So we have these AMAZING squash -Tohono O' Odham squash. We call them
The Hideously Prolific. The white and green fruits are bigger than
pumpkins - huge delicious yellow-meated squash, which produce lots of
fat two-inch seeds. It grows great in full sun on 100+ degree days all
summer long. The meat is delicious and the seeds are great fried in oil
Problem is, the plant is aggressive like whoa. Think Genghis Khan. It
has gorgeous green and white fuzzy eighteen -inch leaves (I kid you
not). The tendrils are over a foot long (there are four tendrils on
each leafing branch), the flowers are bigger than my hand spread out,
and last year the vines climbed over our driveway, our roof, our
sidewalk, and climbed our two-story mulberry tree. The vines are furry
and thick, completely impervious to insects. You'd have to see it - we
bring friends over to see it and they just stand and stare for a
minute. It's kinda scary - but fun.
I have three of these monsters planted this year, and they're taking
off. What I'm wondering is:is there a way to pinch back the extra vines
to encourage just the fruiting branches? How can I tell which baby
vines will bear fruit and which won't is there some pattern, like a
Fibbonaci sequence, that can tell me which sub-vines to develop and
which to pinch?
Each leaf has a tendril, a leaf, a flower, and a baby vine. So the
plants just grow like mad and each leafy branch produces more and more
vines. Since the vines and leaves are so freakin' huge, I'd like to
find a way to predict which sub-vines will produce fruit and which
won't. I don't want to lose a single female flower, but It doesn't make
sense to provide space and water to a bunch of crazy vines, when there
are so many more male than female flowers.
So far I'm letting every sub-vine develop until it produces a female
flower, then I pinch it off. But with every leaf producing more vines,
and every vine threatening to eat someone I love, it's getting out of
control. It's already reached the roof , the gazebo, the pond, and the
mulberry tree. Last year my husband had to climb the tree to gather the
squash before they fell on someone. We were giving massive squash to
everyone we knew, and we ate it all year.
I have seeds for those of you brave enough to try this monster for
yourselves - but it's probably best for you Southwest people. This guy
loves really hot bright days.