Squashes galore

The dry weather and sunshine has produced a ripe crop of squash rather early this year. The orange, yellow green and blue globes were not ready to harvest until October last year but already the plants are dying back, revealing the ripe fruits that will keep us going in pumpkin soup all winter!

It is important to let winter squash fully ripen before harvesting and storing so that they develop a tough outer skin that will protect them from drying out as well as diseases. Once properly ripe they can be stored in a cool, dry, frost free place and they should last through until spring.

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These Crook Neck squash are destined to be ducks!

We have grown some decorative varieties this year like the tiny ‘Munchkin’, the aptly named ‘crook Neck’ and a variety of ornamental gourds for our autumn and winter crafts as well as some tasty varieties such as the blue-skinned ‘Crown Prince’ (the best flavour of all in my opinion) and the surprising ‘Tromboncino’ – this one is a ‘vining’ or trailing squash that produces long curled summer squash that ripen to a pale orangey pink rather like a long bent butternut. This year we also tried climbing them up an archway and they have produced magnificent long, straight fruits, the benefit of these is that the bulbous end

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Tromboncino squash ripening on the ‘vine’

that contains the seeds is small compared to the main part of the fruit which is easy to peel and can be used like a courgette when young and like a butternut squash when ripened. They keep fairly well too. Why not try something different next year!

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