Home brewing antics can now be found at my other blog; http://gettinggrist.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Winter Squash

Just to expand on my previous post, I'm growing two varieties of winter squash this year. I've haven't done either before, so I'll be interested to see how they compare to those I've tried in the past.

For this early sowing I've only sown two seeds of each and will select the strongest plants of the pair, with the intention of having just one early plant of each variety. I'll sow the remainder later this month.

To give them the best possible start, I simply sow the seed in large pots (seeds on their ends, as they can rot on their flat sides before having chance to germinate), then cover the pot with a plastic freezer bag, stretched tightly across, before sitting them on a warm windowsill. The plastic bag acts like a propagator, keeping the temperature and humidity up.

To be honest, I've struggled a little with squash in the past, as I find the fruits set quite late and then struggle to fully ripen in our short summers. I've given up with Butternut varieties completely - the most prolific harvest I've had before came from a 'Hubbard' type - Uchiki Kuri, and I'll probably include that one again next year, depending on how this year's come along.

The one I'm most looking forward to this year is Honey Bear, an 'Acorn' type squash.

They're a relatively small squash, ideal for two, and have won awards in America where they were bred. Of exceptional eating quality (always a bonus) and under ideal growing conditions, sowing to harvest can be as short as 100 days. I guess it will be longer on this side of the pond, but well worth a go.

The second variety I chose simply because they look so damn ugly. 'Marina di Chioggia'. Apparently an Italian heirloom variety, with very sweet flesh and good keeping qualities. I think with squash, when it says 'exceptional keeping', you can read 'exceptionally difficult to get into', but that's half the fun.
If nothing else, this one will make a great Halloween lantern for the kids - a damn sight more ugly than your average orange one, that's for sure.

No comments:

Post a Comment