Go Organic: Spoilt for choice with squashesBy James Ashford
May 04, 2012
Squashes are one of the real stars of the organic vegetable garden.
As well as being wonderfully productive they also have a beauty of their own.
Organic growers have always valued them and as a result we are spoilt for choice in the range of varieties available.
When I was a nipper it was marrows. And that was about it.
Pumpkins came into vogue a little later on, but more as a Hallowe’en novelty than as a food crop.
Courgettes started to become mainstream at the end of the 1990s and now even the supermarkets stock butternut squash.
You can grow all sorts of weird and wonderful squashes in your own garden and not only will they brighten up your plot but they will also brighten up your dinner table.
For purely practical purposes they divide into two groups.
Some, like courgettes, are grown to be eaten straight away and others, like butternut squash, are grown to be stored.
And some of them will store for months on end if they are kept cool and dry.
I start my squash off in pots on a windowsill and a little heat helps them germinate.
As they get bigger I pot them on before finally planting them out once the soil has warmed up.
All squashes need a good rich soil to thrive so dig in plenty of garden compost or well-rotted manure before you plant.
They also need plenty of space so don’t be tempted to cram too many plants into your plot.
Slugs and snails can be a problem when the plants are still small, but once they get going not much troubles them.
In fact the biggest problem is often finding ways of using up all the produce.
I tend to pick my courgettes when they are quite small – partly because they taste better and partly so the Go Organic kitchen doesn’t get overwhelmed.
The Organic Gardening catalogue has an excellent range of squashes to try growing.
In fact if you include courgettes, pumpkins and squashes there are over 50 varieties to choose from.
Visit www.organiccatalogue.com or call 01932 253666.