Jennifer StackhouseHow to grow spaghetti squash

One of the most widely celebrated April fool’s jokes of all time was a story broadcast in 1957 on the highly respected BBC current affairs show ‘Panorama’ about the annual spaghetti tree harvest. The TV segment showed a Swiss family supposedly harvesting spaghetti from their own trees. The segment is now available to watch on YouTube (see below).

The joke fooled many and lots of viewers are said to have contacted the BBC for details on how to grow a spaghetti tree. While spaghetti is normally made from wheat flour and water mixed with egg, the ‘Panorama’ segment wasn’t completely barking up the wrong tree. It is possible to grow your own spaghetti on a vine, if not a tree.

The spaghetti squash is grown much like a cucumber and is closely related to zucchini. The vigorous vine produces large cylindrical fruit, which ripen to bright yellow.

The yellow exterior reveals nothing of the mysterious ‘pasta’ that lies inside. Photo: Adobe Photo Stock

 

When it is cooked (either baked, boiled or microwaved whole) the flesh can be scooped out in strings that resemble cooked strands of spaghetti. Serve with your favourite pasta sauce! Vegetable spaghetti is high in nutrients and low in calories.

Cook and scrape out the vegetable strands for a tasty bowl of vegetable spaghetti served with your favourite sauce. Photo: Adobe Photo Stock

 

Planting and growing

Plant the seeds of spaghetti squash in spring when the soil has warmed and all threat of frost has passed. Plant the seeds directly into a prepared a vegetable bed or plant into a large container (at least 40cm across or larger). As the vine sprawls much like a zucchini, space seeds at 1-1.2m apart so the vine has room to grow.

Like all cucurbits, spaghetti squash has both male and female flowers with the female flowers producing fruit. The vine takes around 15 weeks to produce mature fruit.

Harvest the large fruits that have turned bright yellow. Cut the fruit from the vine leaving a piece of stem attached. Kept watered, the vine should continue producing until the first winter frost. Plants may be attacked by powdery mildew towards the end of the growing season.

Spaghetti squash is a warm season crop that grows on a sprawling vine. Photo: Adobe Photo Stock

Spaghetti squash is a cucurbit closely related to pumpkin and zucchini. Photo: Adobe Photo Stock

 

The fruit is also available occasionally in the fruit shop and keeps well wrapped in plastic and stored in the crisper section of the fridge.

Availability

Seeds are available online from Greenharvest (greenharvest.com.au).

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Jennifer Stackhouse

About Jennifer Stackhouse

Recently Jennifer Stackhouse made the big move from Kurmond in NSW to a Federation house in the little village of Barrington tucked beneath Mt Roland in northwest Tasmania. With high rainfall, rich, red deep soil and a mild climate she reckons she's won the gardening lottery. She's taken on an acre garden that's been lovingly planted and tended for the past 28 years by a pair of keen gardeners so she is discovering a garden full of horticultural treasures. Jennifer is the author of several gardening books including 'Garden', which won a Book Laurel for 2013, as well as ‘The Organic Guide to Edible Gardens’, ‘Planting Techniques’ and ‘My Gardening Year’, which she wrote with her mother Shirley. She was editor of ABC 'Gardening Australia' magazine and now edits the trade journal 'Greenworld' magazine and writes regularly for the Saturday magazine in 'The Mercury'. She is often heard on radio and at garden shows answering garden queries.

One thought on “How to grow spaghetti squash

  1. Louise McDaid on said:

    I remember as a child being fascinated by the photos of spaghetti growing on trees at the Italian place in The Rocks in Sydney, can’t just remember it’s name. The walls were covered with the life-size scenes which made it seem very real – I really wondered if it could be true!

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