Vegetable Smile

I know. Cheese-y. I couldn’t help myself, although I think it aptly reflects the gleeful delight I feel each morning when I go out to collect the day’s garden offerings.

The top two squashes are Benning’s Green Tint Patty Pan from the Hudson Valley Seed Library. This is my first time growing it. The middle zucchini is ‘Nice de Rond’, a French heirloom that I have grown on and off for years. The pea pod is ‘Dwarf Grey Sugar’, a short-ish variety with pretty flowers. I tried that one in one of the raised beds this year, after years growing it in pots. To be honest I didn’t notice a difference. The sign of a truly good container plant.

The Hudson Valley Seed Library website describes ‘Benning’s Green Tint’ as a “compact bush”, but that hasn’t been my experience. Mine is absolutely mammoth — possibly the largest bushing zucchini I have ever grown both in size and productivity! I did not provide well for its aggressive expansion and it is beginning to take over the space that was meant to be shared with two other zucchini plants. It has also spilled well over into the walking path. The plant keeps growing and has taken on what is close to a trailing habit!

Meanwhile, the ‘Nice de Rond’ remains as compact in the ground as it has been in pots. I love this one in small spaces and the round, cue ball fruits are tender and unique.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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10 thoughts on “Vegetable Smile

  1. I’ve had the same experience with yellow ‘bush’ pattypans. There’s a Godzilla-sized one growing out of the top of the compost pile this year, in fact.

    I guess our definition of ‘compact’ is different from the seed guys’….

    Love the pics and stories from your new garden!

  2. Thanks so much–I am always looking for compact squash varieties. I am growing lemon squash, which is so far quite compact, but I started it late so who knows. I’ve been burned by bean descriptions–when they are supposed to be bush and they vine all over the place. Next year, I am experimenting with building my own trellises. Seed companies that post reviews are really helpful also.

  3. cute photo! i shot a squash portrait with a pair of round ones and a long zucchini phallus jutting out from between…i couldn’t help myself either, that’s my maturity level. i’m growing that same variety of round zucchini for the first time this year and it’s my new favorite. i’ve never heard it called “nice de rond” before, rather “ronde de nice,” as in round (squash) of nice (france). did you know they develop into pumpkins at maturity? i plan on leaving a couple growing closer to the end of the season.

  4. This is my second year growning ‘Bennings Green Tint’ and I would not call it terribly compact. I do find it is slower growing and produces later than my other squash plants, so I guess you could say it stays “compact” for longer than the others. I froze chunks of it quite successfully last year for stir frys (cut into large chunks, blanch for 3 minutes, drain, freeze – thaw and drain again before adding to stir-fry) and I plan to freeze more this year. It’s not the same as fresh, but compared to what is available in the grocery store in February, they look pretty good!

  5. glad to hear the rond de nice is behaving… mine is reaching maturity, but hope it will play nicely with its neighbors.

  6. Love the happy face……never met a patty pan yet that was “compact”….ours “Sunny Delight” are prolific

  7. First and foremost I love reading your blog. I too have not met a quote unqoute compact patty pan. Although as far as compact beans I have stuck tried and true with Blue Lake and contender bush beans and have had wonderful and bountiful results. I live in the midwest and so if I continually pick them they stay for alot longer than any runners I have planted. Hope this helps. Sharon

  8. Hi Gayla,

    I’m wondering if you’ve had many raccoons, squirrels and the like eating your squash? I too, am a downtown Toronto gardener. Up until now, I’ve grown almost exclusively in containers on my balcony. Next year, I’m getting a yard. We love squash but wonder if we’d end up feeding the neighbourhood critters more than ourselves. Any thoughts?


    ps Great pics by the way!

  9. I have squash envy. All my plants have succumb to a beetle gray in color. I am trying to be organic, but it is tempting to blast them all away with a nasty chemical. What is your secret to keeping the bugs away?

  10. Amy: It depends on the insect. Thankfully the worst I’ve got this year is cucumber beetle and I can manage them by squashing them every morning. They’re very easy to catch. I manage most beetles in this way unless there is a barrier method that works.

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