I first saw plot 2 in September 2016. I noticed several things – the autumn sun highlighting the tall, bleached grasses, and the even taller weeds…
The holes in the (lovely) shed…
And the beautiful pumpkins and squashes on neighbouring plots, glowing on the ground like giant orange smarties.
( by the way, do the orange ones still taste of orange, does anyone know? )
As I started to learn about ‘allotmenting’, one of the many interesting things has been the soil differences between plot and home.
In my damp, shady garden the squashes have never done well. Even courgettes struggle. I hoped, from what I could see, that I might have a better chance here.
I wanted to try and grow quite a lot of these plants. For a start, in my bid to provide much more of my own food, they do store well. ( If properly ‘cured’!)
And you can freeze some, especially made into soup first. Or ratatouille, in the case of the courgettes.
More importantly, for my best helper, what small boy doesn’t love a giant pumpkin?
As the plot got closer to being ‘plantable’ – ( in retrospect, maybe I rushed in a bit early. I would have liked to have done more preparation) – it also looked like a vast, empty expanse of earth.
Pumpkins were the answer! Lets get that ground covered..
Well of course I sowed too many.
…and of course they all grew..
…and they looked so sweet in their little pots..
I decided it would be fun to throw away the labels and just wait and see what appeared.. (!!)..
I sowed pumpkins, two or three varieties, some big, some small. And squashes, butternut types as well as Turks cap ( turban?) Courgettes (Three types? Maybe four!)
And now… The Giants have arrived.
They are magnificent. Also slightly intimidating, with their phenomenal growing power.
Their leaves are stunning, both architectural and held with such poise.
And the flowers huge and glowing – the bees love them, and come out drunk on pollen!
They like my ‘burial mounds’, heaps of goodness to grow in, as I hoped that they would.
( the few leftover plants which I put in the ground at plot 1 are very sad and small by comparison.)
I planted 3 (3!) in the compost heap, where less than one would have been enough.
I looked up ‘stopping’ them. The book said pinch out the growing tips after 2 or 3 fruit have set, so you get much bigger ones. I didn’t really have the heart to do it… I may regret that.. but I also thought, I am only cooking for one, maybe many small ones would be more useful? We shall see. While finding out about that, I read too late that I could have encouraged them to ‘climb’ more, by supplying sturdy frames. Belatedly I shoved a few hefty sticks into the compost bin. It was difficult, and very prickly, trying to tie them up!
I learnt my lesson and left the rest to roam free. (Next year I will try to put in supports a little earlier.)
And roam they do…
I measured one of the biggest – from tip to tip, it is 4.5 metres long and still growing.
So far there are largeish round yellow fruits and small,green corrugated ones, stripey courgettes and green ones and yellow ones, and Turks cap turbans big enough to actually wear on your head.
* plus one or two which still haven’t decided what to be…
Watch this space ( or rather, lack of it ) for autumnal updates.
PS. I guess that I could have also mentioned cucumbers in this post. But they did get a lot of limelight in the ‘Tendrils’ story and I don’t want them to get big headed.
(Plus I am eating 3 cucumbers a day. Like apples. Enough with the cucumbers.)