Need tips on growing tatume

brittanyw(8a)February 18, 2013

I've been looking everywhere for detailed information on growing and pruning tatume squash plants, and am coming up short. There are several general articles but nothing very specific--at least not that I can find. These are my questions:

- I'm using the SFG method and plan on growing vertically on a trellis. How many squares should I expect it to take up--same as a winter squash? More? I've heard it can get pretty big.
- How should I prune it? Is it the same as vining tomatoes--pinching off the suckers?

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

JMO opinion but, unlike the many 'bush' variety squash, Tatume doesn't lend itself to Sq. Foot gardening at all well. It's multiple vines are quite large and vigorous and love to roam over a 12'-15' sq. area or more. And the vines root anywhere they come in contact with the ground. That gets you much greater production.

It also isn't pruned, usually, as that will reduce production by half or more. Have you seen ?

So is it possible to devote a separate corner of the yard to it rather than try to squeeze it into the sq. foot gardening concept? Or give it a really big separate container like a 1/2 whiskey barrel and let it run?

Otherwise I'd plan to give the hill, the base of the plant, at least a 4 foot square plot and a trellis that is at least 6' tall or more and strong with places to tie melon netting to it to support the fruit and plan to aggressively prune it back regularly or it will quickly over-run the whole bed.

JMO

Dave

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 5:08PM
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brittanyw(8a)

Thanks for the info! I'm trying it for the first time, so I'm not worried about cutting back on yields some. If I like it, maybe I'll dedicate a separate bed or much bigger space to it next year. This year, maybe it would be a good idea to plant near an edge and train some of the vines vertically, but let others run over the sides of the bed?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 2:42PM
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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

Hmmm...interesting. How does it taste?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 9:48PM
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johnthecook

2012 was my first year growing it and I will grow it every year if possible. Bugs and disease seem to leave it alone and it tastes great! It will grow off your trellis and take over other areas. I have a big garden so I planted it next to my early garden peas and it grew into that.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 10:35AM
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brittanyw(8a)

I've heard it compared to zucchini at the summer stage and butternut at the winter - my two favorite squashes. When I heard that, I knew I had to try it, haha.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 8:41PM
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johnthecook

It gets pretty Leafy as it grows all over the place and your bound to miss some to allow to grow into a winter squash. I let some grow out and they were nice ornamental small pumpkins. I didn't think the taste was anything like a Butternut squash which was really my only negative for it.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 7:04AM
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TxTwiggy(9)

I made a little teepee trellis for my tatume vine out of 4 pcs of 6-ft bamboo, and put it in a front corner of my sfg. I tied jute twine to the bamboo horizontally to make 3 or 4 "layers" of horizontal support per teepee side, and then wove the wines through the twine as they grew. That was three weeks ago. The plant--one plant-- has totally covered the teepee and is still putting off vines. The vines root when they find ground. If you harvest your tatume when they are baseball sized. you can definitely grow vertically, and it's even easier on a tee-pee "slope". The jute will decompose quickly, so I may add other horizontal supports as needed.

In another location, I leaned a salvaged chain-link gate up against my house wall, and it is a perfect tatume trellis.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 2:42PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I grew tatume last year. It was a huge vine, giving good competition to pumpkins and other winter squash for size. I cannot begin to imagine a trellis that would be large enough to support even one vine. Squash vine borers left it alone, which was a big plus. But to me, it had even less flavor than zucchini, to which I think it most closely compares in taste. This year, I am growing a bush yellow crookneck under floating row cover in one of my raised beds and will pollinate by hand to avoid Squash vine Borers.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 5:24PM
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brittanyw(8a)

Thanks for the suggestion, TxTwiggy. I decided to try out a cattle panel trellis since they seem so heavy-duty. And donna, I was lured by the zucchini comparisons, but I don't think I'll be too disappointed if they're not quite as good. It has two things going for it that most summer squash don't: SVB resistance, and (at least supposedly) good production in summer heat. And it gets hot around here.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 2:24AM
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