Diversification is a good insurance policy

November 06, 2017

Diversification is a good insurance policy

November 6, 2017

On many farms at this time of year there will be zucchinis growing. Deep green, long smooth zucchinis, and a lot of them. This is great. People love green zucchinis. They know what they are and what to do with them. Most of these green zucchinis will be the same hybrid, resistant to the same viruses, pests and diseases. But this also means that because they are so similar, they will also produce the same zucchinis, all at the same time and die at the same time, probably from the same disease. Plus, it’s boring to just eat dark green, smooth, long zucchinis all Summer.

This is why I am growing five types of zucchini and four types of squash. Yellow ones, pale green ones, ridged and round ones. Some, like the pale green Lebanese Myola, or the softball-shaped Ronde de Nice, are good for stuffing; the Costata Romanesco are so delicious I eat them all by themselves and the dark green, long smooth Blackjack hybrids (yes, I do also grow these) are great for just about everything else. Yellow crookneck zucchini adds a splash of sunshine to your plate and pale green squash, combined with the traditional yellow ones make a colourful warm salad.

Also, when one variety eventually succumbs to ladybugs, mildew, caterpillars or virus-carrying aphids I will have many others to fill the gap. This diversity, and a good succession planting plan, provides an insurance policy to guarantee zucchini and squash all Summer and Autumn long.

So, don’t be boring. Try a new vegetable this Summer. Eat something you don’t usually like, cooked in a different way, or feast on a newly-coloured veggie. In fact, join our CSA and you can look forward to yellow zucchini, green squash, purple and yellow carrots, golden beetroot, purple broccoli, beans and tomatoes and red potatoes. Go on, eat the rainbow.

Yours in veg,

Alice



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