Gardening Magazine

Harvesting Squashes and Huauzontle

By Mwillis
I have been to the Courtmoor plot less frequently since the weather turned cooler. In the very hot dry spell I had to go at least every other day, in order to water the plants. We have recently had a little rain (nowhere near enough) and the temperatures are the best part of 10 degrees cooler, so I only need to visit about twice a week now. Unfortunately the weeds are also enjoying the current weather conditions, so I cannot afford to ignore them for too long!
On Thursday I brought home two more of the "Uchiki Kuri" squashes, to go with the one I picked the other day.
Harvesting squashes and Huauzontle
They are marginally smaller than the first one, but I believe they are still fairly typical examples of their type, which never produces huge fruit.
I had been advised to wait until the stems went "corky" before picking the squashes, and this time I assessed them as sufficiently corky to justify harvesting.
Harvesting squashes and Huauzontle
You'll notice that I have also followed advice to leave a sort of T-shape 'handle' of stem on the ripe fruits.
Harvesting squashes and Huauzontle
I'm hoping that the removal of the ripe fruit will persuade the plants to hurry up and ripen the other little ones that have recently appeared. One of the two plants has six of these little chaps:

Harvesting squashes and Huauzontle

Urgh, look at the mildew on that leaf!

I don't know if they'll make it to maturity before the cold weather of Autumn kills off the plants, but I'm fairly sure this one has left it too late...!
Harvesting squashes and Huauzontle

Another "First" for me this week was the harvest of some of the Huauzontle, aka Aztec Broccoli.
Harvesting squashes and Huauzontle

It's really not much like "normal" broccoli. I think it gets its name because you pick the flowering shoots in the same way as with Purple Sprouting Broccoli. In my opinion it has a lot of similarity with the Chenopodiae like Fat Hen and Orache.
Harvesting squashes and Huauzontle

Now I just have to find a good way of eating it... Apparently it performs much like Spinach.
Taking a good look at the other things on the plot I was pleased to note that a couple of the Red Cabbages are looking hopeful. My first batch was all but destroyed by pigeons, back in the Spring. I left them in the ground, hoping that they would re-generate, and they have. This one, for instance, looks as if it will produce something useable. At present it's about the size of a large grapefruit.
Harvesting squashes and Huauzontle

After the pigeon attack, I re-sowed and planted another batch of cabbage. This is one from that batch. It's small still, but looks pretty healthy.
Harvesting squashes and Huauzontle

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