Sunday, October 16

Not for Halloween

Once we are in October the chances are that a frost could descend on us at anytime and so I decided that I’d better gather in the squash fruits.

Even discounting the possibility of squash being ruined by frost, October is a dangerous time for any squash or pumpkin fruits growing on allotments. Many fall victim to those who think pumpkins growing on someone’s plot is fair game. Many will end their days as footballs or have been ‘acquired’ for Halloween, carved and hollowed out. 

We grew two varieties of squash this year. We’ve grown Crown Prince for a few years and have always been pleased with our crop so that tends to be a staple. To this we  added Autumn Crown which is a new variety bred especially for growing in the UK. It’s supposed to be a cross between Crown Prince and a butternut squash and is described as having a melony taste - we can’t confirm this as we haven’t tasted one yet.

This year conditions have been far drier than squash like and even our Crown Prince vines have produced smaller fruits than normal. Some vines have not produced a fruit at all and others have only managed a single squash.

The Autumn Crown fruits are much smaller than we expected - the name meant we expected something similar to Crown Prince. I’m not sure whether the smaller size is due to lack of rain or that this variety is naturally smaller.

The vines that have produced the largest fruit were either growing under our sweet pea frame where the ground didn’t dry out as quickly. I supposed it was a sort of ‘two sisters’ set-up!

I always cut the squash leaving them attached to a section of vine which not only acts as a sort of handle for carrying the fruit about but it is also supposed to make them less likely of rotting.
Anyway all our squash are now safely gathered in and being stored in our garden greenhouse where they will hopefully manage to survive Halloween - that is unless one ends up in the pot!


  1. Well, Sue, even if your harvest is smaller than usual, that is still a useful quantity of pumpkins! The Crown Prince is certainly a very imposing veg. I wish I had more space, so that I could grow some for myself. I did grow Butternut Squash a couple of times, before they were easily available in the shops, but now that they are cheap I don't consider them to represent good "VSR". Even the bushier types do take quite a bit of space.

  2. The blue ones would certainly make interesting jack'o'lanterns!!

    What do you do with your squash??

  3. Very wise to harvest now. I had to scrape the ice of my windscreen yesterday morning. It has been a bad year for pumpkins and squash.

  4. I love your pumpkins - I have just used the last of my autumn fruits and am about to plant the new vines - perhaps I should be growing Crown Prince though - they look to have done really well.

  5. The Crown Prince are just smaller than usual, Mark - although that isn't necessarily a bad thing. We did have quite a few vines scrambling about. You could try training a vines upwards giving the fruit extra support. That way it would take less space.

    They would wouldn't they Tanya. Generally they would be the ones used as footballs.

    We haven't had any ice yet, Matron but it's only a matter of time and it can descend suddenly taking us unawares.

    Crown Prince is a good choice Liz

  6. Hi Sue, I'm intrigued by the color of your crown prince. It's beautiful. I suspect they are tasty too as you've grown them the past few years :) We have continued to have very mild weather. I suspect when a frost does finally arrive, it will be quite the shock. Cheers, Jenni

  7. I'm hoping to grown squash next year, I love the taste. The blue looking ones look a bit strange as I've never seen that type before. Will you be roasting squash? Yum!

  8. Wow. I think they look great! I have only grown winter squash here once (on purpose anyway). They were seed I bought on eBay and they were just called Ukrainian squash. They grew great, I ran the vines anywhere I could and got several wonderful large squash from them.

  9. They are tasty Jenni. I've never thought the colour to be strange until you and Kelli have mentioned it. It has an orange flesh. NO frost here yet but I guess it will arrive any time soon.

    We roast some squash Kelli, we also use it in casseroles, curries, soup etc.

    Our vines snake all over Becky - I have seen then trained to grow in a sort of spiral using short canes too

  10. Hi Sue,I have just left a post on my blog about my butternut squash,I grow them in raised beds and grow them up a trellis which hubby kindly moves around as we rotate crops.I love the colours of your squash,am trinug to convince hubby if we had half an allotment as well we could grow lots more but think i am fighting a loosing battle!

  11. That's a great amount, how long will that lot last you? I've only attempted squash once and I didn't get one fruit, I think I'll have another go next year. I managed two pumpkins this year from one plant. How many plants did your haul come from?

  12. Sue,I have put them in pots and set them in a rill which was about 2 feet deep and they grew like i dont know what.You need to make sure they have about 6inches of water over the rim of the pot.The main problem we had was as it grew so big the wind would blow it over.If you can plant it into soil it would be very happy.

  13. I'm hoping to try some onion squash next year. They're our favourite flavour and a bit smaller in size. I'm hoping to grow them up a wigwam so they take up less space. Love the photos they all look so beautiful.

  14. I'll pop over and have a read Flowerlady

    We had something like 7 Crown Prince and 5 Autumn Crown Jo. If you tried growing butternut squash than can be tricky in our climate. Not sure how long they will last!

    Our plot neighbour has grow onion squash in the past, wellywoman and we have had a sample.

  15. Not a bad crop for such a dry year Sue! I mostly grew smaller squash, and they did reasonably well, but another time I'd like to make room for some of the larger types, they are so dramatic. Mind you, the small ones make a great lunch, just sliced in half, dab of butter, little garlic, few minutes in the microwave, yum...

  16. Great squash Sue, Crown Prince is definitely on my list for next year.

  17. That's handful of harevst! I never have luck with pumpkins!

  18. It actually says that Autumn Crown has a melony taste and can be eaten raw, Janet but I have to be convinced!

    I don't think you'll be disappointed Damo

    They do like lots of water Malar - although they haven't had much this year.

  19. Hi Sue I just found your site when I trying to search to buy crown prince,but this is september 2012 so not sure you have any this year. This year if you do harvest would you sale?and how much per kilogram you would sale? Because I would love to buy about 10 crown prince.
    I live in west yorkshire normanton I can pick up if not too far from here.

    Thank you,

    1. Hi, Sorry but our squash failed completely this year (2012) - the seeds didn't even germinate. I think many people have had the same problem which may be why you haven't managed to source any. WE would never really have enough to be able to let you have 10 anyway as we grow for personal use.

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