Wednesday, 20 August 2008
Squashes are some of my favourite vegetables to grow - the squashes and pumpkins - you get so much for your money!! Easy and quick to germinate, they grow away fast, sending out dozens of trailing tendrils, stems as thick as your fingers and, ofcourse, the wonderful dinner plate leaves. All this - and flowers too! First the male ones, usually lots of them, standing on their own slim stalks, well proud of the stems. Next, hopefully, lots of female flowers with tiny swellings behind them, destined to become the gorgeous voluptuous fruits with promise of winter meals of soup and baked deliciousness. Colur as well, in all the hues of autumn; Turk's Turban with its orange and green stripes; Sweet Dumpling in retro green and cream; Hundredweight in bright child's crayon orange; teh smart stripes in sophisticated greens of the slim courgettes; yellows, golds, greens. browns, blues, creams..........Even if they weren't edible, I think I'd still grow them for their colours.
The squashes in the picture were planted on the edge of the potato bed this year, in almost pure goat manure. Rampant doesn't even begin to describe them......... :0) The yellow one is very visible, having hooked itself over the lower bar of the fence and growing away nicely, like a beautiful lantern, a rich shade of custardy yellow. I caught sight of the green striped one lurking beneath the leaves, unknown and secret until now, but there it was, almost the size of a football already! Freshly green with subtle striping around its plumpness. I have no idea of variety - they came out of a packet of mixed winter squash from Real Seeds (http://www.realseeds.co.uk/), just labelled Mixed Winter Squash. I have some more young plants to set out int eh greenhouse ;quite late, but I found a few odd seeds, and might get a small crop of fruits under glass before winter. Some I let trail over the compost heaps - an easy way to grow them as the compost and manure is already in place, teh leaf cover helps with weeds, and there is plenty of warmth generated by the heaps. My top two heaps are a bit awash with nettles at the moment, but I know there are squashes in there somewhere, so it will be a joy to uncover them when we cut down the nettles to dry for the goats. I think I have Turks Turban and Sweet Dumpling up there, but another trait of the squash family is its promiscuity - such a scarlet woman of a crosser that you can never be quite sure what will eventually turn up!
Posted by MrsL at 07:31