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Jul 29, 2014 01:47 PM

Volunteer ornamental squash, what to do?

At least I think that's what they are. I planted tons of zucchini and cucumber, so far one small zucchini. But these are growing like wildfire. The plants all look sort of the same, unfortunately. Last fall a friend came over and brought a bag of something similar to these as a gift, as a fall decoration for the house, and after the year's end I threw them in the garden as compost. At least I think that's what happened.

Anyway up til now, I thought I was imagining things and have been picking them in a tiny state and slicing and sautéing and enjoying. But I'm starting to have second thoughts about my future crop. They're starting to get BIG!

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  1. Triffids, mayhap? Just sayin'...

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      I recognize the gooseneck ones, but the round green orb seems sort of like a ghost squash. I like surprises, but these vines are taking over the entire garden, it IS sort of weird.

    2. I had some like that the last two years - the young ones were zucchini like the mature ones developed lots of edible seeds - I wish I had them this year as my planted squash and pumpkins are dismal

      1 Reply
      1. re: JTPhilly

        I had one zucchini so far, and two more that are coming along. No cucs even though I bought the plants already grown. Meanwhile probably about 20 of these oddballs! Well at least my house will be well decorated for Halloween.

      2. Last year, we had volunteer sweet potatoes from the compost pile. Enough to last all winter. This year, it's a happy and healthy spaghetti squash trailing along the fence with green footballs hanging down.

        Yours are beautiful! Maybe you can donate some to a soup kitchen.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kitchengardengal

          For decorations, maybe? Wish I had some spaghetti squash!

        2. Growing squash from seeds, I've frequently ended up with the wrong variety. Like, plant pumpkins and end up with ornamental gourds. I don't think the companies are very carefully about sorting and labelling. I've had the same thing happen with peppers.

          If you don't want to try eating them, let them dry and use for Thanksgiving decorations. If they're still hanging in, spray paint them gold and use for Christmas decorations.

          3 Replies
          1. re: 512window

            I'm hoping they last til the fall, we'll see. I've picked a few more in the meantime.

            1. re: coll

              Have you tried cooking any of your volunteer varieties? You won't be out much effort if you try simply slicing and steaming...

              1. re: greygarious

                Yes up til now I was picking them small sized and slicing, peel and all, then sautéing in butter and fresh herbs from the porch. But they're getting out of hand at this point and the skin is getting very thick now. Not even sure if they're technically edible, although I didn't die yet....