It’s not too late to pop in a good summer crop of summer squash and zucchini. In fact, these heat lovers do best once the ground has warmed. If you have room for a few plants, why not try some of the more unusual varieties? Common dark green zucchini or yellow summer squash are certainly fine to grow, but I always like trying different varieties that look more interesting and have a unique flavor. For best flavor and texture, harvest summer squash and zucchini when the fruits are young. I often pick the squash with the flowers still attached. Here are some I’ve tried over the years:

  • Kousa or Lebanese Squash: This light-green-skinned squash has a fatter shape than traditional zucchini. I like the nutty flavor of the flesh and the fact that it stays tender even when large.
  • ‘Eight Ball’: This unusually shaped summer squash is round like a softball and dark green. It’s great baked, stuffed, or sauteed. There are light green and yellow varieties of this round squash, as well.
  • ‘Costata Romanesco’: This is a variety of the traditional Italian zucchini. The fruits are striped green and white and ribbed along the skin. I like the meatiness of these zucchini. They are great thinly sliced and grilled or roasted with other veggies.
  • ‘Tromboncino’: This Italian summer squash is unique for its vining habit and fruit shape. The plants can vine 6 or more feet. They are best grown on a strong trellis to support the plants and fruits. The long, thin fruits are up to 3 feet long with a bulb-shaped end. The fruits can be harvested at any time for grilling or steaming.
  • ‘Zephyr’: This summer squash only grows 4 to 6 inches long, but has unique yellow-skinned fruits with green on the bottom. It has a firm texture and nutty flavor.
  • Pattypan: These flying saucer shaped squash look unique in the garden and are fun to grow. There are varieties with light green, yellow, or even bicolor skin.