Tag Archives: Summer Squash

Snow Dust & Slow Times

I expect it’s a sign of things to come that we woke up to a good dusting of snow down here in South Wiltshire. I’ve lived here for 24 years now and only remember about 5 winters were we’ve had good snowfalls. Just south of the Plain means the lower ground and slightly warmer temperatures protect us to a certain degree. Last winter was probably the worst I’ve seen here and the recent cold temperatures don’t bode well for the months to come.

Most things in the garden have slowed down to a stop. Only the birds are busy making the most of the replenished feeders. Just Blue and Great Tits this morning plus the ever present Robin; he loves the fat-filled half coconut on the bird table. There’s always some clearing or tidying to do but today is not one of those days, it’s a day to be inside and get one or two important jobs done, the main one being to re-commission the woodburner for another winter’s use. On a cold winter’s night there’s nothing better than a roaring log fire, maybe a glass of sloe gin and a good book or film.

A few Brussel Sprouts and Parsnips to gather for dinner and one of the Summer Squash will come out of store for roasting. Rach has made bread again which will go nicely with the courgette soup thawing out for a reminder of summer.

Here’s a few photos of the garden this morning. Things are looking a bit forlorn now and there’s not much colour around.

And I’d like to leave you with a few well written words over at one of my favourite websites, this is beautiful writing which sums up my mood at this time of year very nicely.

Have a great weekend!

Aerial View

We’re having some work done at the side of the house and the scaffolding afforded me the opportunity to get a different perspective on the garden from just above the roofline.

There are a couple of veg beds in the front garden. The one by the front door you can’t see in this picture and it’s where the courgettes, squash, strawberries and raspberries live. At the far end by the road you can just see the newest bed behind the trees. In there are beetroot, brussels, sweetcorn, squash, pumpkins, celery, sprouting brocolli and cabbage. By the drive is the main flower bed and the rest is the girls domain with toys everywhere!

Most of the veg growing is in the smaller back garden where I have 3 beds and a greenhouse. Having just dug the onions and potatoes there’s quite a bit of space now, a month ago it was packed solid.

The aubergines are going mad in the greenhouse. I bought these two as tiny plants at our spring show so have no idea what the varieties are. One is producing a few standard looking egg-shaped fruits and the other is throwing out loads of long thin paler ones. Any ideas?

And so are the cucumbers, now we have more than we know what to do with.

I’m really pleased with the progress on the pumpkin front. These are Rouge Vif d’Etamps from seed Maureen kindly sent to me.

And the squash have been great this year.

There’s also plenty of colour in the garden, these are Asters, Appleblossom.

And the glads and the sweet peas are still going strong.

Lastly I’m really pleased with my first attempt at Dahlias, definitely going to grow more next year, I don’t think you can beat them for colour.

Pre-Show Checks

Well the countdown to the village show run by my local Horticultural Society has well and truly begun. It’s 6 days away so I’m going around the garden checking on progress and seeing what I think will be ready for the big day. For last years write-up click here.

The main classes are Master Gardener and Society Top Tray.

Master Gardener (display space 24″ x 24″) – One vase of flowers and 3 vegetables from the list. One from Sweet Peas – 9 of any variety, Gladioli – 2 of any variety, Dahlias – 3 of any variety, or Perrenials – 9 of any variety. And 3 from Runner Beans – 6, Cabbages – 2, Cauliflower – 1, Carrots – 3, Onions – 3, Peas – 6 (pods), Potatoes – 6 (one variety), Tomatoes – 6.

I didn’t enter this class last year as I wasn’t growing any flowers, it’s most likely going to be glads or dahlias with runners, carrots and potatoes I think. Or I don’t enter again this year and pool my best veg in the other classes. Decisions, decisions…..

Society Top Tray (display space 18″ x 24″) – 3 vegetables from the list:- Carrots – 3, Onions – 3, Parnsips – 3, Peas – 6 pods, Potatoes – 3 one variety, Runner Beans – 6, Tomatoes – 6. I’ll probably be relying on parsnips, runners and spuds for this one, possibly carrots if I have enough decent ones.

The Dahlia bed is looking good. I should be able to enter some of these into the show. The varieties I’m growing are Shooting Star, My Love, Firebird, Hayley Jane, Kennermaland, Vancouver, Black Cat, Le Baron and Pompon Flow Mix (various small ball types). In containers I have Bristol Stripe, Babylon Bronze, Atika, Kenora, Purple Gem and Kelvin Floodlight. For more Dahlia posts click here, here and here.

This is Shooting Star.

Hayley Jane.

Le Baron.

Black Cat.

The Gladioli are looking good, should have some ready at the right time.

Courgettes are a tricky class as I need three around 6″ long with flowers.

I need two cucumbers, they have their own class and can go into the salad veg selection.

The squash will go into the any other veg and selection of veg from my garden categories.

Peppers will go into the selection of veg category. Possibly some of the aubergines and chillies too.

The pumpkins are doing well. I’ve grown a couple of plants from the seeds Maureen sent me, the variety is Rouge Vif d’etamps.

And Chloe and I were in the garden harvesting the plum tree which produces hundreds of these tiny plums. Chloe loves them!

Don’t forget my free Land’s End Gift Voucher and Seed giveaway that I launched earlier this month. All you have to do is leave a comment on the post, just click here. I’ll be drawing the gift voucher winners and despatching the seeds towards the end of the month.

Lovin’ the Veg!

I’m lovin’ the veg at the moment! This is what I’ve just picked for the next day or two. Cucumber, runner, french and broad beans, squash, potatoes (Charlotte & Anya), courgettes and the first red chilli of the season. Should keep us going for a while!

Cucurbits update

At this time of year there is one family of plants that starts producing serious amounts of veg on the plot. Cucurbits include cucumbers, squash and courgette which are all in full production now.

I finally cut my first cucumber of the season today. It’s been a bit of a disaster after the first plants (Carmen) sucumbed to a greenhouse move when it was still too cold, if I’d have waited another week or two we would have been picking them a good 6 weeks ago. Last year two plants produced over 40 cucumbers from the end of May to the end of October, Carmen is a great all female flower variety that I will definitely grow again. But it wasn’t to be and my back up is not all-female, I think it’s called burpless tasty green or something like that but it’s nowhere near as productive. Still there’s one in the fridge now so can’t complain.

I’m leaving this squash to grow on but cut the rest when they are fairly small. One or two rot off but most make it to the oven.

The variety is Mixed Scallop, a packet of seed I’ve had for three years now, some plants produce yellow fruits and others are a light green colour.

The courgettes are flying along, this one is Black Beauty.

And this one is F1 Orelia.

The girls love picking courgettes!

The Sweet Peas, Cornflowers & Red Orach are still going strong.

Whilst I’ve been trying to grow more exotic flowers this year the old stalwart the pot marigold is still one of my favourites. These two pictures do it some justice, great colour.

Off to the village music festival tomorrow, fingers crossed that the weather will hold out. Hope you are having a great weekend!

Did you miss me?

Naively I thought the garden would really struggle without my expert attention whilst we were on holiday for the last two weeks. How wrong I was, it quite happily looked after itself, everything has come on in leaps and bounds, basically a big two fingers up to the landlord – sod off we don’t need you!

Apart from friends watering and taking whatever fruit and veg was available nothing was done. But other than harvesting the last of the caulies and spring cabbage when we got back there wasn’t much to do. So here’s a quick catch up on progress so far.

The runners have come on well, at the top of their canes now.

The courgettes are well away, a bit of blackfly but nothing to worry about. This is F1 Orelia and the Black Beauty plants are also fruiting nicely.

The greenhouse is full. There’s a couple of cucumbers at the end, tomatoes down the side edged with salad bowl and french marigolds. On the staging are chillies, peppers and aubergines.

Harvested a few courgettes, broad beans and squash.

And the first tomatoes, these are Brasero.

The first raspberries were ready as well which were fantastic. The strawberries keep coming to, we only have a dozen plants and are into our fifth week of picking now, they have gone mad this year.

And the chillies are getting big. This one is Fresno Supreme, I also have Cayenne, Jalapeno, Californian Wonder and Scotch Bonnet growing.

The front garden flower bed is in full bloom. The Red Orach that I grew from the seeds Maureen sent me are now 7 feet tall, I love the coulour which is a great backdrop for the sweet peas.

I grew the carnations from seed last year from a Woolies flower selection pack that work colleagues gave me for my birthday. They didn’t do anything in their first year but are now making up for it. The Sweet Peas are over 4 feet high on the wigwams. Just after taking this photo I cut most of them to encourage more flowers.

Finally the Dahlias have started flowering. This one is my favourite so far, Atika. More on the Dahlia progress next time.

So everything has pretty much run to plan, I should go away more often!

Harvesting: Spring cabbage, Cauliflower, Calabrese, Lettuce, Rocket, Radish, Tomatoes, Courgette, Broad Beans, Squash, Strawberries, Raspberries.

First Cauliflower and Broccoli

We’re off to France very soon and are taking as much veg as possible with us in the cool box. I’ve cut the first cauliflower and broccoli today which I am really pleased with. Pretty much the same size as the supermarket but I bet they taste better!

There’s loads to follow so I’m hoping the rest will develop over the next two weeks and I’ve told our friends who are looking after the garden to take what is ready. There’s never a good time to go on holiday when you have a garden (although I say anytime is a good time for a holiday!). I’m sure there will be loads of veg coming to harvest just when we are away but it means I’ll be back to man the defenses against the cabbage white invasion later in the season. I’ve just cut the main head off the first broccoli so it should now sprout more heads to follow on. It’s the first time I’ve grown them so it’s all new but I am very happy with the results so far!

Elsewhere in the garden the rambling rose is in flower.

And the first cornflower.

The Red Orach are between 4-5 foot tall now but the Sweet Peas are catching up fast.

And the Dianthus dotted around the flower bed are in full bloom.

One thing I think I’ll miss in the next 2 weeks is my first Dahlia flower as there are quite a few buds on the ones I started in containers in the greenhouse back in March.

Fingers crossed we’ll all see some good weather over the next two weeks, it’ll be “cracking the flags” as I would say.

I’m also starting a footnote on posts to keep a record of what I’m harvesting.

Harvesting: Spring Cabbage, Lettuce, Rocket, Radish, Courgette, Squash, Calabrese, Cauliflower, Strawberries.