I first heard about the tatume squash after a summer of battling the squash vine borer. Once I realized these pests weren’t messing around, I started researching squash varieties that were a little more tolerant of these borers.
And the tatume squash popped up on my radar.
That next spring I purchased some seeds and planted them next to the summer squash…with low expectations. What made this variety so much more tolerant to the squash vine borer?
The tatume squash vines out like a winter squash, not like a typical summer squash that is more bushy. It also took a little more time to get going than my summer squash. I was a little unimpressed, but I kept watering it and going on with my life.
Then the summer squash got taken out by the borer. Sad day, but unfortunately expected. Even more concerning was that upon further inspection, it looked like the tatume vines had been infiltrated with the borers too.
I felt sadly validated of my skepticism. But the plant wasn’t dead so I kept watering it and going on with my life.
A week or two later the plant was still chugging away and the vines were stretching all over the place. Okay, I was starting to think there might be some validation to these claims of being squash vine borer tolerant.
Turns out this squash variety is pretty aggressive. It’s fast growing and has no problem quickly re-rooting itself when part of it has been compromised. This is definitely a unique characteristic.
As I started following the vines, I realized that one had even poked through and escaped my fenced-in garden. When I went on the other side to check it out, I noticed it had re-rooted itself and was even producing fruit…on the other side of the fence!
Alright, I am thinking this squash might be a keeper.
But there’s more! The tatume squash can be harvested as a summer or a winter squash. It’s like two in one!
To harvest it as a summer squash pick it when it is about the size of a softball or a little smaller. If you want to use it as a winter squash let it mature on the vine and harvest it when their skin is hardened and the vines begin to dry. They can get pretty large, I have even mistaken it for a small watermelon in the garden before.
Either way you harvest it, this squash variety has more flavor than a typical summer squash and is great roasted, in a stir-fry, or grilled.
If you do plant this variety just keep in mind that the vine is pretty aggressive so be sure to give it some space. Most likely it will end up clear on the other side of the garden from where you planted it.
This squash is so versatile, tastes great and is pretty darn hardy, and I highly recommend giving it a shot in your garden…especially if you have issues with the squash vine borer in your area like we do.
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