Friday, January 11

Fruit for the plot.

In this post I'm covering our choice of fruit seeds for growing next year on the plot. I'm using the botanical meaning of fruit and so this group of plants are anything where we eat the seed pod of the plant. To defy my own criteria I'm not including peas and beans. In fact most of this fruit in this list belong to the curcurbit family.

The first choice is the exception. It was really time to replenish our alpine strawberry stock last year. We have lots of worn out plants that need replacing. We had intended to grow more plants last year but the seeds didn't thrive in the horrible conditions and so this year is take two.
To get a reasonable harvest of alpine strawberries you do need lots of plants so we use them as border plants on various fruit beds on the plot. Usually they are fairly easily grown from seed - last year was the exception. I think that could have been down to the weather and the fact that we tended not to spend as much time in the greenhouse keeping an eye on things. The variety chosen to sow this year is Alexandria from Kings. As it doesn't produce runners it is more suited to growing as an edging plant.

Now for the curcurbits. The choice of cucumber took no thinking about. Last year we had a great crop despite the conditions and so will grow Burpless Tasty Green again. It's not fancy but it a reliable variety. We have also learned that it thrives on lots of moisture.
We've chosen three varieties of courgette from Kings. Zucchini (a green variety), Jemmer (yellow) and Tondo Chiaro di Nizza (a round fruited variety). We sowed a free  packet of round courgette seeds last year, and found them to be great for stuffing and so we decided that we must have a round variety this year too.
Last year we had a winter squash famine - the seeds just refused to germinated which was a pity as we had developed a taste for pumpkin pie! Crown Prince has usually done well for us and so we will be sticking with this and adding another three varieties. Two varieties are through choice, firstly  a spaghetti squash called Stripeti from Plants of Distinction and secondly, also from Plants of Distinction, we have chosen Futsu Black which isn't black at all. This one is supposed to have an hazelnut flavour. Another variety was one of those magazine freebies which we can't resist trying. It's Sweet Dumpling from Mr Fothergills. (We've lots of free seeds form this company as magazines seem to like then but - sorry Mr Fothergill - we have never actually ordered from them. Sweet Dumpling is supposed to produce fruits of a suitable size for individual servings. It could be a candidate for stuffing once the courgettes are finished.

The photo below is from 2011 - the last squash harvest.
Now a conundrum what IS the difference between a squash and a pumpkin? Can ANYONE explain it clearly or are they the same thing?



Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett

14 comments:

  1. I'm growing a variety of round courgette for the first time this year. I do stuff the long courgettes, but hadn't thought about the round ones being easier for this. What do you use for the stuffing? No idea what the difference is between a squash and a pumpkin. It's all to do with the sub categories of the cucurbita family, according to a website I was reading, but even then it's very confusing. It all depends where you live too, as some countries call all kinds of squash, pumpkins.

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    1. It's just easier to create a cavity in the round ones, Jo. I have written a recipe and variations of what we stuffed ours with on this page of my website.

      I tried looking up the difference between squash and pumpkin on the Internet too and got different answers from each page I viewed.

      By the way I tried the nursery at G Preston on Wednesday and it was shut. Apparently they were closed for the Christmas break and open again on Monday so we'll have to try again another time.

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    2. Thanks for that, Sue. I knew you'd have a recipe somewhere. I thought it looked a bit like tuna in your photo, but I also stuff mine with mince, a similar recipe to your's. Thanks for letting me know about the nursery, I might have had a trip there tomorrow if I have time, but I won't bother now.

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    3. Ahhh, I see this is the ham and mushroom variation. Doh, I'm slow on the uptake today.

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    4. Woodend Nurseries as it is called has a Facebook Page, Jo

      You can put just about anything in the courgette as a stuffing - it's down to what you enjoy eating

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    5. I'm not on Facebook, so it won't let me on to the page unless I sign up, which I'm reluctant to do as I waste so much time on the computer as it is.

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  2. The Alpine Strawberry plants which I grew from seed look dead. Do they die down completely and then re-appear in the Spring, or have I lost them irretrievably?

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    1. Ours don't die down in winter, Mark but lots of leaves dry up as they do for ordinary strawberries, leaving the plant looking shabby. Then a new crop of fresh leaves grow in spring. I can't say for certain whether yours are lost forever or not - I'm guessing that they are still in the open so haven't dried out. If I were you I'd set some more seeds as an insurance policy. After all the worst that could happen is you will end up with some more plants and you can;t really have too many!

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  3. Your strawberries look really enticing. I occasionally eat a wild alpine strawberry, they are delicious bur so small....
    I will follow your lead and sow some seed of a named strain, I suspect they are a little larger. Never the less I admire your patience picking all those in your basket

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    1. They're not all that larger, Roger. The size does vary quite a lot though. You certainly need lots of plants to produce a worthwhile picking.

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  4. A good explanation of the difference between the pumpkin, squash and gourd is explained here:

    http://voices.yahoo.com/the-difference-between-pumpkins-gourds-squash-6691116.html?cat=22

    It's really interesting

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  5. Alpine strawberry seeds duly added to my list. I love crown prince squash too, but think I will opt for a smaller trailing type to train up supports this year.

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    Replies
    1. Crown Prince does require a lot of space, Janet. Make sure you get alpines that don't produce runners if you don't want ground cover plants.

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