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How to grow Squash in Ireland.


 
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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
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Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:23 pm    Post subject: How to grow Squash in Ireland. Reply with quote

How to grow Squash in Ireland.
By Terry Blackburn

Summer squash, photo / pic / image.

The squash is a firm fleshy vegetable not used in this country nearly enough. It is in the gourd section of the cucumber family, which includes marrows, courgettes and pumpkins. They come in many shapes, flavours and colours. There are some wonderful recipes that can be made from squashes. As a vegetable it can be eaten raw in salads, it can be boiled, baked, fried, grilled and roasted. It has a delicate flavour so can be cooked with herbs to add variety.

Squash is an easy crop to grow and they are exciting too because of their rapid growth. There are two types, bush and trailing and there are those who are grown in the summer who's fruits are harvested when they are ready and the winter squashes that are allowed to grow until they are their full size, then harvested, stored in a dry, frost-free shed to be used when required. However, in this country growing them over winter can have its difficulties due to the fact that the squash is not hardy, so I think that if you decide to grow this vegetable it should be one of the summer varieties you should go for.

Soil Preparation.
Squashes prefer heavier soils; they do best in positions where there is shelter from cold winds and they must have a sunny site. When preparing the ground, add plenty of manure and compost where the plants are to grow; this should be dug into the ground quite deeply about 9 in. (228mm).

Begin by digging a trench 9 in. (228mm) deep put in the manure then dig another putting the soil from this into the first trench. This will form a ridge. The squashes can be planted into the ridges, 6 ft. (180cm) apart for the trailing varieties, 4 ft. (120cm) apart for the bush types.

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Sowing.
For best results sow three-year-old seed, this will help ensure that the plants produce a greater proportion of female blooms. It is much better to buy your seed from a supplier rather than saving your own. This will ensure that they are virus free and also importantly that they come true.

There are very few seeds in a packet but will be ample for most gardeners. Sow the seed during April in John Innes seed compost, 1 in. (25mm) deep, on their sides in 3 in. (76mm) pots in a greenhouse or warm windowsill at a temperature of about 50 deg. F. (10 deg C.). Put two seeds into the pot, the weaker one can be removed if they both germinate.

Harden off the young plants by putting them into cold frames at the end of May. Plant them out after about two or three weeks along the ridges when the chance of frost has passed.

Planting.
Water the pots well before planting out. Avoid holding the plants by their stems as they are easily bruised causing them irreparable damage. If the weather is cool cover each plant with a cloche for the first week to give them a little warmth and protection. As an individual plant protector I find one of the best methods is to use a cut down, clear plastic 5 litre mineral bottle, the top half of the bottle makes excellent cloche. Whilst giving protection at the same time it allows air and moisture through the neck of the bottle into the plant.

Squash in flower, photo / pic / image.

General care.

Trailing varieties should have the tip of the main shoot pinched back by an inch when they are 1 ½ ft. (45cm) long, this encourages the formation of side growth (laterals) on which the bulk of the female flowers will be borne. As the plants grow they will require extra manure and compost; this should be given as mulch around the base of each plant. For extra protection against the surface roots from drying out, grass clippings can also be used as mulch.

Squash require plenty of water so that they are able to grow and fully develop, soak the roots thoroughly and regularly. On the other hand, in very wet weather too much trailing leafy growth may result, in which case clip back the shoots to allow more air to circulate around the flowers and developing fruits. They are generally trouble free if the summer is a good one but slugs can sometimes be a problem; to be on the safe side position a few slug traps around the base of the plants

Harvesting.
In a good summer, squashes can often be cut in late August; keep cutting them when they are young and the plants will continue cropping until well into September. If the intention is to store some for winter use, leave the fruits on the plant until October.

Terry Blackburn. Internet Marketing Consultant, living in South Shields in the North-East of England. Author and Producer of blog http://www.lawnsurgeon.blogspot.com Author of "Your Perfect Lawn," a 90 Page eBook devoted to Lawn Preparation, Lawn Care and Maintenance. Find it at http://www.lawnsurgeon.com

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Last edited by James Kilkelly on Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have bee growing a variety pf squash reasonably successful over the last 5 years. I grow 3 varieties of Gem Squash. Emerald, rolet and rondini. Rondini and Emerald should ripen 90 days after sowing, Rolet should be ready 80 days from planting Rondini is a miniature variety ripening to about 50 to 60mm in diameter. Emerald and Rolet is larger - about 75 to 90mm. The Gem is cut in half and boiled for 10 minutes in water, after the pips has been scooped out. When cooked it can be dished up filled with sweetcorn or perhaps a bit of cinnamon and sugar. I like it served without any other frills.

I plant the seeds in separate grow pots in the first week of April. The landing window works well as it is east facing, plenty of sunlight. When the plants gets to the second leaf, I transplant them to 100mm pots and transfer them to the little greenhouse bought from Lidl. Second week of May the plants gets planted in the garden. I then cover them with little plastic pyramids for a bit of extra heat. The ripening times given above might be good for warmer climates, I have never been able to harvest the fruit before the end of July to end of August. Generally I harvest about 6 to 10 fruit from each plant.

Last year I grew a couple of the vines in my pollytunnel. They did ripen a touch earlier, but the yield was not as good as the ones in the garden.

I also grow Hubbard squash, Boer pumpkin, Queensland blue and a variety of petti pans.
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Granny007
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Import wrote:
I have bee growing a variety pf squash reasonably successful over the last 5 years. I grow 3 varieties of Gem Squash. Emerald, rolet and rondini. Rondini and Emerald should ripen 90 days after sowing, Rolet should be ready 80 days from planting Rondini is a miniature variety ripening to about 50 to 60mm in diameter. Emerald and Rolet is larger - about 75 to 90mm. The Gem is cut in half and boiled for 10 minutes in water, after the pips has been scooped out. When cooked it can be dished up filled with sweetcorn or perhaps a bit of cinnamon and sugar. I like it served without any other frills.

I plant the seeds in separate grow pots in the first week of April. The landing window works well as it is east facing, plenty of sunlight. When the plants gets to the second leaf, I transplant them to 100mm pots and transfer them to the little greenhouse bought from Lidl. Second week of May the plants gets planted in the garden. I then cover them with little plastic pyramids for a bit of extra heat. The ripening times given above might be good for warmer climates, I have never been able to harvest the fruit before the end of July to end of August. Generally I harvest about 6 to 10 fruit from each plant.

Last year I grew a couple of the vines in my pollytunnel. They did ripen a touch earlier, but the yield was not as good as the ones in the garden.

I also grow Hubbard squash, Boer pumpkin, Queensland blue and a variety of petti pans.


Hi there, can you tell me where you get Gem Squash seeds in Ireland? I'm from South Africa and love Gem Squash. I usually precook them a bit, cut them in half, fill them either with sweetcorn or pineapple pieces and bake in oven.
Thanks for any help.

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yaut
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't seen gem squash seed in the shop but there's definitely some on eBay.
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Granny007
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:21 pm    Post subject: Gem Squash growing in Ireland Reply with quote

Granny007 wrote:
Import wrote:
I have bee growing a variety pf squash reasonably successful over the last 5 years. I grow 3 varieties of Gem Squash. Emerald, rolet and rondini. Rondini and Emerald should ripen 90 days after sowing, Rolet should be ready 80 days from planting Rondini is a miniature variety ripening to about 50 to 60mm in diameter. Emerald and Rolet is larger - about 75 to 90mm. The Gem is cut in half and boiled for 10 minutes in water, after the pips has been scooped out. When cooked it can be dished up filled with sweetcorn or perhaps a bit of cinnamon and sugar. I like it served without any other frills.

I plant the seeds in separate grow pots in the first week of April. The landing window works well as it is east facing, plenty of sunlight. When the plants gets to the second leaf, I transplant them to 100mm pots and transfer them to the little greenhouse bought from Lidl. Second week of May the plants gets planted in the garden. I then cover them with little plastic pyramids for a bit of extra heat. The ripening times given above might be good for warmer climates, I have never been able to harvest the fruit before the end of July to end of August. Generally I harvest about 6 to 10 fruit from each plant.

Last year I grew a couple of the vines in my pollytunnel. They did ripen a touch earlier, but the yield was not as good as the ones in the garden.

I also grow Hubbard squash, Boer pumpkin, Queensland blue and a variety of petti pans.


Hi there, can you tell me where you get Gem Squash seeds in Ireland? I'm from South Africa and love Gem Squash. I usually precook them a bit, cut them in half, fill them either with sweetcorn or pineapple pieces and bake in oven.
Thanks for any help.


I bought Gem Squash seeds from Premier Seeds UK on Ebay. At first I only had 6 seedlings out of the 24 seed. I contacted them and they gave me tons of advise , now I have 18 plants growing like crazy in my Polytunnel.

Many of my South African friends on FB and otherwise have already placed their orders Smile, but of course, I'm the one who will get the pleasure in having the first few yummy Gems.

Check out my little video I've done about the little Gem Squash Smile

http://youtu.be/NikQpg4fuSE

And here are a few pics of my experiment. (Getting hungry already, love them with pineapple pieces baked in the oven. ... yummy)



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Gems growing nicely in Irish climate (in Polytunnel)
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Blooming beautiful :)
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And it all began with this little one.
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