Wednesday, 16 November 2011

This Year's Failure

There's always something which does spectacularly badly on the allotment. This year it was the turn of butternut squash. I haven't grown this before, and I don't think I'll bother again. There was only one squash produced on the plant and it only grew to the size of a tennis ball. I've captured it's good side in the photo, the other side has a couple of holes in it where insects have had a feast. I would like to grow squash though, so next year I'm going to have a go at one or two other varieties. As I'm not growing potatoes on the allotment next year, I'll give the potato bed over to them. I'd love to hear if you've got any particular recommendations of varieties to try. I'd like to grow some which will store well over winter.

I've been out to the greenhouse this morning to check on the strawberry plants which I mentioned a few posts back. I'm pleased to report that they've all recovered from their time in transit very well, every single one of them has sprung back in to good health and have produced some new shiny green leaves. I've got high hopes of a good strawberry harvest next year.

I had a visitor in the garden a few days ago, the first robin I've seen there this autumn. We get lots of sparrows and starlings, a couple of blackbirds and the odd pigeon, on a regular basis. I'm making sure that I'm feeding them all regularly so that they know where their food source is when winter comes, especially if snow's on the ground and food is hard to come by. I love watching the comings and goings, the feeders are well used and there's always something to see.


  1. Hello, I had a bed of squashes this year and the butternut ones were useless. I think maybe the weather wasn't hot enough for them but they just didn't grow. However the "Uchiki Kuri" did brilliantly, trailing everywhere and I got loads of big orange squashes that have kept well in the kitchen. They are lovely just sliced and roasted. xx

  2. It always cheers me up to see Robins! We grew amazing butternuts at the allotment last year from quite straggly looking seedlings. They were neglected, grown with weeds, not watered terribly well and grew fantastically. I can only think it was new soil that hadn't been grown on before. Everything did better there than at my allotment. I think I am going to use more green manure (clover) and straw mulches at the allotment. x

  3. I'm trying uchiki kuri too next year. I haven't grown squash before so I'm really looking forward to trying. I don't think its been a great year for squash in general so maybe give the butternuts another go next summer. We can't have 2 summers in a row so bad can we? Ok I've answered my own question!!!

  4. I had some lovely 'Boston Squash', grown from seeds from the Real Seed people. Better luck next year!

  5. I agree that the poor summer was to blame so it may be worth trying again some time.
    It's always good to see the various birds at this time of year isn't it.
    Flighty xx

  6. I didn't get round to growing squashes or pumpkins in time this year. I did plant one Atlantic Giant seedling which rambled fairly unproductively all over the place. Next year I'm going to give spaghetti squash a go - and hope that the weather is more predictable! Shame yours didn't work, but I wouldn't be put off because it's been such a peculiar year for growing veg. (I also like the sound of the Uchiki Kuri squash, especially as they can be grown upwards so need very little space.)

  7. I had the same problem with Butternut this year, but last year they were fantastic. I also tried to grow Sweet Dumpling and they were rubbish too. But the summer squash (Patty Pan) were really prolific.

  8. I grew pumpkins once but the plants were so rampant that they took over half the garden. The pumkins weren't anything to write home about so I've not bothered to grow any since then.
    Love from Mum

  9. Yep, it was definitely a bad year for cucurbits this year. In any case, Butternut Squash is cheap to buy these days, so it makes sense (as you say) to try some different, less widely-available, varieties.

  10. Butternut squash don't really like our climate so often fail - we've grown Crown Prince for several years now. This year the fruits aren't as big - but we have harvested plenty. We had one made into a lovely 'pumpkin pie' see Martyn's weather blog (linked from my blog)for a photo. I'd have called it a squash tart but it was delicious either way.

  11. Sorry to hear that your butternut squashes didn't do very well either, Serendipity. Thanks for the recommendation, I'll look in to Uchiki Kuri.

    It's sometimes the case that neglected plants do very well, Lorna. Your allotment probably needs some goodness putting in to the soil and then it should provide you with a bountiful harvest.

    I'm hoping that next summer is much better than this year, Wellywoman. It's always exciting to grow something new, I'm looking forward to it too.

    Thank you for visiting and for your recommendation, Marancat. I shall look in to Boston Squash.

    I think I'll try some different squash next year, Flighty, but I may come back to butternut squash somewhere down the line. I love encouraging birds in to the garden, they're always a delight to watch.

    My pumpkin plant did ok this year, Caro, I got two pumpkins off it. Spaghetti squash looks really weird, it'll be interesting to see how you do with it.

    Perhaps it is down to the weather this year then, Elaine. It's funny how one variety can do really well and another so poorly.

    Pumpkins do need a large area to scramble about in, Mum. It's ok on an allotment where there's quite a bit of space, but I wouldn't fancy growing them in my postage stamp sized garden.

    It'll be interesting to grow some less widely available varieties, Mark. I love the look of Turks Turban squash but I've read that other varieties taste much nicer.

    Thanks for the recommendation, Sue. I shall pop over to Martyn's blog to see the pumpkin pie, but squash tart sounds posher.

  12. Last year I got no butternut squash although I sowed them very late...this year I had two lovely fruit grow and I think it was maybe the situation which stunted the produce...I will definitely try again next year!!

  13. Probably just the season Jo. Did you place anything underneath the squash to lift it up from the ground? Helps to keep the wet and the munchies away. Did not grow squashes this year but have had good results from ' Uchiki Kuri' in the past. Great to see a feathered friend return :)

  14. I just ordered Uchiki Kuru as well! ;) An allotment neighbour grew them this year and they produced quite a few pumpkins per plant - gorgeous little ones that would be perfect for cooking. I gave up on butternut squash as well and instead grew Spaghetti squash this year. I've still got a small mountain of them in the store-room and I only grew two plants! They like a nice rich soil but are really very easy to grow and absolutely delicious.

  15. I'm going to have a go at something different next year, Tanya. Glad to hear we didn't all suffer failures with butternut squash this year.

    Another vote for Uchiki Kuri then, Anna. I can see I'm going to have to try that variety for myself. I didn't place anything underneath the squash, I should have thought to do that though as I always do it with my pumpkins.

    Glad to hear that the spaghetti squash did well for you Tanya. It's great to have some produce stored for later use. I think I'll be growing Uchiki Kuri too so we'll have to compare notes next year.


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