Squash and Snaps

Two of my favorite things to grow in the summer are also fortunately two of my favorite things to eat.

We grow a lot of summer squash.  It was an staple in our food culture here when I was growing up and one of the first things I planted when we began gardening.

When I was a boy we only grew yellow crookneck squash.  I was an adult before I knew there was any other kind. We grew a lot of lemon squash and patty pan (scallop) squash last year and we’ve tried other kinds in the past. But this year we plan to stick with our tried and true favorites:  yellow crook neck, yellow straight neck and Zephyr.  Zephyr is a delicious bi-colored variety we get from Johnny’s and is our current favorite.

Golden scallop squash and (L to R) Zephyr, a funny-looking yellow crook neck, yellow straight neck and lemon squash.

Golden scallop squash and (L to R) Zephyr, a funny-looking yellow crook neck, yellow straight neck and lemon squash.

Keeping the squash bugs off long enough to permit a harvest is a real challenge when you don’t use pesticides. We battle them by hand every year, knowing they will eventually win, but hopefully not before we’ve picked an abundance of great chemical-free squash.

Green beans were another staple of our food culture 40 years ago, and they still are today.  As with squash, I began planting them as soon as we began gardening.  They mature in the heat of summer and picking them is long, hot, backache-inducing work.  So lots of market gardeners don’t bother with them. But we love them and we devote an entire large garden to them. Beside being delicious, being legumes they fix nitrogen in the soil, naturally fertilizing th garden for next year.  We always plant several varieties but our favorite is Roma II, a delicious flat bean that is as popular at the market as it is in our kitchen.

Roma snaps

Roma snaps

Around here most people know “green beans” as “string beans.”  I grew up calling them “snaps” and that has stuck with me all these years later.  We use “green beans” in our marketing materials, but in our house they’re snaps.

Thinking of summer gardens on a winter morning…

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20 comments on “Squash and Snaps

  1. interesting that you do not grow any green summer squash, love love snaps 🙂

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    • Bill says:

      Glad to know there are other snaps lovers out there. 🙂
      We’ve never tried any green squash. Maybe someday. I’ve never tasted a squash I didn’t like.

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  2. Buffy says:

    We plan to add zephyr to our garden this year. I’m also thinking of growing pole beans instead of bush bean this year. Do you grow winter squash? We fell in love with spaghetti and butternut last year.

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    • Bill says:

      We love Zephyr and it is now our primary summer squash–hearty plants, prolific producers, delicious and attractive. I hope it works out for you.

      We love winter squash too. We grow spaghetti, butternut and acorn. This year we’re also adding delicata.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. In my mothers garden she always called them string beans, but I can see why they are called snaps. When you bring them in and clean them you can snap off the end that was attached to the plant with your hands instead of using a knife, they are that firm and crisp. I still remember as a kid setting around the kitchen table helping my mother clean the sting beans and enjoying them for dinner.

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    • Bill says:

      When I was growing up we weren’t allowed to watch TV in the summer unless we were snapping beans or shelling peas while doing it. 🙂

      We always snapped off the tail too, but my wife never does.

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  4. ladyfi says:

    There’s nothing like the bounty of a summer garden!

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  5. Farmgirl says:

    Actively garden dreaming this morning…

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  6. shoreacres says:

    We called green beans snap beans in Iowa, but when I moved to Texas, I discovered that “snaps” were the pieces of pod mixed in with black-eyed peas. Green beans are string beans, for the most part.

    Does the lemon squash have lemon flavor, or is the name just a reference to the shape?

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    • Bill says:

      My mother in law is from Alabama and they snapped blackeyed pea pods like that too. We never did that here. Here snaps are green beans. At the market this year we put “flat snaps” on our signage once and had a few people comment that they hadn’t heard that in a while. 🙂

      Lemon squash tastes like other summer squash. It’s called lemon squash because it looks like a lemon.

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  7. farmerkhaiti says:

    You are getting me so pumped for the next garden! i had scarlet runner “green beans” for the first time this year at a friends garden- picked medium sized they were superb! And grew up on trellis like 10 feet in the air, the plants were LOADED. I’ve always grown bush style green beans for CSA, but since we’re switching that this year, I’m gonna go for the trelised up scarlet runners, which I bet are similar to the Romas you like. They make real pretty and big dry beans if you can let them mature, which would be easy since I’m sure I’ll miss some in picking.
    Summer squash last summer was misearable with our swarm of squash bugs. I’ve read one idea is to do an early sacrifice planting to draw the bugs, and then burn that row or something before you plant your main crop plants. Wonder if that would work. Or- do you think row cover could keep them out?

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    • Bill says:

      A friend of mine grew Kentucky Wonders up a trellis that was about 7 feet tall and it was loaded too. I couldn’t believe how many beans he got off that plant. He told me that he could easily have grown it 10 feet tall if his trellis had been taller. Romas are bush beans but they look like Ky Wonders. I’m anxious to compare the taste.

      I’m skeptical of the squash idea. I’ve never had any luck replanting squash in a garden once the squash bugs get the upper hand. I’ve plowed and replanted but the second plantings never make it. What we do is plant a squash garden in early May, knowing it will eventually be done in by the bugs. We plant a second garden in mid-June and those plants will be producing when the first garden is finished.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. My grandmother called them string beans, and I think I probably use both terms – but not snap. Round here, snap would probably only be associated with snap peas, or edible pod peas. I love patty pan squash, though I’ve never grown it. We’re more winter squash folks here.

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    • Bill says:

      We really liked the patty pan too, but it didn’t sell at the market and we ended up with way more than we could use. So this year we’re going to stick with varieties that sell. We’ll still have plenty of leftovers for us. When I was growing up we didn’t grow any winter squash. It was something I had to learn when we started gardening. Now we devote an entire large garden to winter squash every year. Love it.

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  9. avwalters says:

    We called them string beans. Snaps, to us, were peas in an edible pod. I saw zephyr in the catalog–and had decided to add it this year. For taste, though, my favorite is still the ribbed, costata romanesco.

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    • Bill says:

      We didn’t have snap peas when I was a kid, so there was no competition for the word. We do grow them now though and they are yummy.

      We grew costata romanesco last year as an experiment. It did fine and we enjoyed it, but it wasn’t popular at the market. It yields less than other zucchini and even though it has a reputation as the best-tasting zuke, we can’t justify giving it so much space in the gardens this year. We plan to cut back to only one variety–Safari, which has done very well for us.

      Liked by 1 person

      • avwalters says:

        I’ve never had to justify my experiments to the tastes of the market. I’ll have to think about that.

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      • Bill says:

        We’re homesteaders first so we would’ve continued growing it for us if it was our preferred zuke, but we were happy with the Safari, which produced more and was equally favored at the market. We try new things every year. We discovered Safari while experimenting and liked it so much we quit growing Black Beauty.

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