Squash Tatume Zucchini
Cucurbirta pepo ‘Tatume’
- Type: Annual Vine
- Zone: 3 – 9
- Spacing: Plant 2 Feet Apart with 3 Foot Row Spacing
- Days to Maturity: 55
- Sun: Full Sun
- Water: Medium
- Flower: Yellow & Showy
- Tolerates: Heat
- Suggested Use: Summer or Winter Squash
Tatume Zucchini Squash is a hardy, open pollinated native of Mexico that grows well in our hot East Texas climate and it produces pound after pound of flavorful firm fleshed squash. The long vines are prolific bloomers and they produce a large amount of flowers that are beautiful to look at and almost as good to eat as the squash itself. The fruits of the ‘Tatume’ zucchini squash are round or oblate in shape. Their skins is striped green and they resemble a small watermelon or pumpkin in their immature form. It is best to harvest ‘Tatume’ when it is about the size of baseball. If left to mature, the skin will become a mottled, deep green and they can grow to almost the size of a soccer ball.
Tatume Zucchini squash prefers fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6-7.0. Plastic mulch and fabric row covers (AG-19 grade) can aide plant establishment and exclude insect pests during the seedling stage.
When planted, squash grow well in mounds, so hill up some soil and plant three to five seeds per mound. Plant seeds 1 inch deep in mounds set 4 feet apart after all danger of frost has passed. Squash can be started indoors three to four weeks before the last frost date. Squash also grows well in pots or buckets, 5 to 10 gallons is large enough. Row covers should be removed when plants begin to flower. Water at least 1 inch a week. Mulching can also help retain moisture.
Harvest regularly, 2-3 times a week, once plants begin to produce. Tatume zucchini squash will have a healthy sheen to its green skin. Winter squash like acorn, delicata or butternut squashes are ready to harvest when their outer rind resists puncture by a fingernail. Cut or gently twist off fruits when they have reached the desired size. For summer squash, 4-6″. Keep fruit at 40-50°F with 95% relative humidity.
TAMU has found only two drawbacks to this amazing squash – finding it and containing it. Since ‘Tatume’ is an heirloom, or open pollinated variety, it is not carried by all of the major seed companies. It also appears to be the squash of many names. Many seed catalogs list it as ‘Tatume’or ‘Tatuma’ but I have also seen it listed as round zucchini and Mexican zucchini. In the markets of Mexico, it is most often called calabacita (little pumpkin, or calabash). Whatever you call it, it is a very versatile and flavorful squash. ‘Tatume’ does have an aggressive vining habit. It is not uncommon for this squash to send out vines 10′ to 12′ in length. Each node on a vine can root and send out other vines. So, if you are going to plant it make sure you have plenty of room to let it run.
In America, squash is generally divided into two categories based on when they are harvested. Summer squashes such as yellow crookneck, zucchini, and pattypan are harvested in their immature state. Immature squash have a soft skin, flesh and seeds. Winter squash like butternut, spaghetti, and acorn are simply squash that are allowed to ripen on the vine before they are harvested. Winter squash have a thick hard skin and their flesh is generally firmer and sweeter than summer squash. ‘Tatume’ is one the rare varieties of squash that can be harvested as either a summer or winter type.
No pests or diseases noted. Has an aggressive vining habit.
‘Tatume’ is a staple in Mexican cooking. It can be used it in lieu of yellow squash in any squash recipe; or try it fried, baked, boiled with onions and use itin a a casserole. However, a favorite thing about ‘Tatume’ is the way that it cooks on the grill. ‘Tatume’ is more flavorful than yellow squash and its flesh is much firmer. Its round shape and firm texture allows it to be cut into thick round patties that are perfect for the grill. A little EVOO, garlic salt, seasoned salt and fresh ground black pepper make for a simple but delicious summer side dish. Squash blossoms are also edible. Pick the first blooms that appear, as those are the males and if picked, they will not affect plant yields later in the season. Remove the interior of the blossom and add the petals to salads.
Information courtesy of Aggie Horticulture Texas A&M Agrilife Extension