East Sac Edible


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We are just on a break…

Finally some rain!

Finally some rain!

My garden and I have taken a little break from each other. After the hustle of the height of summer, I needed a little time away. The weather changed perfectly this week to provide some cozy time inside. Last week, we had our first “real” rain in longer than I can remember. You know you are in a real drought when you have a 16 month old and she has never seen rain fall from the sky before.

Deconstructed compost bins

Deconstructed compost bins

The new open air compost pile. It looks so nice because there is an obscene amount of coffee grounds thrown on top!

The new open air compost pile. It looks so nice because there is an obscene amount of coffee grounds thrown on top!

The garden seems to be happy with the rain. In Sacramento, the summer season really seems to extend quite a long time. Last year I was still harvesting tomatoes in November! This year I think I will take down the tomatoes earlier though to get my compost piles ready. Yesterday I pulled apart both compost bins and made one huge open air pile. I like doing this in the fall so that I can easily turn the pile and things seem to decompose much faster this way. Plus I don’t have room for all of my old summer plants in the bins so a huge open pile is the way to go.

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Synchronized Trombetta di Albenga squash!

Synchronized Trombetta di Albenga squash!

There is still plenty to harvest. Basil, peppers, squash, kale, and tomatoes are still coming in. I planted some fall seeds directly into the ground although I still have not fully committed to my fall garden yet. I am feeling a bit tired from gardening so I might take this season off just to plant cover crops, build up my compost piles and work on soil fertility. Sometimes the garden needs a break from me too.

Corn was replaced with some fall seeds

Corn was replaced with some fall seeds

Don’t worry though… I am sure we will reconcile after we both have our space.

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Monster Squash: Trombetta di Albenga

This year I decided to grow an heirloom climbing summer squash called Trombetta di Albenga. My friend grew it last summer and quickly sautéed it for dinner one night when I was at her house and it was delicious! The best part about this squash is that it is seedless and firm so it doesn’t get watery or mushy like Black Beauty zucchini.

I knew this was going to be a big plant and because my space is limited I decided to train the squash up the grounding cable to the power pole in my backyard. These cables are pretty ugly so why not cover them with a beautiful edible plant! So the other day I noticed that the squash vine wasn’t going up the cable anymore so I decided to help it out by clipping it back up. Well there was a good reason why it wasn’t growing upwards anymore because hidden behind the tomato plant I found this monster… DSC_2694

That’s right folks. Unbeknownst to me, this giant squash was quietly growing. I’m not sure the picture does it justice. This thing weighed in at 8 and a 1/2 pounds! It is 3 feet tall. This thing is the size of a toddler. DSC_2696 DSC_2697

You are supposed to pick the fruit when they are about 10 to 12 inches like this squash below. Even this one we have been trying to eat all week and I have been putting it in miso soup, and sautéing it with some olive oil and salt and pepper. I even sliced it thin to put on pizza. Even though we have been eating this one squash all week we still have about a fourth of the squash left! What is great is that the squash keeps well in the refrigerator and still hasn’t gone mushy on us at all. DSC_2626

This is what the plant looked like on June 6 when I transplanted it into the ground. I transplanted two just to be safe but only one survived the transplant. I dug a pretty sizable hole when I planted them and added lots of my compost into the hole upon planting. Squash are vigorous growers so rich compost is best for their growth.

DSC_1716This is what the plant looked like in mid July growing up the power cable. DSC_2180

Here is what it looked like in late July when some squash finally started to form. DSC_2534 DSC_2536And this is what the plant looks like today. There is one main branch climbing up the pole and two secondary branches going different directions onto the patio. The main branch actually has gone all the way to the back fence but fell down into the elderberry bush from the weight of the monster squash. I also interplanted some beans but they have yet to produce beans for me.DSC_2698 DSC_2699 DSC_2700 DSC_2702 DSC_2703In my opinion this squash is by far my most favorite. Even though this is a huge plant, the fact that it can climb is a huge plus in my small garden. You generally need a lot of room for squashes so this allows me to have my squash while still working in a small space. I planted some Black Beauty zucchini in the front yard as well but it only produced a few zucchini for me and then the plant completely fizzled in some of our hotter days of summer. I think next year I may forgo the Black Beauty and just plant more of the Trombetta!