Growing winter squash is pretty easy, but it’s crucial to get the bit right between picking and eating them to get the best possible flavour.
The easiest ones to grow are Uchiki kuri because they put up with cooler, wetter summers better than other types of squash. Let me first remind you why winter squash are such great vegetables.
Reasons to grow winter squash:
they taste wonderful
they look great
they’re easy to grow from seed
they don’t take up much space if you grow them up through a cane wig-wam.
By the way, they’re called winter squash because they’re eaten then, rather than grown over winter.
The real flavour develops over the few weeks before they’re eaten
- Remove leaves so that the sun can reach them while they’re still on the plant.
- Pick them at them at the end of September, or later if it’s still sunny, when the stalk attached to the fruit is turning brown and woody, leave 3-4 in of stalk on the squash.
- Sit them somewhere warm and sunny, a greenhouse is ideal.
- Store them upside down so the depression around the stalk doesn’t collect moisture, somewhere cool and dry, either on a wooden slatted shelf or in an onion/string bag.
- Keep them for at least four weeks before they’re eaten.
Here they are earlier in the summer:
They’ll last for two – three months, giving you delicious roasted vegetables and soup over that winter period when you might be getting a bit fed-up with green vegetables.
One of the reasons I love growing them is because they look good at the allotment with their big, lush leaves, and I do like my allotment to look good as well as being functional.
Next year they’ll have bigger, stouter wig-wams to grow up, this years were a bit small and feeble, and these are big plants.
If you haven’t grown them this year, I hope you’ll have a go next year.
Find out here how to grow them.
all images: Jill Anderson