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How are your squash plants growing? It’s that time of year mid summer when they start to swell and the excitement of an autumn harvest of delicious pumpkins, butternut squash and all other kinds of fascinating shaped squash becomes real.
Mine got off to a slow start. I sowed late, planted late and then had some terrible weather but as soon as the sun worked its magic, the vines began to put on exponential growth and the flowers reached for the sky so pollinators could easily see them. Now, the squash patch is well and truly blooming.
There are so many different varieties available, so you really can make a choice based on colours, shapes, sizes and of course flavours. Generally they will be sown during spring and harvested from the end of July (summer squash) all the way through to November (winter squash). Give them plenty of space to grow and prepare the soil with some well rotted organic mulch as they will need plenty of nutrients to grow. Keep the soil moist and water into the soil rather than over the foliage which will help to avoid mildew and ensure the roots get the water needed. Some of the larger squash, such as pumpkins, can benefit from being lifted off the soil onto a block of wood or even a piece of thick cardboard which helps to ensure they don’t rot as they sit on the soil. As squash plant vines are long and strong, growing them to climb up a strong support is both a great way to save space but also looks incredible! If vines get thick and over crowded, it can be beneficial to snip some away (be careful not to snip off a growing squash) which will improve airflow and sunlight.
Lastly I must not forget the courgette, I mean, how can anyone forget! One plant and you’ll be cooking with them all summer and autumn. If you’ve grown a few plants then you might have yellow, striped, crooked, round or marrow like courgettes growing. I limited myself to three plants this year and even thats too many!
This year I am growing:
- Pumpkin ‘Jarrahdale Blue;
- Pumpkin growing from seeds saved by my Mum!
- Gourd ‘Speckled Swan’ (for decoration only)
- Butternut squash ‘Waltham Butternut’
- Courgette ‘Romanesco’ and ‘Defender’
- Squash ‘Mashed Potato'
If you are limited on space, Squash can also be grown in pots and can look really nice trailing through a flower border too.
If you're keen on growing your own courgettes and squash, check out this blog for an expert beginner's guide from Norfolk School of Gardening.
Author: Ellen Mary
To read more about Ellen Mary, you can find her on social media and on her website - https://www.ellenmarygardening.co.uk/