Monday 12 October 2015

Harvest Monday - more squashes!

Last week I had a mammoth squash harvest, bringing back the biggest butternuts from the allotment. I still had some small ones that I wanted to leave a little bit longer to ripen a bit more. It's been sunny on and off so they've come on well.
Earlier this week. Some beans from the back garden and a teeny patty pan squash too.
I decided to use one of the butternuts as it had a bit of damage that looked like it would start to go soft and mouldy, potentially ruining a major part of the fruit if left to spread.
I got two trayfuls from the one fruit and roasted them with rosemary from the front garden, Mmm.
The roasted squash went into a few portions of soup, and a made-up tomatoey quinoa dish, which also had some extra portions for the freezer as well as lunch the next day. A lotta squash.
On Thursday I went out with my friend Liz to her elderly mum's place in the countryside. I'd been growing some squash plants in her garden as a bit of an experiment but hadn't been to see them for a while. There wasn't much to see when I went back! On the allotment, the squash plants had got huge so I was expecting something similar here but they'd pretty much died off already. It seems that the garden is just too shady - a tall hedge on one side and mature trees all round.
Out of the eight plants, only 4 had harvestable fruits
Not too bad really though for the cost and effort involved - I'd have bought the seeds anyway for the allotment, plus just used a bit of compost for sowing and some chicken poo pellets I added at planting time. I gave away some spare plants which is always nice to do. It was lovely to have an excuse to go out into the countryside anyway. I gave Liz one of the green squashes (muscade de Provence) as a thanks for taking me out there and each time we went I took some cake for us all as a treat as well.
There are two amazing apple trees in the garden - an eater and a cooker. How many apples??!
And look at the quinces!
Lucky me, I got to help myself
And back in Norwich I harvested two more muscades from the allotment. You can see the size difference here - for comparison, the small one in the photo is the biggest one from Liz's mum's! The biggest one was just under 9lbs, like the butternut from last week, yikes!
At the allotment I also picked my first carrots of the year, wooh. That reminds me, I haven't tried one yet.
Yesterday on the allotment I had some surprises. Two large white scallop / patty pans had been hiding away under a leaf. There were also a fair few dwarf beans (the runners are from the back garden). I brought back another small muscade and a butternut as well as some greens.
And a few more blackberries!
Some toms from the lean-to at home. It's looking quite bare in there as I've cleared away most of the tom plants now.
I've also continued to sprout beans, yummy
And used up one of the large muscades. The big ones aren't as well cured as the smaller ones so I'll use these up first. Also it was a bit of a shame, a really huge one on the allot had loads of slug damage and was all soft, so it ended upon the compost heap. This one was ok though. Not many seeds?
Mmm, roast
And a curry from the same batch of roast squash, enough for a couple of days. Squashes are certainly good for bulking up meals!

So I still have a couple of little butternuts that need to ripen / cure. The nights are cold now but there's still warmth during the day if we're lucky. I could've done with leaving some of them a bit longer out on the plot but was a bit worried some might go walkies. It does happen sometimes unfortunately.

This upcoming week I might have a go at making apple cider vinegar, I just saw a recipe which uses apple peel, core and honey. Sounds easy!

Linking in with Harvest Monday on Dave's Our Happy Acres



  1. Wow, what a wonderful week of harvests you have had. I love reading about all of your squash experiments. As you know, squash certainly do fill up the pantry and each one is good for many, many delicious meals. Those are beautiful apple trees. I planted 3 this spring and am anxious for them to start producing. Have a great week in the garden!

    1. Thanks lexa! This is definitely the most squash I've ever had. I sowed lots of plants this year after seeing all Daphne's butternuts last year. I think I need a bit more land or better soil before I can get as many as her though!
      Ooh lovely, it's nice to have your own apples. I have 4 dwarf trees on the allot and they're just starting to get settled and produce a decent crop. I eat a lot of apples and wish I had big trees like these ones though! One day eh. Anyway, Yours will be worth the wait I'm sure.

  2. I would like to be able to produce decent squashes, but I've tried and failed every time. My garden just doesn't get enough sunshine. It is nice to have something that gives a good big crop to bulk-up the other veggies.

    1. Hi mark, at least you have plenty of other crops that do well :) i grew a squash and courgette in the back garden this year and both did very badly - a tiny fruit on the squash and none on the courgette! I think the elder tree I planted when we moved in has got too big and is shading everything (it's at the end of our not-very-big garden, on the south side.) I'm planning on pollarding it this winter though. I'll leave it as late as possible to provide winter cover for the birdies.

  3. It seems to have been the week of the squash doesn't it? We have harvested very similar things to you. You have a great range of produce there.

    1. Thanks sue, it's a bit of luck with the early autumn weather I think that's helped. Although saying that, it's now cold and rainy. I'd better check on the last of my squashes soon, and probably pick the borlotti beans in case they rot.

  4. Wow - that's a huge butternut - I think one of mine was 4 lbs and I thought that was big! Wonderful meals and those tomatoes look amazing! I'm not harvesting any ripe tomatoes off the vines anymore, only green ones that have to redden up inside. And in another few days, even those will be done.

    1. Thanks Margaret, yep I was surprised at the weight, It's more than my neighbour's baby! Most of the rest of my toms are in a couple of trays in the lean-to to ripen, they do carry on slowly for a while longer here. I tried cooking fried green tomatoes a few years ago but it didn't go well!

  5. Those apple trees are loaded with apples! I love roasted winter squash with rosemary. Your butternut & quinoa dish sounds tasty too. The winter squashes are so versatile in the kitchen, we depend on them for many meals here.

    1. Thanks dave, I wish they were my apple trees hehe. It won't take me long to get through the ones I brought home, and the organic ones from the market are quite expensive.
      The butternut / quinoa dish also had tomatoes, chard and kale, it was quite tasty. I usually make up most of my meals, I'm not very good at following recipes.
      I'll look forward to seeing some of your squash meals for more ideas of what to do with mine, although most of mine will probably just end up roasted, an easy option :)

  6. Visit to the country, squashes will little effort and free apples? Sounds pretty great to me. And I can imagine how much that huge butternut stretched - it would make many dishes! That's a great harvest you had this week!

    I had to look up the term "pollard" - not sure if it's just a British thing or maybe I just don't bother to "prune" my trees here enough to know the correct terminology. :)

    1. Ha ha, yep it worked out ok Susie.

      Oh yes sorry, I should've explained pollarding - traditional wood pasture management - cutting all the branches off quite high, to produce a regular crop of poles for different uses, but out of reach of browsing animals. We have some amazing ancient pollarded trees over here, they can live for 100s years. In my case I would be pollarding to keep the canopy more in control in a small space, whilst also renewing the branches that the flowers and berries grow on. I'll probably use some of the cut branches for different things too but stack the rest at the allot for a habitat pile if I can walk it all down there!