Humble (pumpkin) pie

I thought that my squash were doing alright. I’ve got ‘summer squash’, which doesn’t actually exist of course, I just have no idea what variety they are. That and the turks turban, which are fattening nicely. My harvested squash pile currently looks like this:

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The onion rack is now a squash-curing rack

But then we visited Charlecote Park at the weekend, the National Trust place near Warwick. And frankly, they’re just showing off with their squash pile. Check this out:

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One serious squash harvest

The gardeners at Charlecote are having huge fun with their squash. There were varieties here I’d never heard of, both old and new, from the UK, Japan, Canada, USA, France… you get it. All of them were exquisitely beautiful, even the ugly ones. That may make no sense, but is perfectly logical to me.

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Gourds – these are inedible, just for show

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I am growing these! Though I’ll probably get about…10.

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Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous

But what to do with all these squash – will they ever sell them all? I doubt it. Not at £5 a pop, which is how much some of the more interesting ones were. No matter. I best get back to looking after those Turks.

The last day of summer

It’s the last day of August today, which to me is the last day of summer. I spent three hours doing the jobs that I’ve been putting off for a few weeks whilst the weather has been so miserable – namely, weeding. Sodding weeds. They get everywhere. Fat hen, thistle, grass, butter-cup, loads more that I can’t identify…we have them all and they are virulent. The violas which I grew from seed back in March have come up, now exhausted after their long season of colour. And the foxgloves have gone in, to hopefully acclimatise for next summer.

The best solution for weeds is total ground cover – just starve them out. The squash are doing an excellent job of that, only 10 weeks old and already threatening to take over the entire neighbourhood. These are Turks Turban and I’m hoping that they get sufficiently gnarled and weird-looking in time for Halloween. There are 9 plants, and around 3 fruit per plant….that’s a lot of squash.

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Squash weed control

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Baby Turks Turban

Only one of the fennel seeds I planted a couple of weeks ago has made it up. I think it’s the bit of land they were planted on – we only had one successful carrot from that patch too. Not much you can do with only one carrot. However I think this little seedling needs saving and so it got its own little covering to stop it being gobbled by the pigeons.

Speaking of being cosseted, the greenhouse tomatoes are proving to be – if I’m honest – a bit of a disappointment. The fruits all seem to be ailed with one of four conditions:

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Issue 1: Blossom-end rot. I thought I’d got rid of all these but obviously not. You could stick your finger in this brown patch and it would come out covered in gunk.

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Issue 2: Scarring. I think this is due to the variety but not sure…it could just be another example of being High Maintenance.

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Issue 3: Splitting. Apparently this is something to do with heat and/or water. Also known as Definitely Being High Maintenance.

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Issue 4: Being gobbled by unknown creatures

I don’t think there’s much I can do now about the first three issues, but I can the last one. The creature in question left a trail of poo which led me to discover its identity (caterpillar) and hiding den (under a leaf). It got chucked onto next door’s strawberries (is that bad?) to survive another day in the Palace of Pigeons.

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Poo! On my tomatoes!

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The culprit. That’s a lot of poo for something so small.

But on the bright side, we’re not far off a hop harvest. Matt’s threatening to put these in the freezer (he’ll be lucky, there’s no room what with all the raspberries) but I think they’d make a good kitchen decoration. God only knows if they will actually ever get turned into beer.

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Flowers nearly at harvesting stage

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Challenger hop has nearly made it to the top of the hopolisk

Took up: violas, marigolds

Seedlings protected: fennel, cima di rapa, spring onions, chard, spinach

Planted out: foxgloves

Harvested: patty-pan, the Spring spring onions, tomatoes