August 29, 2010 at 3:29 pm (Container gardening, Gardening, Squash)
My trial at growing butternut squash was a bust; I pulled all the plants today. The two I planted in pots and kept on my deck stayed small and anemic-looking all summer no matter the fertilizer, fresh soil or nails stuck into the dirt (for iron). The two I planted near my potatoes and peas by the retaining wall grew larger and were a darker green, but really didn’t do anything at until mid-July. Even when they started blooming at the end of July, they never set any fruit.
The mystery squash that popped up with the zucchini in my raised bed grew much better; it vined out into the yard and had some flowers and fruit. Mystery solved — it was a buttercup. However, the fruit was no larger that a shooter marble, so I decided to pull it up so that it stopped stealing moisture and nutrients from the zucchini plants.
I’ll try something new next year, maybe more potatoes or Jerusalem artichokes.
August 12, 2010 at 9:26 am (Compost, Container gardening, Gardening, Potatoes, Squash)
This mystery winter squash came up with my zucchini
I know, I know — duh. But what is it? It was supposed to be zucchini; that’s what I planted. So how this rogue winter squash sprouted there, I’m not quite sure. Since it just began blooming, chances are I won’t harvest any actual squash from it, but I have left it there in hopes that it will at least set a couple babies so I can see what they are. Butternut? Acorn? Who knows.
The other reason I have let it grow is that I can pick flowers for frying since there isn’t enough time to grow the fruit to maturity. Fried squash blossoms are delicious seasonal treat. I’ll post recipes soon.
My squash in the pot isn’t doing well; it’s very small, rather anemic, and lacks blossoms. You win some, you lose some. The other
Squash and potatoes grow out of my compost bin
surprise was the squash that sprouted in my compost bin. It looks identical to the one in the raised bed and seems to thrive amongst the coffee grounds and kitchen scraps. Potatoes also sprouted — that was a first! So I’ve stopped turning the compost for the time being in order to allow the vegetables to grow undisturbed; they don’t seem to be bothered by fresh scraps from the kitchen every couple days.
You never know what you can (or can’t) grow until you try. When nature takes its own course, just go with it, it may be a nice surprise. Or at least a potato.
October 26, 2009 at 6:29 am (Soup, Squash)
The arrival of cold weather signals the beginning of soup season; there’s just something about a bowl of hot soup that warms the soul as well as the body. Luckily, you can make soup from about anything, including leftovers, but one of my new favorites is butternut squash soup.
Yesterday I hit the Black Hills Farmers Market and loaded up on squash; today I made a pot of soup using an adaptation of Molly Wizenberg’s recipe from her book A Homemade Life. She adds two chopped pears to her soup, but I skipped them since I didn’t have any on hand.
Butternut Squash Soup
3 Tbsp olive oil
One 2-pound butternut squash (peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks)
1 medium yellow onion (peeled and coarsely chopped)
1 cup apple cider or juice
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
½ tsp salt
½ cup half-and-half or cream
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the squash and onion, stir to coat with oil. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add the cider and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the broth, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the mixture, partially covered, for about 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
Using a blender or food processor, and working in small batches, puree the soup until very smooth. An immersion blender also works very well and doesn’t require removing the soup from the pot. Return the soup to the pot and add the salt. Continue to cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat, until the soup has reduced to about one-half of its original volume. Stir occasionally. The final consistency is up to you, when it reaches a thickness that seems right, it’s ready. Add the half-and-half to the soup; allow the soup to warm up again if the half-and-half was cold. Serves 4 to 5.
October 12, 2009 at 12:18 am (Gardening, Pumpkins, Squash)
My parents grew a healthy crop of pumpkins and squash this year, harvesting them just before this Arctic cold front hit. The pumpkins are of various sizes and will make lovely soups and Thanksgiving pies. They also grew several varieties of squash; the large orangey-green ones are a heritage breed. Alas, the butternut squash seeds I planted there produced nary a fruit.
A bumper crop of pumpkins and winter squash
Heritage and Table King squash varieties