problems with them yet? This is my first year growing zucchini and my crop was attacked.