Mary's Veggie Garden

January 28, 2013

Bolt Cutters Not Required

Filed under: Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 12:08 pm
This 17 pound Rumbo squash is firmly wedged into the metal hoop of the tomato cage.

This 17 pound Rumbo squash is firmly wedged into the metal hoop of the tomato cage.

Last summer one of my Rumbo squashes started forming on a vine several feet above the ground.
Past experience said there was a 50-50 chance of  a 15 pound squash breaking off the vine so I decided to support it with a sling tied into a tomato cage. Bad mistake – the squash became one with the cage.

Here it is at harvest, 10/15/12, just starting to ripen. With a freeze predicted, I harvested, ready or not.

Fast forward to 12/28. I wanted a squash for soup and squash bread. The Rumbo, in its cage, had been stored in the basement. In 10 weeks it had  ripened nicely but  it was still firmly stuck.

Ripe caged Rumbo squash 12/28/2012.

Ripe caged Rumbo squash 12/28/2012.

The cage needed to be removed. My husband offered the bolt cutters. I remembered his complaints about how tough the wire was to cut when he removed the prongs from similar cages to make dahlia cages.

I armed myself with scissors and a knife and set to work.

First step: cut away all the fabric. I was hoping the squash would be looser with the fabric removed but it was still immovable.

Second step: break off the stem. The dried stem is too hard to cut with a knife but it is easy to break off.

Third step: using our longest knife I cut the squash in half, from 12  o’clock to 6 o’clock. This was difficult with the pressure of the squash on the knife. We anchored the cage with our feet and  Ed steadied the top while I cut. After, neither of us could move the squash.

Fourth step: I cut a wedge from a 2″ wide section between two deep ribs. Then with a narrow knife, I made a horizontal cut in the wedge, right along the wire. The top of the wedge lifted off and the bottom fell out with some firm pushing.

The cut Rumbo after being removed from the wire cage.

The cut Rumbo after being removed from the wire cage.

Last step: removing the wedge left enough space that the two big pieces were easy to remove. I wanted the pieces as big as possible for baking the squash.

The last picture shows the mark left by the wire. The black looked like bits of corrosion from the wire. I picked it out with the tip of a knife and scrubbed well.

The squash was sweet and delicious, despite being ripened in the basement.

RumboWireMark.DSC01412

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