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STAKE 3 2023:- What worked well this year?

Updated: Oct 13, 2023

This is the output from a discussion on what people have found to work well on site this year. Its by no means extensive.

Butternut squash: Barry's method

The problem is I don't know either what makes my butternut squash grow so

well! As to what I do, it is

Sow on their sides - 1 seed to a small pot sometime in the first two weeks of May & germinate indoors.

Around the end of May I move them into the greenhouse to harden off.

Planting them out about 3-4' apart in early June in a sunny position in a slightly raised position in a bed which was dug over in the autumn and mulched with a layer of leaves. I "draw" a rough circle around them about 1' from the plant to encourage water to drain in towards the roots.

I then leave well alone apart from watering until mid-August when I pinch out the shoots of the main trailers once the squash has set.

Once enough squash has set and is growing well I remove any small ones only beginning to develop.

Towards the end of August/early September I cut back surplus foliage to allow the sun to penetrate to the squash to help them ripen and I tend to harvest them from mid-October on (partly because I'm usually always away for most of September but also because they tend to need quite a long ripening/curing period)

Red Current: Barry's Method

The red currant is even more of a mystery - planted circa 10 years ago since

when all I've done is water it and give it an occasional winter pruning.

The consensus is that the particular plant likes the local soil and conditions. Redcurrants are easy to propagate by cuttings.

Barry is happy to supply people with cuttings from this bush. First come first served as there is a limited supply.

Green Beans: Kevin’s method

Beans like a damp microclimate, and damp conditions.

Build a bean wigwam with bark-covered branches. Circa 6 feet high. The beans like climbing up bark as they can grip it. Better than say bamboo canes, although that does also work.

Have a pit in the middle of the wigwam so the beans can be easily watered by filling the pit.

Plant the bean on the inside of the poles in the pit Quite dense spacing of poles circa 8 inches apart at the base, in a 4 to 5-foot-foot diameter ring. Beans do a bit better if they have angled poles to climb.

Keep well-watered.

Sweetcorn: Richard’s method.

Propagate indoors in a warmed propagator. Water once only.

Plant seeds into tray modules one per section. Would expect 90% germination 3 to 4 days after growth starts lift and pot on.

Plant out at the end of May.

Watering once a week should be okay as deep rooting. This year due to rain level was only hand watered 2 or 3 times in the summer.

There was mesh and wood chip between sweet corn rows but mainly for weed suppression although it would help retain moisture.

You would expect 1 possibly 2 cobs per plant

Sweetcorn: Nigel’s Method 

Dig ground and scatter seeds directly in rows. Gives circa 50% germination? Less effort than propagating indoors.

Gherkins: Alex/Jess

Put 5 or 6 Gerkin plants into big pots with a small cane wigwam to climb up and then keep watered.

Japanese Daikon: Alex/Jess

Worked well grown in pots, 4 to 6 in a pot?

Sow seeds directly. Takes circa 2 months to grow. Keep soil moist not wet.

Thin seedlings if needed.

Parsnips: Brian

To avoid weed growth around your parsnips (That are slow starting) and the hassle of trying to de-weed faster-growing weeds then do the following: -

Plant seeds in trays.

When plants 2 to 3 cm in size are transplanted into the “weed-free” ground.  Don’t let them get any bigger before transplanting as they won't like it.

Now weeding is easy as you can see the parsnips.

You can also do this with carrots. But sometimes you get corkscrew shapes as a result!

Squash location options:

Alex/Jess has grown them in the sweetcorn and you can keep them ground level by directing the shoots. Good for space usage, but they were not particularly large.

Tim/Liz grew crown prince up a 6-foot wigwam. 5 squash from 3 plants. Crops are probably better than those we had rambling on ground level through a fruit cage/ sweetcorn area.


Seem to have grown well everywhere.

Outside: important to get in early for a long growing season so take a risk with frost and have backup plants coming along in case of frosting. Keep watered.

In polytunnels, they do so well and are fast, so consider succession planting as they finished (exhausted?!) by the end of August. 


Great compost heap additive but also for making comfrey tea to use as a fertiliser. Bob is clearing a bed on his plot so anyone is welcome to have some plants. Bocking 16 ( or possibly 14) variety.

Jerusalem/Chinese Artichokes: Tim and Liz:

Nov/ Feb dig out plants.

Select the largest least knobbly tubers, and cook the rest!

Replant with a spacing of circa 8 to 10 inches in two rows.

Winter mulched with compost circa 2 cm thick.

The resulting plants are 10 to 12 feet tall. Let's hope the tubers are also good!

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