If there were to be a vegetable mascot for the Urban Homestead project, it would be—without a question—a Tromboncino Squash.  This versatile Italian heirloom is both a summer squash AND a winter squash. Obviously, its name derives from the similarly-shaped musical instrument.

From Justin Dervaes’s now-famous 007 quip about the soup that never died (referring to eating squash soup for six meals in a row…”there was nothing wrong with the soup…!”) to Jules Dervaes’s hypothetical trip through the checkout line in a grocery store with a massive squash in tow, only to be asked, “Paper or plastic?” by the cashier, each year this ever-giving, most generous food source provides nourishment—if not a little bewilderment about how else to serve such a prolific vegetable.

For those concerned with storing up food for emergencies, Tromboncino squash is an almost-perfect commodity. First, you don’t need much ground space (like the more sprawling pumpkin patch) because the squash grows vertically from trellises. Although you do need some space for storage, there is no wasted part of the squash. The long “neck” is solid and, thus, all edible, with only a small seed cavity at the base.

Tromboncino is also an excellent fit for the GAPS™ Diet, a healing diet that concentrates on restoring the gut to maximum health for the well-being of the entire body, especially brain function. Both summer and winter squash are staples for those following the diet’s protocol. (Here are some links to Resources related to the diet—and for healthy eating in general.)

In my former neighborhood, there was a house that displayed very creative Fall decorations in their front yard using the gangly squash to construct amusing-looking “stick” figures.

Seeds for this vegetable gift are available at Urban Homestead Supply.   (Pssst—free shipping available for seeds only.)

Have you grown Tromboncino squash? What is your favorite way to serve winter squash?


  1. Joyness Sparkles says:

    Such a unique squash. I am not sure if I will try it yet. Here in Texas, I have six varieties that I am trying to see what will grow well here (heirlooms). I do not like the hybrids that the local extension chapter keep trying to sell me. If half of these do not work, I will look into this one as a replacement. Thank you so much for this post and the photos…wonderful! 🙂

    • Treechild says:

      I still need to try grow the squash myself, too–these pictures were from the Urban Homestead garden, not mine!

  2. Gigi says:

    I am interested in growing the squash, but I have a few questions. What should be the dimensions of the trellis? By the picture, I am assuming that the squash takes up most of the space inside the trellis and is unusable. Is this correct? How long are you able to store them? We are not able to store butternut squash over the winter. Are they approximately like butternut squash? Are you bothered by the squash vine borer?

    • Treechild says:

      I spoke with Justin Dervaes and he gave the following feedback. The trellis can be whatever fits in your particular space. There is no set size. The squash were trained to grow on trellises that were already in place in the Urban Homestead garden. They can be stored for about 6 months in a cool, dry place. And, no, the squash vine borer has not been a problem–yet.

  3. Nebraska Dave says:

    Treechild, it’s very interesting that you would decide in the middle of life to return to the simple life. My return came a little later in life after retirement.

    I’ve seen other pictures of the Tromboncino squash from the Dervaes’s Website They are always fascinating The dangling squash must require a strong structure as they look like they would be heavy. Do they grow that big if just left to grow on the ground? One squash would be enough to last me the whole year. :0) I’ll have to look on the Dervaes’s Website and see if they sell seeds for this squash and give it a try next year.

    Do you live close to the Dervaes’s house? Have a great Californian day in the garden.

    • Treechild says:

      Thanks for commenting, Nebraska Dave! Yes, the property is in the same neighborhood.

      Again, Justin Dervaes gave the following information: By trellising the squash, gravity helps them grow straight. The average length is about 3 feet, but, as the pictures show, sometimes gravity is extremely helpful and they exceed the average length–by far! On the ground, they usually curl up into a rounder shape.

  4. Lisa Baker says:

    Can you tell us how to tell when to pick them for winter squash and how to store them? I grew a bunch this year, and didn’t really like them as summer squash. So I let the rest grow on the vine. They are now huge, but still green.

    • Treechild says:

      We appreciate your feedback about your experience with Tromboncino squash. The Dervaeses pick the squash for winter storage when the color starts to turn tan. Once you pick them, store them in a cool, dry place.

  5. Michelle Steen says:

    Would you be willing to tell us the recipe for the 6 day soup? I’m always interested in healthy recipes for my family.

    • Treechild says:

      The Dervaeses have received many requests for their recipes and have hopes and plans to publish them at some point! Thanks for asking.

  6. Susan@learningandyearning says:

    Grew this for the first time this year – saw it on your site last year. It has caused a stir in the neighborhood!

    • Treechild says:

      Yes, they are difficult not to remark upon! It was interesting to see the picture you posted of your crop. Thanks!

  7. Nan says:

    I’ve grown Tromboncino for 3 years now in the Rockies and love them. They just climb my 6 foot wooden fence, escape over to the neighbors and even climb into nearby trees. Very easy care and prolific. School kids think they’re awesome. I actually prefer them green. Firmer than zucchini and almost nutty tasting. I let some turn to winter squash but I find the flavor rather bland. I like Butternut much better. Maybe I just need some good recipes. I’ve made ginger pickles from green tromboncini that were delicious. I really love those squash!

    • Treechild says:

      Great word picture–I can just see the squash “escaping” over the fence and into the trees! Anais and Jordanne make really delicious squash pickles. A local chef at the exclusive Caltech Athenaeum club also used the squash for pickles.

    • Eloise Martindale says:

      I grew Tromboncino over an arch of twigs that was about 10 ft tall last year. It was the show-stopper in my garden. I think as winter squash it is bland compared to Butternut, but with some fresh eggs from our chickens and some spices, it can be made to taste like pumpkin pie! Yum! Never lasts long at our house.

      • Treechild says:


    • annrichardsondavis says:

      Oh, I would love to have your recipe for the ginger tromboncino pickles! Would you email it or share it somehow with me?

  8. Veronica v. says:

    Squash ravioli, oven roasted squash, squash fries, squash home fries, pie, and the ubiquitous soup. I’ve grown this squash before and it was really delish. They only grow that big in really good soil though, mine only got about 22″.

    • Treechild says:

      Yum…now I’m really hungry after reading your list!

    • Ruth Raubertas says:

      Greetings from West Virginia! …here’s an easy recipe using tromboncino: cut squash in half lengthwise, lay cut side down in casserole/s (cut big ones of course), add an inch of water and bake at 375 for 40 minutes or so til tender. Mix together raisins, chopped nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds), chopped dried apples that have been plumped up in a little hot water, figs (I use fresh ones cut in half), melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, maybe a little lemon juice or the juice the apples were soaked in. Remove cooked squash from oven, turn oven temp. to 425. Drain water, turn squash cut side up in baking dish/es. Fill with stuffing mix and bake for another 30 minutes or so til browned. Makes a lovely vegetarian main dish.

      • Treechild says:

        That stuffing mixture sounds scrumptious! Thank you for posting your recipe here.

  9. Connie J says:

    I grew them one year. They are very good eaten small as summer squash.

    • Treechild says:

      Thanks for your feedback–I understand that getting the squash young enough is the secret to good-tasting Tromboncino summer squash.

  10. Lynda says:

    This looks like one to definately try, the trellis seems like it would need to be quite sturdy given the size of these. Where do you have these placed in terms of amounts of sun. We’re also in So Cal and have a lot of intense heat, especially this past summer. Do they need a more protected part of the yard or can they take the direct sun?

    • Treechild says:

      Per Justin Dervaes: they grow them in different parts of the property. Ideally, it would be on the south side of the house so that the trellised vines could provide shade/cooling to the house.

  11. Chris says:

    Request … Can you give your best tips for growing this squash for us newbies with brown thumbs trying them out? Direct sow? Sunlight? Trellis? Fertilizing?
    Thanks a bunch!

    • Treechild says:

      Maybe I can get Justin Dervaes to write a how-to post on growing the squash (in time for next year’s sowing)–in answer to your questions and incorporating the replies to other comments here. Thanks!

  12. Marlene says:

    Wow, so glad to see these squash on this website !!! I am a Californian, but also a new citizen of Italy, because grandpa was from Palermo, I got to become a citizen of the old country. Every time I go there I love to walk thru the Mercato, look in awe and also buy some veduri. Well this is the neatest thing I see there, these molto lungo squash !! I will order some seeds and try to grow these bella verdura !!

    ciao, ciao, Marlene

  13. Liz says:

    Rice, chilli beef, tromboncino pieces, green beans.
    Delicious, surprisingly good for a simple, homecooked meal.
    I grow tromboncino for this dish alone, other dishes are a bonus.
    Tromboncino pieces can be frozen raw or cooked.

  14. mediterranean says:

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  15. Stu Boyer says:

    The seeds are very small. How do you gather and prepare them before planting? Thx

  16. Karen H. says:

    Re: Tromboncino squash

    When I click on the link to purchase the seeds for Tromboncino squash, it displays a webpage that is for sale “PeddlersWagon”. There are a lot of vendors for other items listed.

    Please give the URL address for where these seeds can be purchased. Thank you.

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