Not only is it that Quite Busy Autumn Planting Time, but time, also, to harvest the Black Futsu Squash that survived the predations of Pumpkin Fly. The variety really is very susceptible to being stung!
Its the first time we've ever tried growing Black Futsu; its an unknown here, and some seed "just happened to come my way, Officer, really, I swear!" Midway through the growing seaon I was unsure whether it would be worth the bother... they take a lot of space, rambling about all over the show and generally
getting underfoot. At one stage I considered that they were only useful as a live mulch: I planted them between the Red Hat Chillis, which last for several years and grow to a height of 1.5m and better; the Black Futsu plants made a very useful groundcover. "But not much else," I thought. At least they didn't seem to be particularly disease-prone; mildews and fungus are always a challenge in our reasonably-humid Summers, and the Black Futsu resisted those as well as anything else.
Taste tests of the young squashes were disappointing, and I thought to myself, "If that's the flavour, then they're really not worth the bother." I guess it didn't help that I had been reading reports about Black Futsu that ranged from wildly enthusiastic, to downright negative. Many reviews likened their flavour and texture to Butternut, and several strains of Butternut squash are very freely available locally, and widely grown commercially. Butternuts are sold so cheaply, here, that they're frankly not really worth the bother of growing!
Then I tasted a mature Black Futsu. Suffice to say we will definitely be growing them again. They look like they'll store well, too – the skin is so tough that even the rats have given up on them.