Friday, 7 August 2015

Winter squash update & a trip to St Benet's Abbey

So a while back I mentioned that I was thinking of growing squashes in the garden of a friend's elderly mum. She lives out in the Norfolk Broads and has a really big, lovely garden but the far end isn't really used for much these days as she can't look after it very well. My friend Liz and her fella had sown lawn seed the last couple of years to make it easier to keep tidy, that the neighbour kindly mows.

When I said I was looking for more land to grow food she offered up her mum's bit of garden up the back (very generous!). As it's quite far from here I knew I wouldn't be going over very often, so decided to grow squashes and hoped they would look after themselves.

Here's the strip of garden, which Liz's mum did actually use as a veggie patch in the past

I'd sown loads of squash seeds 'cause I wasn't sure how much space there'd be and managed to fit in 8 (I ended up with some spare squashes that I gave away plus also used as spares on the allotment to replace ones eaten by evil slugs)
To keep things simple and neat I used a spade to make the edge of a circle for each squash then used a fork to remove the turf. There was a lovely big pile of compost up the end of the garden so I forked over the bottom of each hole and then added compost and watered each hole.
Then I replaced the turves back (upside down so the grass would die) and planted in each squash plus some more watering...simples!
I don't have a car but Liz goes out to her mum's regularly so we got a lift out with her at the weekend to see how things were going...
Much better than I expected, especially as they haven't been watered apart from rain! And they all survived (better than mine at the allotment)

These ladies and their siblings live next door and pop into the garden all the time (much to the dismay of Liz's mum who doesn't like them scratching around her flower beds). They're full grown now and I love seeing them run around (sorry Liz's mum!). Also, there has been virtually no damage to my plants and hardly and weeds have grown, so I put that down to the chooks.

The garden is full of wildlife too, including this lovely dragonfly that stayed in one spot in the sun for ages, whilst we sat next to it and enjoyed eating some of the rhubarb &gooseberry flapjack I made (see last post)
And for anyone interested, jan and I also took a walk down to St Benet's Abbey, that neither of us had visited before. Jan's started to feel better now (from her thyroid condition) and managed to walk there and back the whole way, yay.
The walk there included a lovely green lane
This is what the abbey would have looked like, there's not much of it left now
The abbey site
Someone a while back thought they'd build a windmill in the remains of the gatehouse...huh!
Bizarre but cool. And a lady went in to the mill and started singing an aria which sounded beautiful (though at the moment all I can think of is the mysterious cities of gold theme tune)
Over where the abbey was, a cross has been erected to mark the location of the alter
And down on the river was a paddle steamer ! The site was actually really busy, we didn't realise that the Bishop of Norwich holds a service there the first Sunday in August each year - the paddle steamer brought lots of people up the river from Norwich
And a lovely sail boat went past (plus there was a Norfolk Wherry on the river and a red biplane flying was all happening at St Benet's!)

Well, I probably should have split that into two posts but what hell eh.

Thanks for getting to the end!


  1. Stop in from Green Finger and I've never seen squash grown in a yard like that. Got our growing on a trills this year.
    I love old things they seem to tell a story.
    Hope you find a minute and stop in at my blog and the coffee is always on.

    1. Thanks Dora, nice to have you over. I sometimes grow squash around a wigwam or up a fence but in this garden I didn't have much to work with so am guiding them round in circles. I prob won't go out again for a while though so who knows what they'll do next! At the allotment I've got one that's decided to grow up into a tree too.
      Will pop over to yours soon :)

  2. I bet that you will end up with a barrow load of squashes - pumpkin pie anyone?

    1. Hope so sue! If they do well I'll probably share them out between us all plus the neighbour - I didn't realise he'd still be cuttin the grass round them, I was expecting to be out with the shears!

  3. The squash plants are looking really lovely! I hope they bear lots of fruit for you. I enjoyed your story about the abbey, and I'm glad to hear that Jan is feeling better enough to walk around some. Good news! I'm sure the fresh air and sunshine did her good.

    1. Thank you Audrey, they look pretty healthy so far! The abbey was really interesting, we'll definitely go back for another look around.
      Yes thank you, Jan was so pleased to be walking in the countryside! fingers crossed she carries on improving :)

  4. I hope you get a lot of squash.

    1. Thanks Daphne, all your squshes have inspired me :)

  5. Well, now that's another idea I may try in my squash efforts. We have a big, unused grassy area on the hilltop (to the left of the hilltop garden) & I've noticed that the soil on the hill is not as rocky as the main garden area, so I may actually be able to get a shovel in. I'll definitely be watching your progress on this one! I love old ruins - they make me both happy that something is left and sad that so much is gone. I often sit and imagine what life would have been like back then.