Trombocino Squash

skagit_goat_man_(WA)February 16, 2007

If you like to get the most uses out of one squash variety try trombocino. It's a very tasty summer squash but left on the vine until the Hubbards are ready it is a teriffic winter squash that stores well. We just bake the whole thing and cut off the seed end before eating. Tom

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Hi Goat Man Â

Boy, I am relieved to hear these taste good! This will be the first year for us to plant trombocino, and I was concerned about the taste thing. The main reason for planting it is because I read that cucumber beetles are not attracted to it. The buggers have devastated our crops for the last 3-4 years. Can anybody confirm this?? We have attempted dozens of control measures, but few have really succeeded. This year all of squash, melons, and cukes are being moved out of the garden proper, planted 200Â away, completely covered with Remay (at least in the beginning). I am planting a trap crop an additional 200Â away and across the road. The trap crop will be planted with varieties that the beetles prefer in hopes that they will party on the other side of the road. We have been so overwhelmed by these beetles (and squash bugs) that I am considering spraying the trap crop (Gasp!). Has anybody out there come up with a more effect strategy?? I am ready to anything.

Thanks, Loodean

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 10:13AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Tromboncino (a.k.a. Zucchetta Rampicante) is most often grown for its immature fruit, which are eaten like zucchini. Since zucchini is plagued by insects & disease here, I tried it as an alternative - and it did so well that it has now permanently replaced zucchini in my garden.

The vines are long & root at the nodes where they touch the ground; this increases the yield as the season progresses. While Tromboncino is a space hog, it is also a very strong climber & can be trellised... which produces straighter squash.

Eaten immature, they are different than zucchini; not as sweet, but with a wonderful flavor... plus they are 90% seedless, with all of the seeds at the blossom end. When blanched & frozen (it freezes well) the squash turns an appealing lime green. However, when the squash were allowed to mature (they look like 3-foot long Butternuts, to which they are related) I found the cooked quality inferior to most winter squash.

Loodean, I have similar insect problems with my squash - not surprising, since I live not far from you in Wisconsin. Squash bugs, borers, & striped cucumber beetles are a serious problem, and killed much of my squash last year. I too am forced to use a floating row cover to protect the young plants, or they will be quickly destroyed.

Tromboncino will be attacked by cucumber beetles, but it seemed that only the plants already under distress were attacked. Wherever I saw a young plant with beetles, I would find a squash bug or two attacking the stem... no squash bug, no beetles. Apparently, the squash bug attack causes the plant to give off a scent that attracts the beetles. Unlike most of my other squashes, Tromboncino is resistant to the wilt transmitted by the insects; and due to its extreme vigor, usually survives the attack.

What Tromboncino _is_ resistant to is the squash borer. While I lose a few plants of C. pepo & C. maxima squashes to borers each year, I have yet to see any sign of attack on Tromboncino.

Incidentally, I was able to easily kill the squash bugs with soapy water in a spray bottle. With the addition of some sugar to the mixture, it killed the beetles as well; but it also caused some leaf burn, so it should be sprayed only on infected leaves & rinsed off as soon as the beetles are dead.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 4:31PM
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We're fortunate that cuke beetle isn't a problem here. Our cured long trombocinos taste good (at least to us) especially if baked with the seed end left attached. That can be an interesting task with the long ones. Tom

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 7:57AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Skagit, it's possible that the tromboncinos I tasted (I grew them under the variety name "Zucchetta Rampicante") were not fully ripened, even though they had colored up. Although I was able to save good seed (I cured them indoors for 6 weeks), they are a real stretch for my climate... as are most squashes grown here for seed.

I know that even a slight degree of immaturity can make an immense difference in the taste of winter squash, resulting in a watery texture & bland flavor... which was what I experienced. Since there are many squashes (most notably many of the pumpkins) that taste similarly even when fully ripe, it's hard to be sure. I have eaten many butternut varieties (including the "Tahitian", which looks like a fatter, slightly shorter cousin of "Tromboncino") and found them all pleasant; so I suppose I will have to give "Tromboncino" a second chance.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 5:44PM
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I wasn't too crazy about the taste (a bit too bland), but I may have picked them after they were too large? I have a smallish garden and love other varieties more, like Costata Romonesca.

Those plants do get big, though, I had mine growing up a trellis that was easily 10 ft tall.

I've had some success using Surround against the vine borers. I think it really does act as a barrier that they cannot penetrate, but you have to keep it up.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 8:09PM
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We love an grow many winter and summer squashes, chosen for reported good flavor. We found the tromboncinos to be fairly tasteless compared to all other we grew. I tried them both very young and with some more maturity - hoping they might get tastier. I did let some grow to their fullest, and cured them like gourds - tho thin-walled, they are neat!
They had beautiful white flowers, but we won't grow them again.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 11:59PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Gladgrowing, if your squash was white-flowered, it was not Tromboncino, which has very large yellow flowers. I suspect by your description that what you grew was Cucuzzi, which is a white-flowered edible gourd (hence, you could cure it like a gourd). ;-) That would also explain the lack of flavor. The two vines are similar in habit, and their long fruits could easily be confused by someone unfamiliar with them.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 5:25PM
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WestEnder(z7 Atlanta GA)

I've been growing tromboncino for a couple of years and everyone loves it. We eat it only when it is very young and immature, and at that stage it is a lime green color through and through. Stays that color after cooking as well, which is very pretty on the plate. It has a buttery taste that everyone I know agrees can't be beat, and that flavor also has come through very well in pickles and baked goods. Last summer a couple of my squashes did accidentally get rather larger and turn a golden yellow color, so I saved one for seed but didn't know it could still be eaten at that size. I'll file that information away for future reference.

No problems with squash vine borers, yet. But last year for the first time we did have quite an infestation of cucumber beetles in our community garden, which attacked the tromboncino leaves but didn't seem to really affect the harvest. This year I have moved to a different garden location so it remains to be seen whether the beetles will follow.

I trellis my tromboncino vines and they will grow to monstrous size that way. Of course my soil is also well manured, but the leaves are easily a foot in diameter and one vines can spread 30 feet in several directions. The leaves are a beautiful marbled color, very attractive.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 7:01PM
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I have had great luck with these squash and am planning on some pickling ...

Here is a link that might be useful: Life has taught us ...

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 12:17AM
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How tall was the trellis? I'm growing tromboncino for the first time this year. I have them in a 10' row with maybe 8 plants (probably too many).

My trellis is a 10' long cattle panel that reaches about 6' off of the ground supported by a pair of large steel T-posts.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 5:54PM
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That trellis is approximately eight feet long and eight feet high. It is two sections of saplings made into "ladders" and leaned against each other. I have about six to eight plants in there. So, it sounds like you will be pretty set. You might want to get a bit more height. They love to climb.

And, FYI, the pickled tromboncino taste fantastic!

I am going to be making some gratin aux patissons (heirloom French squash) tonight based on my mother-in-law's recipe (she is French) and i will post the recipe on our blog probably by the end of the evening or tomorrow at the latest.

Here is a link that might be useful: Life has taught us ...

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 6:18PM
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This was always one Ive wanted to grow, so I put my order in today from Pinetree Seeds...Will a July planting make?
Or should I just hold on till next spring?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 8:41PM
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I think that you will be fine with the late planting. That is, as long as you get some rain down yonder in Mississippi. We planted from seed in April and it only took about two months to harvest.

Here is a link that might be useful: Life has taught us ...

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 9:55AM
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RuthieG__TX(z8 TX)

Kevin I checked your page and am amazed at the squash...I do actually have some planted and am thinking I will trellis mine as you did...I was wondering how you pickled them...Would you share your recipe...

My thoughts are that I will send you a private message because I am so hoping you will share...

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 10:54AM
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RuthieG__TX(z8 TX)

Opps sorry I saw that you have posted it on the blg..I guess I didn't read that far...I was so enthralled at the pictures ...

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 11:00AM
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Just got your message. And, yes, you can see the recipe and process on the blog at ...

It worked out really well. And, in fact, one of the jars didn't seal so I just decided to refrigerate it and ended up trying a few of them. They are delicious! You can use whatever spices that you want.

Let me know if you have any more questions.


Here is a link that might be useful: Life has taught us ...

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 11:29AM
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RuthieG__TX(z8 TX)

Thanks kevin...I really love the idea of pickling ...I really believe in the pro-biotics and believe that anything pickled is very good for you so I am anxious to try this...I pickled some of my I will tell you that they are fabulous...but they smell highly...doesn't bother us or evidently most people because I made a dip using them and the aroma was wild but people ate it like crazy...and this was at a "wine sharing" and some pretty snooty people were there but they cleaned out my stinky dip..

I went out and checked my vines this morning and I have one small squash...I was really late getting my garden going this year...thanks so much ...

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 12:33PM
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I grow tromboncino every year, straight upwards on a trellis and the fruits hang down nice and clean. It is not bothered by much and I have never seen any SVB evidence on these vines. I pick them when they're about a foot long and use like any zucchini. Tromboncino has a permanent place in my garden - I just love it, and I also grow cucuzzi which is an even more vigorous vine. Both are great on the grill with a little marinade.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 12:48PM
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austransplant(MD 7)

I'll put in my vote for Tromboncino too. This is the first year with it, after previous years growing zucchini and yellow crookneck. Both succumbed to Squash vine borers and squash bugs. The only zuccini that tastes good to me are the heirloom Italian varieties, not the bland good-looking varieties most people plant, but they are absolute insect pest magnets. Crookneck survived for quite a bit longer and tasted good, but still ended up being destroyed by borers. I have trellised Tromboncino. It grows vigorously; the young squash taste good; and it has (so far) had no insect problems, while a cucumber right next to it has been devasted by cucumber beetles. I plan to make this my standard squash variety from now on.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 1:16PM
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Here's a photo link of one of my trombocino. This is the first time I've grown this and I'm having a blast. I haven't eaten one yet, but I gave away 2 young ones to my neighbors who said they really liked the taste. I'm letting this big guy go just to see how large it will get. It's over 5 ft long at this point. The vine is a good 25 feet long on one shoot.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 10:43AM
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