A squash and a squeeze

Two winter squash plants, that have spent the summer weaving their tendrils across my plot, have yielded three good sized pumpkins. This optimum harvest has delighted the younger Broccoli’s in our household, who all have a pumpkin to call their own. IMG_1087

I am not a great fan of Halloween, it’s too ghoulish for me, but I do appreciate the creativity that goes on in my kitchen on this occasion.

The biggest pumpkin has already been allocated to the smallest child. During the growing season he fed his pumpkin a regular drink of beer in an effort to increase its size and, like many real ale drinkers, its girth swelled magnificently.

It’s the outer skin that attracts the children, a blank orange canvas on which to display their art. However its the richly coloured flesh that interests me, and the seeds, the flat husks of dormant life that will explode into being next spring.

I’m a sucker for a great name which resulted in my choosing a variety of pumpkin called ‘Magical’. I sowed the seeds singly, in pots on a sunny windowsill, in March. When all danger of frosts had passed, at the end of May, I planted the seedlings out. The soil had been enriched with well rotted manure in winter and the pumpkins were, well, happy as pumpkins in muck.

So that’s the kids sorted and my kitchen is awash with seeds, scoops, knives, secret diagrams and candles. Better not tell social services!!!

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As for me, I find small is beautiful and my attention has turned to the tiny little squashes smuggled back from Belgium. I want to collect the seeds from these and grow them next year. As any of you who have grown pumpkins will know, they don’t half ramble and can smother other crops in the blink of an eye. For this reason I am planning on using the space saving technique of growing upwards. Smaller squashes can be trained up hazel wigwams and arches and look superb in autumn. This will give me a greater variety of fruits and therefore a greater variety of flavour.

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I am planning on stuffing my little squashes with rice and spice and all things nice while the mischief makers walk the night gathering slugs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails.

For my stuffed squash recipe click on the recipe at the top of the page.

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