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Preparing the Squash Bed

Last year I grew a remarkable amount of squash and pumpkins in the field plot. It’s a difficult growing area due to the winds which we ‘enjoy’ here. The shelter beds of trees are taking their time to grow and crops like climbing beans or sweetcorn are impossible on this side. They just blow over!

Squash Bed

The new squash bed being created.

Last Year

Last year the grass was cut and covered with cardboard and a small amount of green waste. Then planting places were made by just digging holes and filling them up with compost from the heap.

Next the area was covered with landscape fabric and the squash planted through that. The fabric prevented weed growth, so it was the easiest crop I’ve ever grown. Literally just plant and forget until harvest time.

Squash Crown Prince

Squash Crown Prince – Last Year

When the covers came off, well to be honest blew off in the winter storms, the soil underneath was improved and quite spongy to walk on. It appears the worms have been working hard under the cover.

This Year

This year I have a mountain of sheep muck from my neighbour’s lambing shed which I’m using to further improve the beds. Bringing the muck from the mountain to the bed a wheelbarrow at a time is long task but we got around that problem with some help from my neighbours.

They came down with their 4×4 and 2 tonne tipper trailer. Loaded it up high with manure and then drove it around to the bed and tipped it out. Just to be clear, we never got near to each other. Although we’re all in good health, you just can’t know for sure that someone hasn’t got the coronavirus and is spreading it. Being paranoid is a good way to keep safe.

The next job was to mow the grass which is growing fast in the field. The grass clippings were dumped on top of the manure. So the soil is covered by cardboard, a layer of manure and then grass clippings. I’ll give it a good soaking and then cover with landscape fabric through which I’ll plant the squash.

Next Year

Next year the soil will be further improved and should be really good for planting potatoes. If I can I’ll do the same further up from these beds to bring more land into production. Although I don’t need to at the moment I’ve a feeling that it may be needed next year.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
9 comments on “Preparing the Squash Bed
  1. Rowland Wells says:

    Hi John do i take it what your doing is a no dig method for planting your squashes?

    we usually plant out butternut squash in a couple of raised beds
    marrows and pumpkins in open cultivated space both have several barrows full of horse manure put on prior to planting

    i like the idea of the landscape fabric that obviously lets the water in and keeps the ground weed free

    we to are growing crown prince this season we bought one to try and liked the taste and waltham

    • John Harrison says:

      I suppose it is a no dig method, Rowland. Just sown Crown Prince and Uchiki Kuri in pots.. Then dropped the pots so hope I’ve got the labels in the correct pots. Couple of Jack O’Lantern pumpkins too

  2. allyson stevenson says:

    I’m going to try planting into hay bales, I have some poor quality hay left over and thought that might be a good base for squash, what do you think?

    • John Harrison says:

      I wouldn’t Allyson. Squash are hungry plants and need lots of nutrients, which I don’t think you could supply in a hay bale system. But if you do I’d love to hear how it works out.

  3. Rowland Wells says:

    Hi John i was looking up that variety Uchiki Kuri and according to the info each plant forms three to five small pumpkin life fruits of intense orange red with golden flesh averaging 1.5KG and early maturing variety

    have you grew this variety before and how do you rate them because I’m quite interesting in trying this variety

    • John Harrison says:

      Hi Rowland – we’ve grown them before and the description is correct. They keep fairly well and have a good flavour. Being smaller than many varieties they’re ideal for couples and small families.

  4. Rowland Wells says:

    many thanks John going to give them a go

  5. Eileen says:

    I grow crown prince for a few years now and find it keeps so well still have one left .liked the input on squashes.

  6. Eric Thompson says:

    Hi John. I’ve grown Crown Prince for several years now without any problems at all. I grow them vertically for about 3 feet and then along the horizontal supports. Provided the stems are well tied in, the fruits themselves have never needed to be individually supported. A cracking variety!

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