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 the store.
I can’t sing the praises of squash enough. It is 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 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.
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 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.