Squash discovery shows that all hope is not lost

Stuart Piper with his wife Debbie and children Megan, 10, and 12-year-old Abigail  Picture: Sarah Standing (170385-8300)

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Now that the days are so short, I only ever see my garden at the weekend. It is dark when I leave for work in the morning, and dark when I return.

It’s always a bit of a shock to me, therefore, when I do emerge from my week-long hibernation and see the dreadful state it is in by Saturday morning.

Strewn with leaves, holes dug by squirrels and the odd feline deposit – it is hardly conducive to gay larks in the garden.

Yet the brussel sprouts look like they might actually be bigger than small peas by Christmas Day. The red cabbage, however, will probably not be up for a prime spot at the festive table.

The chard I planted for the chickens’ winter treats seems to have stalled after an impressive start. I suppose that things are bound to grow slower in the colder weather, but this just makes the vegetable bed seem somewhat lacklustre.

The greenhouse once again succumbed to the winds and so has now been relegated to lying face down on the patio. Another addition to the drab back garden.

But there is hope! Snuggled at the back of the garden, hidden under a layer of sycamore leaves, I discovered another variety of squash that I have no recollection of planting.

And I discovered another splash of yellow in another bed heralding the ripening of a squash.

All is not lost and, who knows, maybe my enthusiasm will return by next weekend.

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