WELL SEASONED

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Here you can find a collection of our thoughts, reports and ramblings together with some fun things we find along the way. We try to update the blog at least once a week and more often during busy periods so make sure you check back regularly..

By The Twig - Well Seasoned, Oct 30 2017 05:29PM

The annual pumpkin harvest must be one of the most logistically impressive and wasteful of our entire farming year. For one night only, the bulbous orange squash becomes the country’s favourite vegetable.


Granted, these days Halloween seems to stretching over the course of several days, to cover the weekends either side but it’s still one of the biggest boom and busts we witness on a vast and annual basis. In order to cram the shops full at exactly the right time – too soon or too late means disaster – pumpkin farming is a masterclass in both scientific endeavour and military organisation.


This year, as with every other, some 20,000 tonnes of pumpkin flesh will be scraped into bins before the nation gorges on mini Mars bars and Haribo. It’s a criminal waste particularly since pumpkins are so versatile and easy to cook with.


So, before you bin the seeds or the flesh from your spectacularly spooky creation, why not resolve to have a go at one (or both) of these. If nothing else, the dentist will thank you for it:


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


This one is so simple, it doesn’t’ really count as a recipe.


Clean any stringy flesh from your pumpkin seeds and pat dry.

Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking tray.

Pour over a good glug of vegetable oil, sprinkle with some coarse grain salt and a couple of teaspoons of smoked paprika.

Roast for 15 minutes at 180C until the seeds are golden brown and crisp.


A horribly handy Hallowe'en party nibble.


Spiced Pumpkin Cake


This one does count as a recipe but someone else’s. It’s delicious. My one added recommendation is to squeeze some of the moisture from your pumpkin if you have a particularly wet one. If you don’t the middle will take much longer to cook, leaving the edges too dry.




By The Twig - Well Seasoned, Apr 3 2017 10:00AM

If you want to grow your own pumpkin for Halloween then late April is the time to get planting.


You'll need a sunny spot in the garden or on the vegetable patch which is reasonably sheltered from any cold winds. They are quite easy to grow from seeds and although most people only want a large, orange pumpkin, it's worth buying one that is good for eating as well as carving.


Start with a visit to your local garden centre to buy seeds. Although you can sow the seeds straight into the ground we usually like to give ours a head start by sowing them indoors in a seed tray or small pots. (If you're sowing outdoors it's worth waiting until mid-May when any chance of frost has passed. Alternatively, buy plug plants from the garden centre which can usually be planted straight out.)


You should follow the instructions on your seed packet but most will suggest planning to plant out your seedlings in June. Until then you'll need to keep them indoors, warm and well-watered.

A couple of weeks before you plant out, dig a hole for each plant in your chosen spot and fill it with compost or manure. At the same time, leave your seedlings outside, (ideally in a cold frame, but otherwise bringing them in at night) for a fortnight to acclimatise.


Once acclimatised, you can plant the strongest looking seedlings. Make sure you space them far enough apart to allow room to grow (you'll need at least 30cm and up to 1.5m for the biggest pumpkin varieties).

Next to each plant, sink an empty plant pot into the ground. They will need plenty of water when the warm weather arrives so you can use the empty pot to ensure the water gets straight to the plant's roots rather than staying on the surface where it might rot the fruit and leaves.


Your plant should flower in early summer and start to bear fruit the following month. Place a piece of plastic under each pumpkin to prevent it from rotting.


Let the fruit mature on the plant for as long as possible before Halloween but harvest it before the first frost when it might be damaged. (You can store most ripe squashes in a dark, cool place for many months before they spoil.)


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