"Gardening makes my heart bloom" -- mum

"The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat." -- Confucius

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

Squash Uchiki Kuri

Early autumn - Munchkins
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

From John Keats' poem, To Autumn, 1820

Squash Rolet, ready for harvest

 Miniature pumpkin Munchkin
This is a year of many firsts in the garden.  Some of these were pumpkins, squashes and ball-shaped courgettes.
Squash Patty-pan
I had developed an inexplicable fascination with cucurbita fruit and although space was at a premium, I managed to tuck a couple of small sized species amongst the beans and sweetcorn.
Young Uchiki Kuri in
a bright lemon shade
Germinated under makeshift cloches outdoors, the seedlings burst forth without fuss and were soon scrambling up teepees, weaving through the broccoli greens and finally spilling onto the footpath to soak up the sun.

My favourite is the red Uchiki Kuri squash. The robust seedling I had raised from seed was attacked by slugs to a stump but miraculously survived. It sat in a state of shock for a week or so, then started producing secondary vines. 

There's nothing more exciting than spotting a tiny baby squash (or pumpkin) after weeks of expectant watchfulness.
Two weeks later, it turned to a lovely orange hue
These furry babies appeared in quick succession, one, two, three, along the vine, all looking very perky and pleased with themselves.

Two fell off eventually, leaving one which turned from a lovely yellow to a rich vermilion hue.  It sat in the garden for weeks on end brightening up one end of the footpath and now sits in a platter of cucurbits in the living room - I don't think I could bear to eat it!
Courgette Tondo Chiaro di Nizza (left)
- very sweet and juicy

Thankfully I didn't feel the same about the others so they were stuffed with rice, meat, herbs and then baked. 
Stuffed and ready for the oven


Matron said...

Ooooh! I am salivating at the sight of your post. There is something very satisfying this time of year to have a stash of Winter squash. Some sort of primal instinct makes it essential to put food in storage for Winter.

Dim Sum Gardener said...

Indeed, it would be lovely to have shelves full of fresh or pickled and preserved home grown food to last all year round. Winter squash and pumpkins are so lovely to look at, I'm hoping that they will last for a few more months before they go into the pot.