Harvest Monday, October 21, 2013 + Trombonino Squash & “A” Choy Update + Importance of Proper Spacing

Decided it was time to bring in all my tromboncino squashes. Night time temp is dropping to the 30’s, even though there are still a few baby squashes on the plant, I doubt they will get large enough to be bothered with. Pulling up the plant and cleaning the area this week.

Tromboncino squash (5885)

Tromboncino Squashes

The squash with the tape measure is a mature one (passed the nail test). It is 39 inches long and weighs 12¾ pounds. I imagine it would taste like a winter squash.

The two immature ones were sliced, lengthwise, tossed with a bit of oil, salt and pepper.

Tromboncino squash (5609)Tromboncino squash (5611)They were baked at 400º F until tender and lightly browned.
Packaged cooled baked squash in freezer bag, date, label and freeze for future use. May make a lasagna, will see.

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“A” choy (Taiwanese lettuce) I planted around mid-August are doing very well, the ones in the garden as well as the ones in container. They are disease resistant and insects leave them alone.

"A" choy (5892)

“A” Choy in round 9-inch Pot

"A" choy (5868)

“A” Choy in Window Box

Because of its upright growth habit, “A” choy is good for growing in small garden and for growing in container. In the round 9-inch pot, there are 4 plants, all doing well. In the window box, there are 8 plants, 4 at each end and a radicchio in the middle, all are doing well also.

Both the leaves and stem of the “A” choy are used. I use the very young leaves in salad and stir fry the mature leaves and stems (peel stems if they are not tender) in a bit of oil with garlic, ginger, shallots and S&P to taste. Oyster sauce also goes well. Use as a veggie side dish or add to soup like you would bok choy.

I also like to separate the leaves and stems. Stir-fry the leaves alone. Combine the stems with other veggies and tofu, meat, poultry or seafood. The stem is crunchy and mild.

The mature “A” choy leaves have a slight bitter taste (similar to broccoli rabe). Blanching will eliminate or reduce the bitter taste. The stem has no bitter taste.

Forgot to take photo of the finished dish. Still have “A” choy in the fridge so will remake the dish and post photo and recipe in a later  post.

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Bok choy (5895)

Bok Choy
Cabbage worms favorite veggie

The above is a bok choy from my garden. You cannot see the cabbage worms but they are there, quite a few of them.

◊ ◊ ◊

Wanting to know, given the same growing environment, what impact would spacing have on container grown plants.

I planted Shanghai bok choy and gai lan (Chinese broccoli) in 29-inch window boxes (2 boxes for each variety). Had 12 plants in each of the 4 boxes. When they reached about 5 inches, I thinned out 6 of the Shanghai bok choy from one of the boxes and did the same with the gai lan (the thinning were tender and delicious). The results, as you can see from the 2 photos below, are amazing.

I have since thinned the overcrowded boxes.

Shanghai bok choy (5893)

Shanghai Bok Choy
The plant on the left was given more space (1 of 6 in the box)
The one on the right was given less space (1 of 12 in the box)

Instead of pulling up the whole plant, I harvest the outer leaves of each plant, allowing the remaining plants to continue to grow from the inside out (I did pull up one of the 6 plants for the photo).

Gai lan (Chinese broccoli) (5896)

Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli)
Flower buds are small, should have waited a few more days before harvesting
The plant on the left was given more space (1 of 6 in the box)
The one on the right was given less space (1 of 12 in the box)

I cut just below the tender part of the stem. Side shoots will grow at the base of the remaining leaves. The side shoots will not be as large but still tender and tasty.

With winter approaching, not sure how long the harvest will last. Will keep you posted.

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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47 Responses to Harvest Monday, October 21, 2013 + Trombonino Squash & “A” Choy Update + Importance of Proper Spacing

  1. Daphne says:

    That is one huge squash. You will have to tell us what it tastes like when you eat it. Too bad about the cabbage worms. They are such a pest.

  2. That big Tromboncino Squash is no joke! How awesome is that?! I keep thinking about growing them but are a bit intimidated by the sheer size of the vines in addition to the squash themselves! Where did you get your seeds from? Maybe I’ll just give them a go in 2014 despite my reservations 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Melissa,
      I got my seeds from Pinetree. Planted 2 plants and built a trellis for the vine to climb, one plant would have been plenty but I was worried it would not make it so planted 2 and both made it.

  3. WOW – what a huge squash and what a bother about the cabbage worms Norma.
    I have got as far as bringing an old rusted wheelbarrow from behind our shed and levelled it with a couple of paving bricks, lined it and filled it with potting soil. Sadly though that is as far as my mini veggie garden has gotten as I need to transfer herbs to the wheelbarrow so I can have the extra space in the current herb garden for veggies.
    Have a super week Norma.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  4. You’ve had some trouble with bugs and deer and other critters but still your garden impresses me. How you care for it and keep track of everything is inspirational.

  5. That’s a giant winter squash, Norma. I am going to grow some A choy next year!

  6. Patsy says:

    I have been so happy with trombocino squash! Never tried to let a squash mature as much as you did though, so I’m curious how it tastes. Your bok choy looks like mine, well chomped on by those cabbage worms. They really did a number on my fall cabbages that’s for sure! What exactly is “A” choy? It looks very healthy and good!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Patsy,
      Had too many squashes so decided to let one of them fully mature, hope it makes for a good tasting winter squash. Will post an update when I use it.
      “A” choy is known as Taiwanese lettuce, it reminds me of celtuce.

  7. Your idea of freezing roasted squash is very clever.

  8. Yaay for your giant trombie, Norma! Ours wasn’t particularly flavourful once they got to that size, but they were great grated for slices or in soups. I still have bags of frozen grated tromboncino, you’ve just reminded me, thank you!

  9. Hotly Spiced says:

    Given the size of those caterpillars, I’m always staggered by how much they can eat. What a shame about your bok choy! But your trombocinos look very good and I think they would be perfect in a lasagne xx

  10. ChgoJohn says:

    Sorry to see the damage that the cabbage worms caused to your plants, Norm, but so happy to see the tromboncino did so well. That one looks huge! There are hard frost warnings tonight so I think our gardens will be finished by morning. Time to strip the beds and pots to get ready for the white stuff. Have a good week!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello John,
      Frost warning for my area was issued for last night, too early in the morning to go to the garden to check for any damage. Will need to bring in many of the garden crops as cold weather is here to stay.
      This is my first year growing tromboncino squash and am pleasantly surprised at the results. Did not expect that matured one to be so gigantic. Understand it’s and Italian squash, how do you and Zia prepare it? A good week to you too.

  11. Eva Taylor says:

    The harvest does look amazing! You must be thrilled to eat from your garden. My niece (lawyer) and her BF spent the weekend with us and I chatted quite some time with her BF about gardening. He is quite accomplished. I was thinking of you the whole time as he excitedly showed off photos of a banana palm (bearing fruit!), mangos and more!
    The spacing sure does make an enormous difference for sure.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      Oh yes, I am very thrilled to be pretty much self-sufficient and also have extra for the freezer, winter cold storage AND share with friends and neighbours.
      Having fruit bearing banana tree and mango tree, your niece’s BF must live in the tropic. Bet he also have citrus and perhaps lichee, loquat and longan. I am so jealous. Did you ask him for advice about growing container plants on your deck? I am sure he could offer a lot of practical hints.

  12. Kim says:

    Wow still harvesting, I guess there has been no frost yet?
    What do you with leaves of plants that have worm damage?
    Wash them off and eat what is left or just compost the plant?

    I’ve never tried that kind of squash be sure to let us know how it tastes
    and how you cooked it.

    Happy Gardening

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Kim,
      Frost warning was issued for last night, will go out after lunch to check for damage and bring in the not so hardy garden crops as cold weather is here to stay.
      That bok choy in the photo went to the compost pile. If I am not grossed out by the damage and the stem is a good size I would discard the damaged leaves and use the usable parts.
      I certainly will post update on that giant squash when I use it.

  13. That is one big squash!
    I love grilling squash too, it adds so much flavor to them
    Sorry for the cabbage plants, the worms did some serious damage

  14. Oh, the oven roasted veggies look great!

  15. Sorry to hear about those worms, always such a bummer! That squash looks amazing!

  16. Wow, that is a gargantuan squash! Very impressive Norma. Bummer about the cabbage worms though.

  17. Saskia (1=2) says:

    You must be loving that disease and insect-resistant lettuce Norma. What a relief!
    Cabbage worms. Yuk! I think bugs with names dedicated to a specific ingestible are the most heinous. Dung beetles probably win the grand prize though.
    PS. Can’t wait to see what you make with those beautiful baked squashes – lasagne sounds perfect!

  18. I love Gailan! I know yours would taste fantastic and organically grown. I swear sometimes when I buy gailan at the wet market it tastes just like chemicals even after I wash and soak it really good. I need to start some plants inside over the HK winter. Have a super week! Looking forward to reading about that lasagna you have planned with your veggies. Take Care, BAM

  19. Hi Norma! Are the Taiwanese lettuce resistant to disease/insects because they are what they are or how they’ve been treated?

  20. A choy!! I always feel good about eating veggies with a few bug nibbles; if the worms approve, I surely trust it has no pesticides!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Irina,
      This is my first year growing “A” choy and really like its ease of growth and the taste, definitely growing again. I use no pesticides so must tolerate all bugs.

  21. Lrong says:

    Enjoy looking at your harvests… the A-choy is really a lovely veggie to grow and eat… one of my favorites… haven’t tried growing it during the cold season yet…

  22. Pingback: 1.13.14 Liebster + Illuminating Blogger Awards | Diary of a Tomato

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