Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Home Again & The Difference Between Summer & Winter Squash

I'm knackered.  I've worked like a slave this spring mostly ego-stroking and hand-holding (things I find terrifically difficult), and shuttling back and forth between airports (which I love).  Last night I threw my laundry on to wash, opened a bottle of Gavi and sat out in my garden and just looked at the greenery.  I further stoked my sense of well being by taking something out of the freezer and by the time it pinged I knew I'd be fine

My garden has survived its sporadic attention / neglect quite well.  The carrot seedlings are all through, the radishes too.  All my delishy climbing beans and French beans are all through and looking very lush and eager to climb.  The tomatoes are small and look a little on the "struggling" side, but we're still in May so there's time enough for a growth spurt.  All the apple, pear and plum blossoms have developed into lovely little fruitlets.  The Merlot vine has gone bananas after its prolonged freezing under the winter snows, and my lovely tayberry and blackberry canes are rampaging over their wires and up into the hedges and trees.

The pumpkins and squashes are a bit hit and miss, probably due to the less than ideal, erratic attention I've given them since early May, and the age of some of the seeds.  Never mind; over 48 Butternuts have germinated, and at least 7 Turk's Turbans are already stretching upwards.  I've even managed to grow three Harlequin seedlings from seeds I scraped out and saved from the parent squash I bought in April 2006 at Sainsburys.  All it took to break a 5-year dormancy was a good soaking after planting and then a fortnight's neglect in the heated glasshouse.  I've had similar success with my summer squash and courgettes.  Here's the laundry list;
Black Beauty
Grisette de Provence
Patty Pan
Yellow Scallop
Golden Zucchini
Di Nozzi

What's the difference between a summer and a winter squash? It pretty much boils down to keeping qualities.  Summer squashes have generally thin, edible skins and soft flesh and seeds (think of all those watery courgettes); winter squash have generally harder skins, firm flesh and hard seeds (think of the real threat of amputation each time you attempt to halve a butternut.)

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