Wednesday, 4 August 2010
Do you remember I told you how I harvested the seeds from a butternut squash that I had bought? I sowed the seed in the greenhouse, and planted the young plants outside when the danger of frost was past, and they'd been hardened off for a few days by sitting them out in the garden during the day, then putting them back in the shelter of the greenhouse overnight.
I planted a couple directly into the soil, and some into old chimney pots. Those in the soil have developed far more quickly and look much stronger than those with a restricted root run at this stage.
You can imagine my excitement this week to spot bright yellow flowers amongst the large, hairy leaves. The flowers are similar in colour and texture to those of a marrow or courgette, but the flower buds are more rounded, and the flowers are squatter, less elongated than the courgette's. Whilst stuffed courgette flowers are common enough, I doubt it would be worth stuffing a butternut squash flower, unless it was to make canapes, I suppose!
So far, all the flowers are male. You can tell as they all have long stems before the flower, whereas female flowers have a small swelling behind the flower bud, which will swell into the fruit, if fertilized. It's strange, but there always seems to be a flush of male flowers before the first female shows herself to the world. I wonder why this should be? If you know, I'd be grateful if you'd share!!
I can't wait until the auumn, when, with any luck, I'll be harvesting my very own butternut squashes to turn into soup, casseroles or roast vegetables. Yummy:-)