The Squash Arch

squashes growing in the greenhouse

My squashes have been growing at a rate of knots in the greenhouse and in the past, this has been the time that I’ve really started to neglect them and just left the plants in their pots, restricted and begging for more nutrition. Bad veggie mum. But this year I’m a bit more prepared… although I have way too many squashes and not enough space to put them all!

Whilst I need to have a think on the best way to accommodate the bigger cucurbits like the spaghetti squash, knucklehead pumpkins and courgettes, the munchkin pumpkins will have smaller fruits that will happily scramble up and over the arch.

Squash arch in the garden

Taken a couple of weeks ago, the squash arch is in and ready for planting, just as soon as the squashlings are ready! (Can you also spot the black and white furry beast in the veg plots?)

I kept a space free between the big veg plot and the bare patch of the asparagus bed, and have bolted together a metal arch between the two to grow the squash over. I found the metal arch in Poundland for £6.99, and although it probably won’t last more than two or three seasons, it was the next best option (no plastic, thanks). Originally I had wanted to construct the arch with hazel or willow, but Wasseldine, my local supplier, were all out by the time I got around to enquiring about some bean sticks and poles. Organisation skills… not.

Squashes are thirsty and greedy little beggars, and with our sandy soil we needed to add in some manure and compost to give them plenty to feed on. As I’m doing no-dig this year I decided to just dump a load of manure and compost onto the space I’d been saving for my plants, and plant direct into that. Easy peasy.

They will of course need support to scramble up, so we’ve started fastening some garden wire as extra support. I was originally intending on putting in mesh panels but Rich decided to go for a more aesthetically-pleasing option (hopefully it’ll work just as well).

Spanish Flag plant

Image ©Sarah Raven – Spanish Flag scrambling – a perfect companion to scrambling munchkin pumpkins? Only time will tell.

While I wait for my squashlings to get a little bigger before planting out, I’ve put in some mina lobata (Spanish Flag) plants to start scrambling. The idea is to have both the red and white of the Spanish flag flowers intertwined with the squash vines and fruits… it’s all very pretty in my mind so hopefully it’ll come true before the blackfly have their way this year.