When I took my allotment 6 years ago, very few plots gave space to squashes, but recently I’ve seen more and more people trying these brilliant vegetables.
Squashes have always been one of my favourite things to grow so I can absolutely see why. Not only are they tasty, but they’re also attractive, interesting to grow, expensive in the shops, and incredibly flexible in the kitchen.
If you’ve never grown squashes before, and fancy trying a few in 2014, here’s 5 varieties I’ve enjoyed growing, and an exciting squash I’m trying for the first time.
Butternut (the all yellow ones in the photo)
This the most commonly grown squash, and a great place to start.
These are the type of squash you’re likely to find in the local supermarket, but at around a quid a pop for a small-average sized squash, you’d be well rewarded by growing your own.
I’ve used butternuts in a wide range of recipes, including curries, risottos, pies, soups, and even cake. They’re also brill mashed, roasted, or chipped.
Sweet Dumpling (the little ones in the photo)
These mini squashes are the perfect size for cooking whole and stuffing. They store into winter but can be harvested and eaten as early as July.
The skin is a pale whitey-yellow, but the striking green stripes really make these squashes stand out on your plot.
The fruits grow fast in the warm weather, so keep an eye on them!
Crown Prince (the bluey ones in the photo)
For me, Crown Prince is the king of the storers. I’ve grown Crown Prince which has kept until the following summer, simply by keeping the harvest in my dining room.
An average fruit will easily grow to weigh 2-3kg, and the blue skin gives a beautiful contrast to the lurid orange flesh, which is nuttier in flavour than other squashes.
Patty Pan Scallop
I’ve never had as many questions from neighbouring plotholders about a crop as I did when I grew Patty Pans. Their distinctive shape reminds me of flying saucers.
Patty Pans can be eaten either as baby squash or when they reach their mature size of roughly 6-8 inches across.
Thompson and Morgan offer a mixed variety, which produces white, green, and yellow squashes from the same plants.
The teardrop-shaped Golden Hubbard is a heritage variety, and another with a sweet flavour. The skin is a deep orange, but once sliced open the squash reveals a golden yellow flesh.
As the Crown Prince, the average weight is good and the fruits are great indoor storers.
I’m trying Turk’s Turban for the first time this year, and if you’re on the lookout for a head-turner, then this could be just the job.
The fruits look more ornamental than edible, but I’m told the flesh has a lovely, sweet flavour, as well as being an excellent storer.
And they just look awesome.