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Monday, 24 September 2012


It's been difficult to evaluate any new varieties sown this season with any degree of confidence, as the weather has made this a fiendishly difficult growing year.

One bed I was really looking forward to was the the winter squash. Although I'm in the south of the country, I still struggle to get squash to set and ripen sufficiently in the relatively short summers we have, so I'm always looking for new varieties to try.

This year I planted three. An acorn squash,'Honey Bear' and two types of Butternut, 'Victory' and 'Barbara'.

So how did they get on? To be honest, none excelled. The best was the Honey Bear - they at least produced fruit which ripened in time.

The downside to these squash is that they are small - each fruit only sufficient for one adult portion and they don't have the sweetness of the butternut varieties. We've grown these before, and while we like them, we were probably more looking forward to seeing how the new butternuts got on.

Sadly, the 'Barbara' failed to produce. Although set back by the enormous slug population this year, the plants lacked the vigour of the 'Victory'. Even allowing for the atrocious growing conditions, I wasn't impressed and it's not one I'll pursue again next year.

Slightly more promising was 'Victory'. The plants at least produced fruit, albeit too late in the season to mature sufficiently. I'm willing to overlook this in view of the difficult year and there was definitely more promise to be had from their general appearance than the other variety, so we'll give them another shot next year in the hope of kinder weather.

So, for our efforts this year we do have squash to eat, plus a degree of promise for the butternuts next year. We've not won the war, but maybe a small victory on which to build. And if anyone has a favourite Butternut variety that does well over here, please let me know as I'll give it a go next year.

Squash - Honey Bear


  1. I've always struggled with Butternut squash even on years where other types are growing well. I did have some success last year with the 'Waltham Butternut' but even then it was nothing compared to the other squash varieties I was growing. This year I've focussed on 'Anna Swartz' instead.

    Both available from http://www.realseeds.co.uk/wintersquash.html

  2. I love growing squash. I moved from south east to the midlands this year so was wondering if that has hindered their growth this year. I still have mine growing in the garden in a pretty sheltered part of the garden but have fleece over them - I will not give up hope until the first frosts!

    You'be actually done better than me- mine have fruited but the shells haven't hardened yet - my fingers and toes are crossed in the hope the fleece does the trick!

    My favourite variety which usually does really well is Zapallito de Toscana which I believe is only available from Garden Organic's Heritage Seed Library. I've heard of it growing outside in Scotland

  3. Thank you both. I'll have a look at those and Amy, I'd definitely be interested to hear what you think of the Anna Swartz when you get around to eating them.