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Pumpkins & Squashes

Back in July I decided to start bringing some more land into production for next year using a sort of permaculture method. Since I don’t like wasting resources and land is perhaps the most important resource we have, I decided to use the space this year for squashes and pumpkins.

Squash Plant Uchiki Kuri

Squash Uchiki Kuri

I don’t know why but I’ve not grown any squashes or pumpkins since we moved here and I wasn’t sure how they’d do in these conditions. Well the results such are that I’ll be growing them each year from now on. Especially considering how I’ve done next to nothing to help them since they were planted out. And they were late being planted out to boot!

I planted out 4 varieties – Jack O’Lantern Pumpkins, Hunter Butternut Squash, Crown Prince Squash and Uchiki Kuri (Oochy Koochy as we call them) Squash. They went into a cubic foot of home made compost between weed membrane.

Sudden Heatwave Disaster

All well and good until we had one of those three day heatwaves that have been a feature of this otherwise mediocre, cool summer. Half the plants were roasted to death. Black membrane, hot sun – ouch! Since then I’ve done nothing with them, just left to get on with it. The plants that survived seem to have thrived on neglect!

The Uchiki Kuri (photo above) have produced some fruits, a little smaller than those their brethren grew in the polytunnel but respectable anyway.

Pumpkins

Pumpkin Under Foliage

Jack O’Lantern Pumpkin Under Foliage

There’s a couple of decent pumpkins coming from the surviving plant. One’s promised to my grandson for Halloween and the other to a friend’s daughter. I just hope they swell a bit more and colour up before the big day. I’d have liked a couple for us to eat but them’s the breaks!

Squash Crown Prince

Squash Crown Prince

Squash Crown Prince – Large fruits and lots of them!

The Crown Prince Squash are doing extremely well. Some are huge and I think there are nine fruits, possibly eleven. I kept losing count. It’s me age, me dear. All depends if they live up to their reputation for flavour.

Should be Hunter Butternut Squash

Squash Should be Hunter

Squash Should be Hunter Butternut Type

Now this is weird. These should be Hunter, a butternut squash. But they’re nothing like a butternut squash should be. They’re more like a sort of large green marrow. I realised after a bit of thought that the only reasonable explanation is cross-pollination between the Hunter and the Crown Prince. I may be wrong but if you know better do say in the comments. We’ll have to see what they taste like.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
9 comments on “Pumpkins & Squashes
  1. Bonnie says:

    Very interesting. The same thing happened to our one butternut squash plant. We’ve got 2 marrow like squash fruits on it
    It was grown in the same area as the pumpkins and ornamental gourds. We were baffled until I read your article.

    • John Harrison says:

      Hi Bonnie
      I’ve been told I’m wrong and it must be the seed at fault.
      “The seed in your packet couldn’t have been Hunter squash to start with, John. I’d certainly complain to whoever sold them to you.
      Cross pollination this year, only effects the seed inside and the fruit/plant that grows from that seed next year.. It wouldn’t change the shape of this years fruit.”

      • JacsH says:

        Cross pollination will affect this year’s fruit. Grow cucumbers and melons near to each other and the melon fruit can taste disgustingly like cucumber. But then seed can be wrong too – this year my “Chocolate Cherry” tomatoes are beautiful medium sized red fruit, nothing like last year’s self sown seed from also “chocolate cherry” but a different source.

  2. Rowland Wells says:

    We grew our pumpkins on a heap of horse manure and didn’t they do well! We usually grow pumpkins to eat and this year our local, The Badgers Arms, are having a competition for the heaviest pumpkin. No prizes, just a bit of fun, probably a free pint or two for the winner although our pumpkin is quite large I think its not going to be the winner.

    As for the squashes, yep they were grown on a raised bed with manure and they have produced quite well. Plenty of good sized squashes, not too big.

    But I was surprised when we had a small frost the other day that has sent some of the squash leaves looking a bit black but it never touched the pumpkins or our marrows. Maybe it was because our squashes were set in a lower part of the allotment.

    We will, I think, need to harvest both shortly before we get a really sharp frost as our allotment is in a bit of a frost pocket.

  3. Rowland Wells says:

    Hi John [growing giant pumpkins] very interesting article and food for thought next season will keep the site informed how we make out with forthcoming pumpkin competition

    PS. on another garden subject can you offer me any advise on caliente mustard I have seen your you-tube video on growing mustard but caliente mustard is a new one on me but it seems worth growing as a green manure

    many thanks as ever for your replies and advise rw

  4. Vanna says:

    On my last year at the allotment, I grew butternut squash, and courgettes, and they definitely did cross pollinate, different leaves on the plants, but remarkably similar fruits.
    My courgettes this year in my new garden have been really bad, many flowers, tiny courgettes which rot when they get to about 30mm long and nothing else. I think that it must be the clay soil, so will try them in a raised bed next year.

  5. Rowland Wells says:

    many thanks John for that info very informative RW

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