Six on Saturday – W5/2021 – Vegetables in January

This week has been a cooler with intermittent showers, and the plants are loving what has turned out to be a milder summer! Some of the vegetables are having a growth spurt, especially the pumpkin, squash and choko vines, while others like the tomatoes have died back. The corn has been harvested and we intend to do successional planting of corn next season.

This pumpkin vine, which is growing up the trellis at the back verandah, stopped producing female flowers during the wet weather, but over the past couple of weeks the vine has grown exponentially! The vine is almost at roof height, and following a spurt of flowering, some fruit has set!

Sylvester has been commissioned to support the growing fruit!

Sharing the same trellis are a couple of cucumber vines and a luffa vine. The luffa had a very slow start and at one stage I thought I was going to lose the plant, but over the past couple of weeks it has growing considerably and today I spotted a couple of developing fruit. This is my first attempt at growing luffa.

The tamarillo trees have been growing and flowering well during the season, and yesterday Mr S picked a bucket full of fruit! He has decided to try and make some tamarillo chutney this weekend, and if his tomato relish is anything to go by, the chutney should be amazing!

The purple king beans have finished for the season, and the blue lake beans are now flourishing. Previous attempts at growing the blue lakes during the earlier part of the season proved to be a waste of time, but the recent plantings in mid-summer are doing very well and are the plants are flowering profusely.

When our friends gave use a couple of yellow button squash seedlings last year, Mr S reluctantly planted them out, muttering that he was not keen on eating watery squash. Only one of the seedlings survived to produce fruit, and we both enjoyed the squash so much that we were determined to grow more this year! The squash has done exceptionally well and the main plant has sent out two runners which now extend to almost 2 metres from the original plant, and there seems to be no end to its production! The button squash, whether large or small, remain firm after cooking, and have a lovely delicate taste. They have been the mainstay of most of our summer meals.

Ending off this weeks Six on Saturday is an update on our remaining chicken, Specks! The poor girl is moulting, and has been feeling off colour and moping around for a couple of weeks now. She looks very moth eaten, as you can see in the picture below! At long last the shafts of the new feathers are peeping through and the new emerging feathers seem to have perked up her spirits again, and she is showing a renewed interest in life, and bugs!

Even her feet are getting new feathers!

It’s that time of year where we start planning for our winter crops of salad greens, brassicas, carrots, peas, broad beans and watermelon radish. As the summer crops wind down their production, we will start preparing the raised beds with manure and compost for our winter crops. More on this in the next Six on Saturday vegetable blog at the end of February, but in the meantime why not head over to The Propagator and see what other gardeners are doing in their gardens. Links are found in the comment’s section of The Propagator’s blog.


  1. Luffa, tamarillo, moulting chichen… I’ve been exposed to an array of learning! It really is a wonderful way of broadening our horizons…. Best wishes for the winter vegetable planning. Will there be something entirely unknown to me?

  2. I just love those pattipans, which you name button squash. One way I love them is cold with an olive oil dressing with roasted walnuts and olives…hurry summer! Love you chicken..they are lovely to watch in the garden.

    • It seems to be a little earlier than usual for the tamarillos, and we are finding some marks on them where they have been stung by insects, which is why we are harvesting them now. The chutney is going to be an interesting experiment!

  3. Your garden always looks so cheerful! It’s good to have friends in another part of the world to keep us encouraged! I have always wanted chickens….but not to be in our neighborhood…….I get the dog park next to me, but it is high on the hill and my cottage is so far back I rarely hear the barks! Have I missed why you are down to one chicken?

    • I agree! Having friends in the opposite hemispheres helps us to survive the winters (or for me it is the hot humid summers!) I have had chickens most of my life, and after a spell of some 12 years without chickens, it was wonderful to have them again! Yes, we are down to only one chicken now. Poor little Teacup passed away last year from a wasting disease. I was dosing her with antibiotics, but she did not respond to them. My vet did say to me that she thought teacup was a lot older than I thought she was! Specks is doing okay as a single chick in the garden, and follows Mr S around when ever she can!

  4. You’ve got some fabulous crops there. I’m curious to know – what does a tamarillo taste like? They’re certainly interesting to look at.

    • I’m not very good at describing flavours. I would describe it as an pleasant and refreshing flavour, which is not overly sweet. The red flesh variety has a slightly stronger tang to it, while the yellow flesh ones taste much milder. I find them very refreshing to eat, and have included them in salads, fruit salads, and they can be used to make jam and chutney.

  5. I always enjoy reading your veg blog posts, what wonderful and interesting stuff you grow. The button squash look lovely, and the tamarillos (I need to look those up). Hope to see a loofa on here one day! Specks is gorgeous (poor thing, molting clearly takes it out of her).

    • Thank you! We do try and grow some of the more unusual vegetables we have come across, and sometimes we are successful! We are also still trying to work out what vegetables will do well here. Unfortunately rhubarb is not one of them. I have high hopes that I will get at least one loofa this year (based on the fact that the cucumbers and pumpkins seem to be doing so well. Specks is quite a character – but not when she is moulting!

    • It must feel really strange for her to have those hard spikes on her feat instead of feathers! She was even walking differently, so she must have felt odd. She is slowly getting back to being her old self again, thank goodness! The button squash are really delicious.

  6. Oh, goodness, I have vegetable jealousy. Your winter crops are our summer varieties! What a lovely selection you grow.

    • Growing vegetables is always a huge challenge in the subtropics because of all the bugs, and the heat and humidity. We have a month left of summer, as in hot and humid weather, and I think most of the plants are now responding to the cooler weather and are have a huge growth spurt. WE are hoping that February is not as hot as it usually is!

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