|Immature Buttercup, September 2013|
The Buttercup was prolific, and although rather ugly and warty, tasted great. The flavor is very similar to sweet potatoes. We peeled off the worst of the warts, cut them in half, removed the seeds and placed them face down in a shallow baking dish with a small amount of water, covered with foil and baked. They were so good, we didn't even add butter. Another plus for the Buttercup, is that they are great keepers.
|Immature Cushaw, September 2013|
The Cushaw squash produced very well, also. The flavor wasn't as sweet, but they were huge. We were surprised. The volume of edible squash is very large. This squash freezes well either in chunks or boiled and mashed into a puree type consistency. One of our goals is to can some of this squash, but we haven't achieved that goal yet.
Both the Buttercup and the Cushaw make great squash pie which we enjoy every winter.
The last two years I have planted our winter squash in late July or early August. I figured it was still hot enough for squash to grow, but closer to fall, which is when I thought a winter squash should be grown, like pumpkins. It hasn't worked out well at all. Both last year and this year the plants have suffered from powdery mildew, had the flowers affected somewhat by potato beetles, still had to contend with some squash bugs and just overall haven't thrived. This year we will be lucky to get 3 decent Cushaws. We only planted one variety this year because we wanted to save the seeds. It was difficult not to plant the Buttercup because we really like them, too.
|The last Cushaw on the vine for this year. We hope it gets bigger.|
Next year I will plant the winter squashes when I plant the yellow squash. In May. There may be locations where the winter squashes do better later in the season, but it just doesn't seem to be the case here. We really were hopeful about this crop. Our goal was to be able to store at least 20 large Cushaw. They are very nutritious and so are the seeds, which is an added bonus. Squash seeds also make good animal feed for chickens and goats.
|Our Cushaw harvest. All 2 of them.|
We are glad we have had time to learn the most effective growing patterns for the vegetables we like. The knowledge that some crops grow and produce better than others in our location is valuable information. There are always things that come up that compete with the time and effort needed to grow and preserve food. This year has definitely been one of the less productive years for us. But, in the midst of the gardening and preserving disruptions, we have still learned a lot of very valuable lessons. For that, we are thankful.
Until next time - Fern