Friday, 19 April 2013


Spring has well and truly sprung today. This should have happened sometime in early February, but we have shared the crazy mad weather that the rest of the country has put up with this year. But today, finally - today was a fine day to spend an afternoon on the allotment. In flip flops. The highlight of my week? The moment this morning that I realised that (six weeks late) flip flop season was upon us. 

High on sunshine, we have been so bold as to plant out our squash plants. This is winter squash 'Jaspee de Vendee' from Chase Garden Organic Vegetable Seeds, started off indoors in newspaper pots as Cucurbits don't generally appreciate having their roots disturbed. If a heavy frost should kill them all in the next week, we still have time to get some more going through early May. According to the many enticing stories about this squash I have gathered on the Web, I am to expect a bumper crop of sizable, super sweet and tender squashes that are ideal for desserts. The worst that anyone has said of them so far is that they are a little ugly for a squash - probably not one for glorious autumnal photo montages then.

We didn't bring anything to mark their position and so instead utilised our plot's most abundant resource - stones. Each plant sits in a foot-wide circle(ish) of stones making them noticeable enough that we won't tread on them. This had the pleasing side effect of allowing the watering we gave them to stay put and seep into the soil around them instead of running off in all directions; and it also gives us a nice target area to heap on the compost over the season.

I love squashes and pumpkin. I think it has as much to do with my love of autumn as for their delicious creamy sweet flavour. I love the fact that you can use every part of them from the skin to the seeds. I love the fact that you can put them on a cool shelf and they will carry you through to February. Protection and watering concerns aside, building little stone monuments to honour them seems a perfectly productive use of my time (you know, just in case I am wrong and that there are in fact supernatural pumpkin spirits to placate). These plants will be mollycoddled like no other.

And,  once again - it is flip flop weather, finally. Which means summer is only a month or so away. And then, it will be autumn! Plenty of good things to do and see and eat between now and then, followed hopefully by lots of squash filled baked goods.

What is going on in your garden?

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