Cha Cha, Bonbon, Honey Bear, Knucklehead and Uchiki Kuri – you could forgiven for thinking these are names of unusual dog crossbreeds, but in fact they are varieties of squash belonging to the cucurbit family! It’s not just the large Jack o’ Lantern pumpkins, seen so often at this time of year, that grow well in the UK. There are actually over 100 different types of squash!
We have grown different varieties of winter squash in the gardens at Chuckling Goat HQ this year and they are now ready for harvest. They have thrived in the rich soil, thanks to manure from the goats, and have quietly wound themselves through towering sunflowers and bean laden teepees to produce beautiful, colourful fruits (which we treat as vegetables!).
Why do we grow them?
Pumpkins and squash are fun and easy to grow, provided they are in a sunny spot, in fertile soil and kept well-watered. Apart from being great to carve for Halloween, they are also nutrient-dense and good for the gut. Naturally low in sugar and high in prebiotic fibre, these cucurbits are easy to digest, and can be soothing for the stomach. They are full of antioxidants and vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A and C, potassium and magnesium. In general, members of the squash family with the brightest flesh are the most nutritious, and have the best flavour.
And don’t forget the seeds! The flat, oval-shaped little gems can also be saved when scooped out of the squash before cooking. Then try washing, roasting with a little olive oil and enjoying them as a healthy snack or added to dishes. They contain zinc, protein, iron and of course fibre!
Here are some of the best, most reliable winter squash varieties we’ve found (so far!):
- Uchiki Kuri – reliable cropper and a nice nutty flavour.
- Celebration squash – lots of fruit, great for storing and a good flavour.
- Becky Pumpkins – large fruits, good allrounders for carving and eating.
- Kabocha squash – delicious deep orange flesh with an earthy, sweet flavour when roasted.
- Munchkins – small enough to stuff, roast and serve one per person. Squashy supper sorted!
To see more of the CG Gardens, take a peek at this video of A MOMENT OF CALM – Morning in Shann’s Compass Garden.