Real Men Sow

Why Me and My Wallet Love Squashes

squash (4)A couple of weeks ago, I read that Alys Fowler wanted a polytunnel. Trouble was, it was going to cost £350, and Alys’s hubby was not impressed. So Alys wrote a piece telling him just how she was going to save money.

Now, I’m not going to start telling someone like Alys what to do, but I reckon she should fill her allotment with squashes.

Okay, that sounded like I was telling her what to do. I’m not, honest.

I have just sown my squash seeds for 2011, in pots in the greenhouses. This seems strange, because I still have 9.6kg of the things in store.

I can’t sing the praises of squash enough. It is a truly incredible veg for so many different reasons. As I’m on a money saving project this year, I’ll start with that.

A Massive Money Saver
So far in 2011, I’ve used nearly 12kg of squash. At £1.67 a kilo, that equates to a whopping £19.68. And these attractive fruits keep for yonks. The six remaining squashes from last year’s harvest are showing no signs of deterioration. That sixteen quids worth of food will be incredibly welcome during the hungry gap, especially when one squash normally contributes to at least two meals.

That sort of cash might even buy Alys a polytunnel door or something.

Another smashing squash attribute is its versatility. I’m not sure there is anything culinary you can’t do with it. Since I’ve been growing squash, I’ve used it in lasagne, salad, curry, soup, risotto, pasta, falafels and on pizza. I’ve stuffed ‘em, and even made muffins.

I’ve also found squash a super and longer lasting alternative to the spud, making wedges and mash, as well as roasting it.

The old ones make nice little edible houses for mice, too.

They look so pretty as well. I tend to grow crown prince and simple butternut jobbies, but the flowers, the vines and the fruits make really eye-catching features on my allotment.

Easy to Grow
The icing on the cake is the ease in which I’ve grown them. I pop a seed in a small pot of multi-purpose compost in mum’s greenhouse, and plant out in May once the plant is about 15cm high.

One tip I’d recommend is to put a stick in next to the plant. They sprawl all over the shop, so it is really useful to know where the roots are when watering. They need a lot of water, and I tend to put them in a little hollow so the liquid stays in around the plant, where it’s needed most.

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  1. Yolanda ElizabetApril 14, 2011 at 9:25 pmReply

    What, no pumpkin pie? Are you mad? LOL I’ve sown my seeds last month and my squashes are growing like mad. Soon I’ll put them in my 3 sisters bed that I’ve prepared earlier. Love squashes, couldn’t garden without them!

  2. RonnieApril 14, 2011 at 9:26 pmReply

    I am really impressed Jono that anyone can write an interesting peice about squash, or is it squashes for more than one, or perhaps squish?! Well done R

  3. AnnapetApril 14, 2011 at 11:28 pmReply

    Thank you for writing this post! I love squash, too, and I have recently just started seeds. I grow “extra” plants each season just so I have plenty of squash blossoms to cook as well.

  4. Julia@PolkaDotGaloshesApril 15, 2011 at 6:15 amReply

    Omg, “Yonks” I have not heard that word in such a longtime…I just got home sick! Anyway, what beautiful looking squash you have there and wow what a saving. You are making it sound like a must have for the new veg bed. Oh how I love roast pumpkin soup…yummo!

  5. louisa @ TheReallyGoodLifeApril 15, 2011 at 1:10 pmReply

    Oh I heart squash too. I had some issues with winter ones last year so put a lot of effort in for little reward but I’m determined to do better this year.

    Will definitely use the “stick marks the spot” approach this year though – thanks for that idea :)

  6. Janet/PlantalisciousApril 15, 2011 at 2:25 pmReply

    I’ve just sown mine – 4 varieties, several of each, no idea where I am going to cram them in, but I love them. Three sisters will help, I hope, but I can’t get enough of them. Am off to check out your squash falafel recipe… I’m going to bury a squash bottle, top off upside down, next to each when I plant to make watering easier. Same with the courgettes.

  7. The Sage ButterflyApril 15, 2011 at 9:59 pmReply

    I like squash, too. And I grow it despite the squash bug problem. I get a few harvests before they take over. How do you control squash bugs?

  8. Alan @ it's not work it's gardeningApril 16, 2011 at 12:37 pmReply

    In my small veg plot I have to make a choice: squash, or anything else. They grow so big!

    Actually, I’ve grown cantaloupes on a sturdy trellis before, so why not squash? Has anybody here done this?

  9. Jono

    JonoApril 16, 2011 at 1:33 pmReplyAuthor

    Thanks for the comments everyone. I probably should make pumpkin pie, given that my significant other is half American.

    Sage Butterfly – I’m lucky in that I’ve never had any problems with squash bugs. Plenty of other pests, but not squash ones.

    Alan – haha, we’ve gone full circle! You’ll have to explain to me what a cantaloupe is. Is it like a melon? If so, without a greenhouse, I haven’t a hope in hell of growing them.

    I’ve often thought about growing squash up a wall. I think it would look stunning, especially if you grew some of the more decorative varieties.

  10. Sara HammondApril 17, 2011 at 3:39 pmReply

    I have been mixing carrot seed with sand and scatter gardening instead of rows which I am loath to thin, killing babies as I go. The sand also helps with the crusting, but so does the compost or at least peat moss cover. Now, we all need to eat up our winter squashes! Spicy squash soup anyone?

  11. MudApril 18, 2011 at 1:19 pmReply

    Squashes look good after they’re harvested too! Some people buy ornamental gourds to decorate their houses with in the fall, but squash growers can eat their squah-y decorations after the harvest.

  12. CroilaApril 30, 2011 at 9:20 amReply

    I’ve never grown squash or even EATEN it! What is most akin to in taste?

    • Jono

      JonoMay 1, 2011 at 1:10 pmReplyAuthor

      Hi Croila,

      Hmm. That’s a good question. I’d say they’re most like a sweet potato, but not quite as sweet. I’d thoroughly recommend them!

  13. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » Mum’s Super Squash Planting MethodJune 2, 2011 at 9:42 pmReply

    [...] One crop I’ve always had great success with is squash. I grow lots of them, for many different reasons. They’re delicious, expensive in the shops, look great, and store for ages. If I could only grow one thing, my head might well tell me to choose squashes. [...]

  14. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » The Real Men Sow Top 9 Money Saving Veg of 2011January 11, 2012 at 8:19 pmReply

    [...] Squash Just pipped in to fourth place was my squash crop. This was my heaviest harvest at just under 25kg, and saved me £41.29. Squashes are great fun to grow, delicious, attractive, versatile and store for ages – in fact I waxed lyrical about them back in April. [...]

  15. High Summer: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. Part 2: Bad | Real Men SowAugust 16, 2018 at 6:00 amReply

    [...] fact, squashes are one of my most blogged about subjects. From why me and my wallet love a squash, to how to plant them, 5 great varieties to try and my 5 favourite recipes, I seem to very much [...]

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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Saving £500 a year!

During 2011, I kept a diary of how much money I save from growing my own fruit and vegetables. After totalling all my outgoings, I saved approximately £500 over the year. I made a spreadsheet to calculate these savings - it’s nothing too complicated, as I’m no Excel guru, but hopefully someone else will find it as useful (and strangely fun) as me. For more info, visit my Money Saving Experiment page by clicking here.


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