Spent the afternoon picking the remaining squash and pumpkins from the field: I’d planted 3 shortish rows in spring, and quite a few plants near the gate had been munched by slugs (as always); and that patch of land isn’t quite as nice at the top patch anyway. So I’d planted them a little closer than I should to compensate for the expected slug/pest damage. And my word; the later-sown and planted butternuts in particular at the top of the field officially went nuts this year.
My lovely helper Aimee (who now comes along for an hour each week) and I picked and carted back around 15 wheelbarrow loads of 2-3 boxes-high of squash and pumpkins, probably around 50-70kg in the barrow at a time. That’s about a tonne of food! And some of the squash and pumpkins (especially the gorgeous grey Crown Prince) are well on to 5kg each. Hefting one up, you realise that it could feed a family of 6 or more very easily. Yum.
The only trouble is finding places to store the bountiful harvest; so I’ve sneaked them around the edges of the two drier polytunnels without sprinklers on, to carry on drying and curing in the warm weather (this seemed to work well last year). And I’m massaging my forearms tonight, because I feel like Popeye.
Now I look back at the summer, much of it is a blur of ground preparation, sowing, planting, weeding, picking, delivering, tunnel construction/destruction… I know I’ve missed the boat yet again this year on a number of successional sowings (I’d have liked to have had more spinach, lettuce and coriander underway now); and I thought I’d forgotten to sow any more dill too as it wasn’t written on my row labels – and then realised that I cleverly drilled half a long field row (to finish off a row of fennel) with the lovely stuff in August, and just forgot to add the info to the fennel label, hurrah! Mind you, it was only while weeding the fennel (which looks like dill froma distance) this afternoon that I realised, as I was surrounded by the lovely scent reminiscent of Greek tzatziki and aromatic pickled onions. Yum. I wonder if I managed to sow any other clever things in my summer daze? Here’s hoping…
I’ve just signed up to appear at the fabulous Bath Market on its special Apple Day on Sunday 19th October, and am looking forward to spending the morning talking food and offering fresh veg (and books!) for sale. I can only make the morning sadly, but there are lots of exciting stands and things to do. It looks to be a great day, and I’ll also be signing my books for people who are feeling inspired to start their own market garden. Come along and say howdy from 9.30am.