Tuesday, September 12, 2006

We have had varying success with our vegetable garden. We didn’t move in to our property until late April and found ourselves trying to create vegetable patches out of an overgrown flower garden next to the house. Despite the adverse soil conditions we armed ourselves with a box full of organic seeds and our new garden tools and did our best. One vegetable that we both love is butternut squash and we had saved seed from one we’d bought in a French supermarket and eaten months before. Lots of little seedlings popped up the tray and we planted the two strongest looking ones in patch of soil at the back of the garden.

In her book Grow Your Own Vegetables, Joy Larkcom recommends pinning butternut squash in a circle as it grows, marking the centre point with a cane for watering. We’ll be trying that next year, as ours had started to grow like a triffid before I got to that part of the book! It grew and grew and started to scramble out over the fence, down a slope and up the apple tree next to it. Flowers were appearing every day but after weeks of vigorous growth and continuous flowering we had no fruit to show. It seemed that all of the flowers were male and were not swelling.

Was our supermarket squash a sterile mutant, perhaps even GM? We kicked ourselves for not adding it to our original shopping list of organic seeds. We had all but given up on it when, weeks later whilst I was checking on the chickens, I saw a huge fruit hanging in the brambles, hiding under the equally huge leaves. I was so excited; I nearly called Stuart on his mobile! but managed to hold back my excitement until he came home when it was the first thing I told him. Tonight we are having an old favourite, butternut squash curry, with the first of our very own. As I said not everything has worked in our vegetable garden this year but this is one meal that we will remember.