Tromboncino! I love saying the word. I only just goggled it and found out that I've been spelling it wrong, not enough 'n's. Well its difficult when you come across a vege that you've never met before, you don't know how to pronounce or spell its name and you don't really know how it will grow, when to harvest or how to eat it! I suppose that adds to the excitement. And there's always the possibility that a new vege may grow really well in your conditions AND taste nice too.
a tangle of tromboncinos
I was given tromboncino seeds by a lovely lady at our permaculture group (thanks Judi!) and I wasn't really sure what to expect. I had read about them on Linda Woodrow's Witches Kitchen, so I know that they like to climb and that I may get more than I could eat. Just in case, I only planted three seeds, and two of them made it out to the garden, planted next to the fence, so they could climb up if they wanted to.
They didn't do much through our dry spell, even though they were high priority for water. I got two tromboncinos off them before it started raining. Then they quadrupled in size and became COVERED in fruit. They are doing way better than the zucchini and squash I planted, so they are a winner so far. They have only just got a little powdery mildew (understandable in this weather) and hardly any trouble with blossom end-rot - both of which are my main problems with zucchini and squash.
Here's the two tronboncinos amongst beans and pickling cucumber
They are pale green and hook over things to form the weirdest shapes. It can be quite difficult to find them in the foliage and then you realise just how many you have..... The fact that they climb means that you can make use of vertical space as well as providing shade for more tender plants in the garden, which is much more convenient than scratchy zucchini leaves sprawled everywhere.
tromboncino with flowers
here's some mini ones starting to form
I think the reason that you don't see tromboncino as a commercial crop is that its quite easily bruised or snapped. They don't have the thick skin of a zucchini and are not as fibrous. The texture is really quite smooth, more like pumpkin, but not as tough. I haven't grown one big enough to save seeds yet, so I have left a bigger one on the vine for later, but I think I might have to let it get rather huge!