Hardy vegetables for self-sufficiency and survival

squash-flowers

Isabell Shipard recommends growing hardy vegetables for self-sufficiency and survival. Here are the ones that store well:

  • African cucumber – will store for over 12 months
  • Choko
  • Gourds
  • Pie melon
  • Potato
  • Pumpkin – Australian Ironbark, Baby Blue, Jack Be Little, Jack O’Lantern, Jarrahdale, Marina di Chioggia, Musque de Provence, Queensland Blue, Red Kuri
  • Squash – Blue Hubbard, Golden Hubbard, Green Hubbard

When pumpkin vines die down, pick mature fruit with plenty of stem. Make sure they’re well coloured and the stem has cracked. Cure the fruit for 10 days in the sun outdoors, or on a verandah in poor weather, to harden the skin so that they keep.

Store under cover on straw or shredded paper – in a cool, mouse-proof place.

How can I be prepared with Self-Sufficiency and Survival Foods? – by Isabell Shipard

Pest detective

Bugs

We have black and orange spotted bugs that have gathered in great numbers on our squash and pumpkin patch. They tend to congregate in the shade of a leaf, with three sets of differing gangs. I couldn’t tell if they were doing any damage although the plants there are struggling to produce any vegetables.

I decided to purchase the pest bible “What Garden Pest or Disease is that?” This comprehensive tome covers both organic and chemical solutions to most garden problems. As I flicked through the pages trying to find our bug, the full colour illustrations made me squeamish and unconsciously itchy.

“I think it’s an orchid beetle,” I said.

“If it’s an orchid beetle, what’s it doing on the squash?” Big M replied.

“I dunno. It’s the closest one.”

“You might have discovered a new insect. You’ll be able to get it named after you!”

“There’s already a moth in my surname.” I frowned. (An ugly brown bagworm moth).

“Yeah, but not a beetle.”

In the end I decided that perhaps they were just baby stink bugs? They were easy to remove – just hold a bottle half full of water underneath one and tap. They drop in. Although the bigger ones are a little more cluey and climb on top of each other. With a sharp tap they drop in, and with just a few swishes of the bottle and they drown quickly. I lost count of how many there were.

Update: I’ve moved to using a bucket half filled with water to remove the bugs and it still works no problems. Still a few stragglers I’ll have to get on the weekend. Kenny from Veggie Gardening Tips has confirmed them to be ‘squash bugs’.

Solstice squash

It was appropriate that we picked our first vegetable from the beds on summer solstice! Hurrah. Finally we can add some figures to the progress page.

Actually yesterday we celebrated Christmas early at Matt’s parents place. Matt’s Dad took us on a garden tour and explained how he picked his squash early otherwise it usually went too soft. Later the next morning when we were checking on the beds, we discovered that some of the squash flowers were shriveled up and the vegetables fell away from the stem easily, and were therefore probably ready! We collected a solid total of 100g of white UFO shaped squash.

We had Summer Solstice Pizza for dinner tonight. We followed our trusty instructions for the M.Y.O Pizza, except for the toppings we used:

squash
mozzarella and Parmesan
basil, fresh
tomato x2
prosciutto, sliced
red onion and red capsicum, sliced and sweated

I’m not a big fan of squash, but it melded in nicely on the pizza. If you have any good squash recipes please let us know as I suspect we might be eating them in the weeks to come.

Happy solstice!