Home page and where to get Shonin Risa's books: https://sites.google.com/view/risabear

It may be that lifestyle overshoot will prevent my dream of an egalitarian agrarian society from arising from the empire's ashes. But
I hold that behaving as if a better life could happen is still the right thing to do. Therefore this blog focuses on a decent and humane
way to live. Survival links post here.

Thursday, September 03, 2020

We're all going to need morale boosters

Having no idea if stores would be open in September, I cleared ground in March for extra potatoes and a winter squash patch.

We had seed packets of Butternut, Sweet Meat squash, and Sugar Baby pumpkins. Also there was on hand a stored spaghetti squash, from which I took seeds. I was not sure of the seeds as they had been exposed to Delicatas and zucchinis, but figured if anything went "wrong" we would have some chicken feed (slice and boil, offer when cooled and soft). Everything was raised in four inch pots and transplanted to the "field" (about twenty by thirty feet), two plants to the spot on about a 34" by 24" spacing (a little too close).

The vines have all pretty much died, and there's a stretch of sunshine to cure the squash stems under, so today I have liquidated the patch. They are arrayed in the sun to cure the stems a few days before moving into the house.

Final count:

Butternuts: 8 undersized specimens.

Sweet Meat: 15. Surprisingly well matured as they are very long season, though most are rather small.

Zucchini/Spaghetti squash hybrids: 21 (15 shown; the ducks like them sliced raw). No idea where they came from.

Baby pumpkins: 43. One of them appears to have cohabited with the spaghetti squash.

Spaghetti squash: 78. Half appear to be a bit immature; this will be no loss due to the aforementioned hens.

There are also Delicatas and some other things in the upper, or kitchen, garden, along with several varieties of zuke, but they are no business of mine. 😄

Given the size of this sunny patch, the favorable temperatures, and how well it was irrigated, the crop is small. That is in line with a trend, alas. But we overplanted for two reasons; one was to make up for the low productivity (that certainly worked), the other was to make up for my reduced capability as a person with "senioritis"-- if I had paid the patch proper attention, removing blossoms early and late fruits late, the crop would have matured better. But I knew that wasn't going to happen.

The Butternuts, which were the most desired, were intended to be the main crop; they vined well but set almost no fruit. So it's as well other plants did better.

We can't possibly use this much squash in a year, given our preference for other foods, but it's a handy cushion against hard times, and a source of potential good will. "Would you like one of these? Maybe two? Here, take six."

We don't have an attic, which is ideal for winter keepers, and they don't like the relatively humid "commissary," which is unheated. So we've learned to keep them near the wood stove: 

Everyone yells at us about the stove/squash pics, but this stove is a model designed for mobile homes: you can actually touch the sides and back with your hand. The squash stay comfy there all winter and into the spring.

We have kept them along the dining room wall, but there we had some losses. They do not like an outside wall in winter. 

They did much better on the bookshelves in the living room.

Or just all over the dining room table.

So, anyway, if you want some of this crop, just come by and pick them up. I think wintertime squash soup is a pretty good morale booster. And we're all going to need morale boosters, I think. 

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