Issue 151    December 1st   to March 1st 2022


After the reasonably successful first year of our ‘Squash tunnel’ I will be trying again in 2022, but intend to sow a little earlier. Here’s how last year went…

In May we sowed 11 trailing squash varieties into pots: 2 x Tromboncino, 2 x Crown Prince, 2 x Honey Boat, 2 x Boston, 2 x Festival and 1 donated Spaghetti squash. In June they were planted into trenches filled with manure and the plants soon started spreading. Initially I was encouraging them up the sides of the old polytunnel frame covered in netting, but they could soon find their own way and didn’t need any support other than their own tendrils.

By mid-July all the plants were producing flowers and small fruits but the tromboncino was the clear winner and I was beginning to regret having planted two of them. I must admit that it’s not a very flavoursome variety of squash; in fact, I would call it tasteless, but they were the most entertaining as the fruits grew longer and longer with the longest tromboncino of the year measuring 134cm! It was very impressive hanging from the top of the tunnel nearly to the ground! That long squash was given to Inkpen primary school and caused great interest amongst the children and teachers.

The honeyboat and festival produced plenty of fruits and they’re stored for me to enjoy over the Winter months. They are both delicious varieties and looked good on the tunnel, though the festivals didn’t climb very well.

Unfortunately, the Boston squashes all ended up getting blossom end rot so we couldn’t eat any of them. I think the damp weather was to blame, although they can rot in that way due to poor pollination. The crown prince was less productive than I’d hoped as I would say it’s the tastiest of all the squashes I’ve ever grown. We only harvested two medium-sized fruits. I do wonder whether the tromboncino sapped the energy from some of the other plants but 18 harvested squashes is enough for me  (and that doesn’t include the pumpkins which weren’t included in the tunnel!)

So, in 2022 there will be no tromboncino but there will be honeyboat and crown prince plus 2 or 3 other trailing varieties but first I need to prepare the plot. I would certainly encourage other people to grow squashes vertically to save ground-space and provide a talking point!

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