Thursday, 7 August 2014

Growing Squash on a Garden Arch

 photo abf7265e-8a61-4e21-b6ce-d33ea119ae39.jpg

I chose two varieties of winter squash that are easy to grow, early fruiting, with good flavour: Anna Swartz Hubbard - long keeping, and Burgess Buttercup - best flavoured. Both are heirloom seeds, i.e. non-genetically modified, and available online from heirloom seed sellers. The fruits will produce viable seeds to sow the following year.

I started the seeds in small pots in my sunny bay window in May, moving them to larger pots. I transfered them to this small greenhouse in June:

 photo July14007.jpg

By July they had grown so vigorously they began to obstruct the path so I put up an arch to support them. It cost only £6 online, and has done a good job:

 photo July14008.jpg

It is helpful to weave jute string across the spaces:

 photo July14038.jpg

My squash arch is a major attraction for local bees. In this flower, there are four bees all feasting together:

 photo July14035.jpg

This method is ideal for small garden spaces, including balconies and patios. Where containers are used, make sure the containers are large. You can grow squash around windows, fences, or trailing along balcony railings. There are smaller varieties of winter squash more suitable for balconies, such as Rolet or Munchkin. You are not limited to winter squash. Try summer squash, or runner beans. Other space saving ideas include wigwams, trellises, netting, or spirals.

When harvesting winter squash, leave a two inch length of stem, where possible, as this lengthens the keeping time. I am pleased with the first fruits : )

 photo july3014.jpg