Sunday, September 30, 2012

Winter Squash

~ Kabocha Buttercup Squash ~
My winter squash is holding up very well considering how late it is in the year, unless this is what squash do. I've not grown winter squash before, so am really just winging it.

This variety is a Japanese pumpkin: Kabocha Buttercup. The package says it has a sweet, yellow flesh - ideal for pies & tempura. I should expect fruit in the 1 kg size.

Yesterday I took a good hard look at the patch - it's gone a bit wild, exploding through the deer netting & spreading down & around the yard. There are twining tendrils that help the plant grow up & secure itself to any surface.

~ Kabocha Buttercup ~
 I would like to see the fruit get a little bit larger than this, so I decided to prune & trim back the vines a little. This is such a tough thing to do!! There are still flowers opening & dozens of little squash that really won't grow very big - plus with so much of the fruiting vine lying in the lawn, they are being eaten by slugs & bugs.

So I very carefully cut back the vines - removed any flowers & gently lifted the vines with the fruit up to hang over the net & not be sitting on the lawn.
~ Kabocha Buttercup ~
 I didn't throw out all those lovely little baby squash - I steamed some up for dinner & just ate them whole! They were very tasty & delicate in flavour & when you do this with the small ones, you don't have to worry about the skin nor the seeds.

This is sort of a cheat - I tried growing summer squash but that particular veggie bed was very unproductive, so they didn't amount to anything. I think I'll skip the summer squash (we don't generally have long enough summers for them to be productive - believe it or not we have super-long springs & super-long autumns!) so if I grow winter squash & just harvest them while they are small, I'll be able to enjoy them both ways!

Now that the stellar jays are back in town, I hope they stay away from the larger squash - they like to peck at anything in the gardens to see if it is edible...

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