Pumpkins and winter squash are left to mature all summer, and can then be stored, ready for use in the kitchen throughout autumn and winter.
When to start: Spring.
At their best: Autumn and winter.
Time to complete: 30 minutes to sow; 1 hour to plant.
You will need: Pumpkin and squash seeds, seed soil mix and small pots, well-rotted organic matter, straw.
And plant out
Sow the seeds indoors in spring and keep frost-free until the weather warms. Choose a sunny spot, and enrich the soil with plenty of organic matter before planting. Mulch with straw to seal in moisture, and to prevent the fruits lying on wet soil and rotting.
Harvest and store
Cool weather can lead to the formation of male, nonfruiting flowers at first, but later female flowers will come. Pumpkins need a long summer to grow and ripen. They are ready to harvest when the stalk starts to crack. Cut with stalk intact, keep the large orange fruits dry for at least 10 days, then store in a cool, dry place.
Tips: Make a reservoir for watering
Pumpkins, squash, and zucchinis are thirsty plants that hate dry soil. Plant into a depression in the soil or make a ridge of soil up around them to create a well. Water will then pool around the plant roots and seep into the soil, rather than flowing away.
Squash and pumpkins
Winter squash and pumpkins are as beautiful as they are tasty. They come in a variety of vibrant and bizarre colors and shapes, and many, such as ‘Turk’s Turban’ are prized as much for their ornamental value as for their flesh. They love plenty of sun and moisture and, once fully grown and mature, the fruit can be stored well into winter. Delicious roasted, they are the quintessential autumn vegetable: comfort food at its best.