Pumpkins



2 years ago, we tried a Golden Nugget pumpkin. We found it at McKinnon’s. It was delicious. Last year, we tried growing them. Every one was chewed by a backyard critter and inedible. This year, we decided we couldn’t wait any longer to build a fence around the backyard garden. It seems to be working – the proof is in the pictures.

To prepare:
Wash the pumpkin, cut in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds.

Sprinkle each cavity with a pinch salt, a pinch cinnamon, a sprinkle of brown sugar, and a pat of unsalted butter.

Arrange in a baking dish. Pour boiling water to a depth of 1 inch. Bake, covered, at 400°F for 45 minutes, or until tender.

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Remember in Compost Surprise, I mentioned we had a surprise pumpkin that came back from the dead and was growing out of the compost pile?

Yeah, well, I jinxed it. The sonofabitch died. I just can’t win.


Dear Pretty Pumpkins,

Please don’t die. We’ve had all our other squash die. Every last one of them. The sugar pumpkin seedlings died before they got established. We bought some more. They died too. We bought acorn squash. One died really early on and the other died when it was half-mature. The butternut squash died.

So you see, you can’t die. You just can’t. We grew other flowers nearby so the bees would come and fertilize your flowers. We’ve given you water and organic fertilizer and even gently moved you around so you got air on all sides and didn’t rot on the bottom. Your stems are over 30 feet long, and I know they have mildew on them, so I know you feel a bit sick. We’re trying our best. The non-poison spray we used didn’t do anything, your stems just kept getting sicker, while your fruit stayed strong.

So please? If not for Keith or for me, then for the blog? Try. Try to live. Stay away from the light.


Here, I mentioned that Keith accidentally purchased 2 acorn squash seedlings. I had never had it before. I guess I never will. Read on.

Here, I braggingly showed you a picture of our little acorn squash doing quite nicely. (The other seedling never really took off.)

I need to let you know that it died. Gone forever. Kaput. Compost. (Com-pissed is more like it. I mean, what the hell?) Some fungus, powdery mildew took over the leaves and stems and so the stem with the squash broke off completely. Look at this picture. Gross.

 

And so, a lament for our dearly departed Acorn Squash, having perished too early in the twilight of his life (Team Edward!)

Acorn Squash, 4 mos.
Former DaisyPatch Farm resident, Acorn Squash, 4 mos., died September 22, 2011 in his garden bed. No service will be held.Mr. Squash was born May. 10, 2011 to Comstock, Ferre and was moved across the country, living in an Agway for a short period of time before being adopted by the owners of DaisyPatch Farm.
 
Acorn could accomplish anything he set his mind to do. At a very early age, he grew one leaf, then another, and continued to grow leaves, despite the loss of his infant brother and his cousin, Butternut in a freak dry spell.
 
Acorn served in the United States Squash Force during operation Zucchini. Mr. Squash spent more than 3 months in New Hampshire. He never married. He is survived by distant cousins, the Giant Pumpkins.
 
Condolences may posted here under comments.

DaisyPatch Farm

Well, the pumpkin sex was successful. We can find at least 1 pumpkin on the 25+ foot pumpkin vines. (Oh, did you read that right? Did you read, “25+ foot”?  Yes, yes you did.) Expect more updates as our babies grow.


Welcome to sex ed. Of course, as soon as I say, “Sex Ed” in my mind, I flash back immediately to…you’ll never guess (unless we went to high school together, and, if we did, you’re thinking the same thing I am) Mr. Hummer’s sex ed class. Yup. The kids called him Hummer. I think his last name was Holmes. He looked like Terry Bradshaw, but with less hair.

He was the school wrestling coach and always wore gym clothes to class. He was a goofy guy who somehow, got the job of teaching sex ed. 

Anyhoo, back from memory lane, it is time for sex ed on the DaisyPatch. Gather ’round kids. I may require permission slips for this one, it gets a bit graphic.

These pumpkins continue to amaze me. I will measure to be sure (the PUMPKINS, I will measure the PUMPKINS, get your minds out of the gutter!), but it looks like the vines are over 10 feet long. There’s also an errant compost pile pumpkin. How did I throw one away? Keith thinks that a seed might have taken root from some of our judicious composting. I like that theory. More random surprises in the patch to marvel at. I was thinking about relocating it, but I’m unsure how to dig it up because it’s roots start at the bottom of the little hill I throw the compost down into. No muck boot tall enough is going to protect me from that gore if I were to try to scramble down and dig it up. I might leave it there for an experiment. Which does better?  The bat-shit, Tiger-Bloom, Sex-Panther-fertilized pumpkins (i.e. purchased fertilizer) OR the rotten-leftover, garden-scrap, grass-clipping-fertilized compost pumpkins. We shall see. (5 points if you caught the Anchorman reference. “60% of the time it works every time.”)

Anyway, where were we? Right, sex ed. Yeah, so, Mr. DaisyPatch has been doing some reading on what to expect from (and how to fertilize – see above) giant pumpkins. He found out there are male and female flowers. Huh? I mean, I took biology and I know that, if you don’t buy self-pollinating fruit trees, you have to make sure you get male and female (right? Ok, I just had to look that up to be sure so I didn’t sound like an idiot. Yes, some trees are just male and others are just female. Thanks to an eHow article by Danielle Hill, “Dioecious plants are those species that have male and female flowers on separate plants. By contrast, monoecious species may have male and female flowers growing off a single plant. For reproduction to occur, one dioecious plant must be growing close to another plant of the opposite sex. Read more here.) and the same with holly bushes to get the red berries, however, this surprised me. I don’t recall any other veggies having the anomaly. It might be the case, but, well, I wasn’t aware of it. (And, if I’m going to be brutally honest here, I have no f’ing desire to read about the sex life of plants. I mean, could anything be more BORING?) (Wait! I did just go and read about the sex life of plants! Shit…)

Apparently, the female flowers have, well, a bulbous sort of…ahem…thing under the flower. That is the baby pumpkin.

The male flowers (below) need to pollinate the female flowers in order for the baby pumpkin to grow.

Otherwise, after the female flower falls off and dies, that baby pumpkin on the vine will wither and die as well instead of continuing to grow into a jack-o-lantern. Here’s the fun part for the gardener. Ready?

If you don’t have honey bees to do the pollinating, you gotta get out there and do it yourself. With your hands. Smearing the male parts onto the female parts (how would Mr. Hummer have worded this? I can tell you that a similar act was described by him in sex ed class and I am STILL shuddering in horror and NOW it is happening in my pumpkin patch? I need to go to church and be washed of these thoughts. My mind is wandering now to a gritty pumpkin porn with a bad plot line and poor lighting. I am SO having nightmares tonight.)

So there it is. Pumpkin sex. Happening out in our yard, under our very noses. I am so grateful for honey bees. So grateful.