Of pumpkins/squash, fruits and flowers for this week seed planting

Of pumpkins/squash, fruits and flowers for this week seed planting

If we want to harvest the fruits [and veg] of our efforts in future, it’s a week to plant some seeds for above-ground fruits, flowers, seeds.

 

Best days are Saturday 7th – Sunday 8th January 2017, + Wednesday 11th  [here in New Zealand]

Before the full moon on Thursday 12th January 2017.

 

For those of you in northern parts where it is cold, either sow indoors in pots/trays [a glass-house is wonderful for extending the season]

Down-under we are in summer.Here in Auckland, NZ, the weather is warm so seeds germinate quickly [when kept moist]. It has been dry, with ‘showers’ rather than soaking rain so seeds and seedlings need watchful attention to maintain soil moisture levels so they grow well.

 

Now is a great time to talk about

Pumpkins/squashes/zucchini [courgettes] 

We have a sequence to provide these over a longer time span:

First we plant 1-2 ‘Zorro’ zucchinis in pots in early spring, inside a plastic-bag ‘mini hothouse’then transplant them into a rich, protected garden bed when the soil has warmed up. These are amazingly hardy and prolific [and they are bushes rather than rampant vines].

2014-11-22 15.03.59
Zucchini plant growing strongly

Second, we plant a number of ‘tromboncino squash’ seeds into rich, warm soil in the garden in late Spring. These rampant vines will start fruiting later than the Zorro zucchinis – and keep going longer too.

 

They produce ‘crook necked’ type squash which are wonderfully tasty when small [less than my hand long] – even better than ordinary zucchinis! Sweeter.

A.N.D the ones we miss grow and grow and grow some more so quickly! There’s an in-between stage which is meh – so they go into soup. We leave most of them on the vine to mature. When the vine dies back the squash skin gets harder and harder – these fruit store well. And the flesh gets sweeter and richer – we think they are best baked or made into soup.

There are a number of varieties and we have tried 3 so far:

  1. Our favorite ‘tromboncino squash’ is from Running Brook Seeds [only available in NZ]. It is long, tasty, has a dark green skin and stores well too.
  2. Second is from ‘Diggers Seeds’ in Australia – nice taste, with light-green skin.
  3. Another is called ‘rampicante squash’ [here in NZ] with dark-green skin.

 

Third, main-crop pumpkins/squash go into warm, rich Spring soil. Their fruit will form hard skins and keep well. There are so many varieties to try!

We do love butternut squash – and some years it’s hot enough to grow some here. Some years not.

We found a standard pumpkin here is a ‘grey’ and can form a nice tasty fruit which keeps well. This one is reliable for us.

12898258_900147743416881_1502145590120298891_o
pumpkin/squash harvest

 

Some varieties we used to grow well in Australia do poorly here or are not available at all. This reminds us to choose varieties adapted to local conditions where-ever we are.

 

Fourth, we use chokos [not a zucc] when and tromboncinos have finished. The chokos are just starting and, when they are very small, thumb-sized, they are delicious replacements for zuccs.

 

If you wish to save seeds from pumpkins, squash or zucchinis, many cross-pollinate so check out options before beginning.

I’ll put together a post about how to save their seeds to get true-breeding results.

 

We will also sow

  • Beans [I sow direct and protect from snails and slugs] We will plant more climbing ‘Emu’ beans. [PS -As the young beans appear with their first leaves is a great indicator to me to plant the next generation seeds for a continuous supply.]

20160927_172314

 

  • Tomatoes [also heat-lovers]. Getting a bit late so maybe plant seedlings. The cherry tomatoes we planted in spring are fruiting wonderfully well. Other varieties we planted late October are growing and some have flowers – there’s hope for them yet. I wonder what will grow best this season? For more on our tomato experiments, go here and here.
  • Corn!  Plant into really rich ground. Early Gem and Bantam have grown well here in the past so we’ll see this year.
  • Flowers. More sunflowers. Just because…

 

Hopefully some of what we plant now will do well so we will have a harvest no matter what the weather does – hot/dry/cold/wet.

 

May your food garden flourish!

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