Country Traditions

October 30, 2010

How to grow squash – Telegraph

Filed under: farming, gardening, recipes, weather — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 8:31 pm
Spaghetti squash cleaned

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How to grow squash – Telegraph.

via How to grow squash – Telegraph.

There are four others the Longlys grow every year and have stood the test of time: ‘Celebration’, ‘Yellow Patty Pan’, ‘Little Gem Rolet’ and the spaghetti squash.

‘Celebration’ is pretty, a mix of green, cream and orange; it’s a fantastic cropper and stores better than any other variety they’ve grown, but the flesh is pale.

The colour of squash flesh seems to correspond overall with the flavour – the deeper the colour, the richer the taste.

‘Yellow Patty Pan’, ‘Little Gem Rolet’ and the spaghetti squash are summer and autumn producers. Like courgettes, you can crop these lightly over months, starting to pick in August, and the more you harvest, the more the plants produce. That’s handy for any vegetable grower and I’ve added these to my sowing list next year.

‘Little Gem Rolet’ is a very heavy cropper and easy to cook well. Just roast it or boil it whole until it’s soft to the tip of a knife (about 40 minutes at 175C/350F/gas 4, or 30 at a gentle rolling boil), slice off the top and eat with a spoon, seasoned with salt and pepper, like a boiled egg.

I also love these stuffed with pork mince and pine nuts flavoured with chilli, rosemary and sesame oil. The Patty Pans are similar – lovely in stir-fries when small in summer and excellent for soups and mash in autumn.

Spaghetti squash is better not thought of as a squash at all. Its texture and flavour is much gentler and softer, but still delicious.

Boil for 30 minutes, slice in half and remove the seeds and douse liberally with fruity olive oil or butter, salt and pepper and mix this in the flesh.

I thought I would find these too watery and boring, but they’re perfect – served on their own – for a simple midweek supper.

Tough love

The final piece of advice from the Longlys – sow your squash in the usual way, the seed pushed in vertically, direct into the soil, or in a pot to grow on a bit before planting outside into very organic-rich soil.

Then – the absolute key to a good harvest – pinch out the growing tips of all the plant shoots in mid-August and keep doing so.

This stops plants putting on triffid-like, leafy growth and forces them to conserve energy for flower and fruit production.

Without pinching out, the quick growers often just drop their flowers in favour of shooting out like a giant squid. Keep them contained and you’ll have many more fruit to harvest.


Roast pumpkin seeds

These are good to serve with a glass of wine and less fattening than crisps or peanuts.

2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Good pinch of flaky salt

½ tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3.

Put the pumpkin seeds in a roasting tin, add a drizzle of olive oil, a splash of water, a pinch of flaky salt and the cayenne.

Toss together and roast for 5-10 minutes. As the water evaporates, it crunches up the seeds and leaves them coated in oil, cayenne and salt.



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