Monday, 25 August 2014

The Utvum

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The Utvum

Here's the true story of my Austrian friend,

Who rescued an utvum from a sure sticky end.

She heard him crying, when she entered the store.

And now he lay dying between the glass doors.

Busy shoppers walked past him, cold and uncaring.

So she had to help him, but people were staring.

"Don't squash him!" she cried, then she grabbed a man's arm,

As she desperately tried to save utvum from harm.

As she knelt down to peel him from the man's shoe,

The guards took a dim view of her daring rescue.

Then this kind defender of the weak and the small,

Was seized, and then roughly thrown out of the mall.

Old and unwashed, in second hand clothes,

She lay on the wet ground and swore at her foes:

"Every bad deed has a debt due to pay,

And you will be born as an utvum one day!"

© Martha Magenta 2014

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Growing Squash on a Garden Arch

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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:

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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:

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It is helpful to weave jute string across the spaces:

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

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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 : )

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