Tromboncino and Nemo
I love growing squashes. They're big, bold, bullies of plants, they have beautiful yellow flowers that attract the bees, they're easy to grow, the squash fruits are delicious and store for months, and above all, they feed a lot of people well for very little money!
The orangey coloured one is a Tromboncino, which was a first for me this year. They grow up to a metre long in a variety of twisty turny, sometimes hilarious shapes! Fresh off their vines they are limey green and taste a little like a courgette but with more flavour and a slightly tougher skin. Most of our harvest was cooked simply - fried in a little olive oil and garlic, with celery leaves and pepper, and then with a glass of water and a spoonful of veggie stock powder added to make a sauce. Dead quick, dead easy. This particular one was cured in a sunny greenhouse to toughen its skin and has now sat happily for three months on our kitchen table. I'll use it when we're desperate to remember the warmth and bounty of summer.
The other squash is a mystery. I don't know what variety it is but it found its way to my office chair yesterday, kindly donated by a colleague. He'd grown it from seeds I'd passed on, which in turn had been given to me by my old friend Alex. Alex died a couple of years ago. He was a wonderful eccentric, always rushing around, always busy, slightly obsessed with secateurs, and very missed. The prospect of salvaging the seeds from inside Nemo to grow next year has brought me cheer, more than the squash itself maybe! And reminded me what a gift seeds are. Saving seeds continues the legacy of generations of gardeners before us and allows us, rightly, control of our own food production. In such uncertain, challenging and so often sad times, it gives us, humble growers, power and control, and that provides security and happiness. Sharing saved seeds builds communities and networks, funny little bartering conversations between friends and recollections of long hot summers tending to plants over steaming cups of tea.
Seed saving is not hard. There are few who haven't, as children, grown apple pips or plum stones. There are plenty of instructions on the web and a quick search will reveal all. Try it next season. Sharing seeds is easier still. Get your seed box out and see what you can spare (ALL gardeners have more seed than they could ever feasibly use!) and offer it to friends and family. Maybe even a well thought out Christmas present. The gift of a full belly next year; what could be better?!
Happy ending huh?
Treading Lightly is simple living, within your means and the means of the planet, and making a minimal impact on the Earth. Find out more here about Catherine, of Barefoot Solutions, does this from day to day.