Saturday 25 August 2018

Harvesting squashes and Huauzontle

I have been to the Courtmoor plot less frequently since the weather turned cooler. In the very hot dry spell I had to go at least every other day, in order to water the plants. We have recently had a little rain (nowhere near enough) and the temperatures are the best part of 10 degrees cooler, so I only need to visit about twice a week now. Unfortunately the weeds are also enjoying the current weather conditions, so I cannot afford to ignore them for too long!

On Thursday I brought home two more of the "Uchiki Kuri" squashes, to go with the one I picked the other day.

They are marginally smaller than the first one, but I believe they are still fairly typical examples of their type, which never produces huge fruit.

I had been advised to wait until the stems went "corky" before picking the squashes, and this time I assessed them as sufficiently corky to justify harvesting.

You'll notice that I have also followed advice to leave a sort of T-shape 'handle' of stem on the ripe fruits.

I'm hoping that the removal of the ripe fruit will persuade the plants to hurry up and ripen the other little ones that have recently appeared. One of the two plants has six of these little chaps:

Urgh, look at the mildew on that leaf!

I don't know if they'll make it to maturity before the cold weather of Autumn kills off the plants, but I'm fairly sure this one has left it too late...!

Another "First" for me this week was the harvest of some of the Huauzontle, aka Aztec Broccoli.

It's really not much like "normal" broccoli. I think it gets its name because you pick the flowering shoots in the same way as with Purple Sprouting Broccoli. In my opinion it has a lot of similarity with the Chenopodiae like Fat Hen and Orache.

Now I just have to find a good way of eating it... Apparently it performs much like Spinach.

Taking a good look at the other things on the plot I was pleased to note that a couple of the Red Cabbages are looking hopeful. My first batch was all but destroyed by pigeons, back in the Spring. I left them in the ground, hoping that they would re-generate, and they have. This one, for instance, looks as if it will produce something useable. At present it's about the size of a large grapefruit.

After the pigeon attack, I re-sowed and planted another batch of cabbage. This is one from that batch. It's small still, but looks pretty healthy.


  1. I must admit I thought you had been harvesting fat hen. We have new flowers on some of our squashes, like younI wonder whether they will come to anything.

  2. We leave any small squash that develop but don't fully mature, pick them as late as possible and use as 'courgettes'. They tend to have a bit more flavour than standard courgettes.

    1. That's a good idea! I don't like courgettes much- I think they lack taste and texture - so the young squash would probably appeal to me.

  3. Forgot to add that I'm a tad jealous seeing your Uchiki Kuri. One of our favourites but the slugs got the plants this year even though they were quite large! They did for the Butternut plants too, but we've got Crown Prince, Blue Banana, Hooligan and new for us Thelma Sanders (attempted to grow this last year but the seeds supplied definitely weren't TS) and Blue Hungarian (supposedly doesn't break up when add to stews, curries etc).

    1. I'm quite pleased at my first attempt - with Butternut, Crown Prince and Uchiki Kuri - so I think I'll probably try a few more (different) ones next year.


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