Tuesday, July 16, 2013

You Need To Plant One More Thing...

My son took this picture with his spy-cam when he was 5.
Don't gross out yet.
"Winter Squash" is a misnomer.  

It doesn't grow in  the winter.  I used to plan to grow summer squash in the summer and winter squash in the winter.  Really, I did!  The winter squash never got planted because I really don't like it, so it was many years before I found out that winter squash does not grow in the winter!

When I read the package - the source of all knowledge to complete plant idiots - It said it couldn't even get frosted.  Wha?!?!  And it takes F O R E V E R to grow, like 120 or 180 days.  So WHY would I want to use my summer garden space for a mushy vegetable I don't like when I could use it for tasty things I do like?

There is a really good reason.  It all comes back to the pumpkin...
We had pumpkins everywhere!
Everyone likes pumpkins!  I love them.  They are not just awesome Halloween fun!  The seeds are so yummy even the toddler next door will eat them.  And long into adulthood I finally, successfully cooked one and made stuff out of it.  That's when loving pumpkins changed to LOVING PUMPKINS!  

But the best part was the pumpkin on the stairs.  My kids dressed it up and drew faces on it.  It was a member of the family.  This stellar, stunning specimen stayed on the stairs for a year, picture perfect.  That's why you should grow winter squash.

They don't have to be canned or frozen or blanched or dried.  You can keep a whole crate full on your porch all winter and not have to think about how to plan for dinner.  They aren't the tastiest vegetable in the world and the texture is repulsive, but if you cover them in butter, cinnamon and sugar they shape up just as well as sweet potatoes.  And they make your house smell great while they are cooking.

Winter is when cooking really becomes the star: you are spending a lot of time inside and you have to heat the place anyway.

If they aren't done when frost comes, cut them anyway and they will usually ripen like tomatoes or strawberries will, just takes longer.  That's fine though.  You have all winter!

Are you planning for winter vegetable storage?  Better get planting! 

The winter garden vegetable plan can be procrastinated a little longer, but not the winter squash.

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