Courgettes and winter squashes
Courgettes – Verde Di Milano, Dwarf Bush Courgette
Last year we grew a variety of courgette called ‘Verde Di Milano’, a Dwarf bush courgette, from the Real Seed Catalogue. It grew huge! However, it produced plenty of good sized delicious dark green courgettes. So this plant is a must this year.
Each plant produced in the region of 20 courgettes. it was a particularly good year for courgettes given the warm dry weather. There was a mini glut towards the end of the season so I made some spiced courgette chutney. The chutney is now perfectly mature and eats especially well with a platter of bread, hams and cheeses.
I’ve sown 6 seeds, we plan to put 2 on the orchard plot and 4 on plot 2.
Blue Banana Squash – The Real Seed Catalogue
This plant is extraordinary. It’s a very rare variety, and I love growing things that are unavailable in shops. This particular squash is an American heirloom, although it originates from Guatemala.
The vine is quite large but not too enormous. The fruit is a silvery bluey grey ‘zeppelin’ shape and grows huge, up to two feet long.
I grew many squashes last year, a total of 14 different varieties. It was our first year allotmenting on a couple of the plots and they hadn’t been worked for years . They were overgrown and full of bramble, cooch weed and bindweed. The idea behind the squashes, to discover new varieties but also to get as much of the the plot cultivated as we could whilst continuing to prepare the rest of the weed ridden patch. Anyway I digress, there were a couple of varieties we loved and this was one of them.
It’s easy to peel and has firm orange flesh and it has the most incredible fresh tropical fruit scent. It also stores for a ridiculously long time. I picked the fruit in October and six months later it’s still perfectly fine.
Waltham Butternut Squash – MoreVeg
Although butternut squash is readily available in the shops this is a slightly different variety.
According to the Real Seed Catalogue, it was bred by the Massachusetts Ag. Extension Service in the 1960’s by crossing ‘New Hampshire Butternut’ with a wild African squash. The neck is slightly longer and wider and the seed cavity is a lot smaller. It has lovely rich orange flesh with a great flavour. Like the Blue Banana squash it stores really well.
This squash does take a while to get going, around 15 weeks to reach maturity, so patience is required. I didn’t realise this last year we ended up with a fairly disappointing crop, just a couple of tiny fruits. So starting this off much earlier this year and let’s see what happens.