PUMP UP THE VOLUME
Kitchen Garden|June 2021
Winter squashes are lovely to grow, adding colour to the plot in summer and filling the store cupboard in winter. KG editor Steve Ott offers some top tips for getting the most from these delicious veggies
Steve Ott
Pumpkins and squashes never fail to impress with their colourful fruit in all shapes and sizes and in an array of colours. Say the word ‘pumpkin’ and you’ll probably picture the orange globes sold in the supermarkets for Halloween carving – yet winter squashes, of which the pumpkins are just one, are so much more than that. What they all have in common is their ability to store for many months through the winter and few veggies are more versatile in the kitchen for everything from hearty winter stews and soups to curries and even delicious sweet dishes.

They are a tender crop long popular in warmer climes such as the Med where over the centuries many regions have bred their own distinctive varieties. As a result there are hundreds available, many very old with great names such as ‘Uchiki Kuri’, ‘Crown Prince’, ‘Turk’s Turban’ and ‘Hungarian Blue’.

Although some varieties produce enormous fruit with plants to match, others are more refined with finer growth and smaller fruit that lend themselves to growing up an arbour, pergola or arch.

Thankfully they all need similar conditions and care and couldn’t be easier to grow.

SITE AND SOIL

These are fast-growing, hungry plants that need lots of water and food to help develop and pump up those heavy, meaty fruit. So choose your sunniest spot, preferably with some shelter from strong winds, and prepare the soil by adding as much well-rotted manure or garden compost as you can. If you don’t have much available, then concentrate instead on digging it into the planting holes rather than the whole plot.

SOWING

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