Tag Archives: squash

Sowing and planting this week

I have been a bit lazy in updating the blog with the latest sowing and planting. Over the last few weeks, sowing has been a bit neglected too, but there has been a lot to plant out. We did manage to sow another three lengths of gutter with peas, the reliable Hurst Greenshaft and the magnificent mangetout Carouby de Maussane, and more pots of broad bean Masterpiece Green Longpod. These are ready to plant out now, so will be one of the first tasks to attend to at the weekend. Continue reading

Sowing this week

With April just around the corner, it was time to sow some of the tender crops, to be planted outdoors in early to mid May or in the polytunnel or glasshouses as soon as large enough. First were the French beans, Meraviglia di Venezia, a yellow climbing bean, and Beurre de Rocquencourt, also yellow, but a dwarf sort. It is a little early to sow beans for outdoors, but these are destined for the polytunnel, where they should be fine planted out in a few weeks’ time. The dwarf beans should crop first, with the climbing beans to follow. Continue reading

Roundup of the winter squash

In late autumn, we harvested our winter squash. It was a good year, and most of the squash had the opportunity to ripen fully, even the large Musquee de Provence, which are often still rather green by the time the first frosts arrive, had turned their slightly sickly looking dull pinkish orange colour. Our stocks are running low, now, so I thought I would review my list of favoured varieties. Continue reading

Sowing this week

This was yet another week with no sowing but a bit of planting out. This week’s task was to plant up the winter squash bed. Some weeks ago I potted on the young squash plants, moving them from the small pots they were sown in into various larger pots of around one litre or so. I used a rich mixture of homemade compost and manure. They have been quite happy to remain in those pots and were not yet pot bound. This is important so as not to check their growth and ensure that they transplant well. Continue reading

Sowing this week

This week was more about planting out than sowing. Here in a sheltered spot in the south, with the help of some warm walls, frosts in May are unusual, and rarely harsh. I am not ready, quite, to risk planting out the winter squash as they are a precious crop, not to mention that the bed is not ready for them yet, but the summer squash – courgettes, conventional and round, and patty pan – were planted out this week. Hopefully there will not be a late frost, but they can be resown if needed. Continue reading

Sowing this week

Regular sowing is necessary for regular cropping without gluts. We try to sow a few things every week or two throughout the growing season. This week we started with the cucurbits: summer and winter squash, melons, and cucumbers. I used a mixture of a free draining soil based seed compost with some organic peat free multipurpose, relieved of any large bits of woody material. Cucurbits are rather sensitive to excess moisture; the seeds will readily decay and the young plants collapse under damp conditions, which encourage rots and fungal problems. Whilst some moisture is obviously needed, the compost must be free draining and the pots should not sit in water. The seeds of squash, melons, and cucumbers, are somewhat flattened, and it is common practice to sow the seeds on their edge, supposedly so that moisture sheds from the seed more readily. Whether this really makes much difference or not I have not bothered to find out, but one might as well continue the tradition. The larger seeded squash are planted a good ¾” deep and the melons and cucumbers perhaps ½”. Continue reading

Pumpkin crème brûlée

After being on a diet for some weeks I was getting desperate to make something a little bit naughty. Some months ago I tried, for the first time, a slice of pumpkin pie. I suspected at the time that the recipe was far from a traditional pumpkin pie, but it was delicious, something like a crème brûlée, but with a rich flavour and texture from the pumpkin. I decided to try and create something along those lines, but without the pastry base. We have friends coming for dinner next weekend and I thought it would fit well with our menu, and it was a good excuse to practise the recipe in case adjustments were needed. The result, though, was every bit as delicious as I imagined, and quite straightforward. It will certainly be making further appearances. Continue reading

Seed list 2014 – part 5 – cucurbits

The fifth article in the series looking at our sowing plans for the coming season covers the cucurbits – cucumbers, melons, summer and winter squash. Whilst melons are a somewhat marginal proposition, we have a great harvest of cucumbers and summer squash, both of which are prolific. We also reserve one of our large borders for winter squash, which, if they store well, can provide many winter meals. Continue reading

Seeds at Amsterdam’s Bloemenmarkt

The floating stalls of Amsterdam’s flower market

Among the many sights of Amsterdam, there is the floating flower market, although one is not really aware that the row of large stalls is floating alongside one of the many canals, being so securely fixed in place. Its claim to be the world’s only floating flower market is, then, not nearly as impressive as it might at first appear. January is not the ideal time to visit such an attraction. The great many bulbs and some early flowers were equally matched with tourist tat, but I was pleased to find a wide range of fruit and vegetable seeds for sale and whiled away an hour or so looking for those varieties that are on my ‘list’ as well as one or two new varieties to try. Continue reading

Problems with the stored winter squash

We have never had much trouble with storing winter squash before, except when some left in an unheated garage froze during a particularly harsh spell, which ruined them rather quickly. This year, though, we have found the stems afflicted with grey mould. When harvesting the squash, it is critical to leave a certain amount of stem intact, as this area is most susceptible to rots. The appearance of grey mould on the stems is, therefore, rather worrying. It appears that many recommend the use of a dilute solution of bleach to wipe over the squash before storing, but I have never fancied the idea, nor previously found it necessary.

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