It’s Roasting

Over twenty-five degrees yesterday in the greenhouse and a morning spent looking through seed packets making plans for sowing next month.

Butternut squash were not a good crop for us last year. They stayed too long in the green house due to a cold early June and when were forced to plant them out to make way for other seedlings they spent the next month flopping around on the ground and generally sulking.

In August the foliage became so spectacular that it stretched t o the furthest corners of the front bed up through the apple trees and round the gooseberry bushes.

It looked great but we didn’t get even one squash.

For those that had more success here is a small assembly based on a fabulous Ottolenghi recipe.

Ingredients

1 Butternut Squash

Olive Oil

1tbsp Sunflower Seeds

15tbsp Pumpkin Seeds

Maldon Salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 220˚C or Gas Mark 7.

Peel the squash and cut it in half lengthways. Scoop out the seeds and cut into 2cm chunks.

Coat lightly in the olive oil and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes. The squash should be soft and the edges slightly charred. Leave to cool and place on a serving dish.

At the same time toast the seeds in the oven for 5 minutes.

Scatter the squash with the seeds, some Maldon salt and a little bit more olive oil.

It would also be nice with a little fresh chilli finely chopped or some fresh parsley or coriander and is best served at room temperature.

Seed Potatoes

Potatoes are a staple for most plot holders. I had stayed away from them in the first year because we were focusing on creating the raised beds and I didn’t think there would be room, then, having seen too many tubers eaten by slugs or damaged whilst being dug up I convinced my self that they were not an option. I am however particularly keen on salad varieties and seeing some seed potatoes at Ayletts shortly after watching a program about growing them in bags I thought it was worth trying. I read all the information I could find, did lots of things wrong in terms of storing them and chitting but was still pleased with the crop.

Planted at the end of March we had our first potatoes in June.

These are Pink Fir Apple, the colour of the skin is beautiful, it almost sparkles.

The main advantages of growing them in the bags, we used Burgon and Ball, were that we could leave them there until we wanted to use them, they didn’t get damaged in anyway and that because they were grown in compost they were very easy to clean. It is also an ideal method if you want to grow potatoes and have a limited space.

Three bags with eight potatoes to the bag kept two of us supplied through the summer.

So being far more careful this season (let’s face it why spend all that time and money and take the risk) I am going with Pink Fir Apple and Ratte.

 

What A Difference

Well this was the plot on Wednesday and this is how it looked earlier today.

Our site warden say he likes the snow; everyone’s plot looks well tended.  I’m not so sure about that but it does add an air of Narnia to all it touches.

The robins were very pleased to see us, normally shy, they arrived as soon as I stepped away from the feeder.