I’m pleased to say that my allotment is starting to look very much like an allotment once again! After spending the last few months dormant and covered in black plastic sheeting, the majority of the vegetable beds are now filled with thriving young plants and future harvests.
After a few days of leaving them outside the greenhouse to harden off, I bit the bullet and decided that it was time to plant out all of my Squashes, Pumpkins and Courgettes this week. Usually, I might have left them a couple more weeks but they were definitely getting too big for their pots in the greenhouse! As it seemed to work well when I first tried it last year, I’ve decided again to plant all of my Curcubits through black plastic sheeting.
The sheeting acts to suppress weeds whilst at the same time it will retain moisture and raise the temperature of the soil below. As the eventual fruits will not touch the soil they’re also much less likely to rot before harvesting in the Autumn.
This year I’m planting Winter Squash ‘Sibley’ and ‘Thelma Sanders’ from RealSeeds for the first time as well as ‘Blue Kuri, ‘Sweet Dumpling’ and ‘Blue Hubbard’ which I’ve grown before. I’m also trying a mystery Pumpkin as part of RobsAllotment’s vegetable trials and Sharks Fin Melon from The Heritage Seed Library.
Despite the name, Sharks Fin Melon is commonly used as a vegetable and is popular in both Asia and South America. From those who have tried it before, the flesh has a sweet cucumber-like taste and the fruits will store well over winter. I’ve also been warned that the plants are absolutely rampant and will spread like triffids if left unchecked. As I love growing Curcubits and its also quite unusual, I’m definitely excited to try it this year!