Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Biggest Harvest: Volunteer Butternut Squash

This has been a strange year. We had nice weather till about mid-May, when it turned into oven-hot. The grass was crispy, the irrigation water bill was high. Now, in July, it's cooler due to the daily rains than it was in all of dry hot June. It started raining about mid-July.

Many of the citrus trees have set lots of fruit, and we did get some figs preserved. The dry weather was hard on the figs, even though we watered the tree.

Our big surprise - the compost pile sprouted out with acorn and butternut squash. The butternut squash are smaller than you get in the store, but they're very good. The vines are still going strong - usually, either a borer or a powdery mildew kill them. The okra is getting a slow start due to the drought, but the hot peppers are doing great.

We are trying to think of more things to do with squash. Ray had bought some very hot chicken wings by accident, so he steamed the squash in small slices, peeled it, and mixed in the chopped up hot wings. I think it also had some sauteed sweet onions. Anyway, the sweet/hot mix made a very tasty dish, even better when topped with chopped toasted almonds for crunch. One good thing about the winter squash is that it holds very well on the vine, as well as after harvest. We might get a couple of tomatoes, and also an eggplant or two that Ray planted as an afterthought.

One thing we didn't do before hot weather was to prune the azaleas, and cut down the oak and pecan trees that are growing on the fence line. They are taking over the yard, so I think I will prune them hard, as soon as I can, even though it means I won't get any blooms next spring.

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