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Winter Squash progress report

Saturday, July 7, 2018 4:46
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Things seem to be going well so far with my six squash plants.

They are growing at a rate of knots now, and have more or less covered the whole area I set aside as my “Pumpkin Patch”:

I’m very glad that when I planted them I marked the positions of their stems with some long sticks, because this now helps me to direct the water to the right place when I’m giving them a drink, rather than just spraying it over the whole area. This is particularly important when the weather is extremely hot and water is probably going to become scarce (there are rumours of hosepipe bans coming in soon…). Squashes are thirsty plants, and I have been watering mine every other day in the current hot weather. I’m sure that digging in a lot of well-rotted compost beneath each plant was also a good move, because this will have retained water much better than the very sandy soil.

The metal rods you see are marking the positions of the three Dwarf tomato plants. If the tomatoes get big enough to need this, I will tie them to the rods for support.

The squash plants are producing a lot of flowers and several fruit have already set. It is hard to be sure how many fruit there are in amongst all the foliage, but I have identified at least one of every type. This is “Uchiki Kuri”:

This is “Crown Prince”:

And this is “Sweetmax”:

Apart from the first Uchiki Kuri, which is currently about the size of a Grapefruit, the squashes are still very small, but they seem to be developing as I expected and I am hopeful that each plant will give me about 2 or 3 fruits.

Hopeful that we may eventually get some rain, I have started putting things (in this case, bits of wood) underneath the developing fruits to keep them off the ground. I have heard that a squash can go soft and mouldy if it is in contact with moist soil for any length of time. Moist soil seems a distant prospect at present, but you can never be too careful!

I’d really like to replace the bits of wood with something less permeable – maybe some pieces of slate or some old tiles – so I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for something suitable.

As you can probably tell from my photos, keeping the weeds at bay is a major problem on the Courtmoor Avenue plot – something I’m not used to because my own home garden is pretty easy to keep weed-free. Can anyone identify the plant seen at the bottom of the photo above? This is the most prolific weed of all on the plot, and I have been pulling it up in armfuls, but still it comes back!

P.S. Since drafting this post, I have found a few pieces of broken tile, which I have put underneath the biggest of the squashes.

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