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Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere

October 23rd, 2017

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I now grow my cucurbits (specifically pumpkins) in my compost pile (more on this method here). I learned of this method from the book ‘Gardens of Plenty’ by Marylynn Abbott and gave it a try. It worked beautifully and I have been utilizing this method ever since. If you remember, I saw this method in action in the garden she wrote about in this book when I visited the gardens at the Hagley Museum. This year, my pumpkins were grown in the giant compost piles I made last fall. I planted four vines figuring I’d get a pumpkin or two from each.


They grew like champs and quickly took over the compost pile and the lawn nearby (which wasn’t really a big deal because I wanted to get rid of the lawn to expand the garden. When the vines died back I noticed how many pumpkins were there.

After cutting all the pumpkins and carting them down to the house, I counted them up. There were 30 pumpkins, the smallest are fairly large, the largest pumpkins are HUGE and very heavy.

Now we have pumpkins sitting here, there, and everywhere throughout the house. The goal is to cure them a bit, so they will store better and be sweeter for eating. There is a pile of pumpkins in the office behind me, a pile on each side of the front porch, they are piled in the kitchen under the table, and on either side of the dresser in the dining room.



Some of them are also being used as fall decor by the front door, these will be cooked and fed to the chickens. Most likely, this winter, as I cook a pumpkin for us to eat, the birds will get at least half of it. There are so many pumpkins we could never begin to eat them all. Add to their numbers the glut of butternut squash I ended up with as well and we won’t be lacking vitamin A this winter.

What did you have a glut of this year? Do you grow pumpkins?

Hello Squash

October 24th, 2013

I’ve never had much space in the garden for growing winter squash.  Their vines sprawl far and wide, much farther than I ever had the space to give them in my tiny space.  Now that I have a large garden, squash finally made the cut.
squash harvest 3
Frost was predicted for the night before last, so I decided it was time to harvest all the winter squash. This year I grew ‘Sweet Meat’ and ‘Waltham Butternut” from Baker Creek,  along with ‘Burgess Buttercup Squash’ and ‘Delicata’ from High Mowing Seeds.
squash harvest 5
squash harvest 4
There were loads of beautiful delicata squash in the garden as well, but the voles and porcupines have been going crazy eating them. I managed to harvest four for us to eat. You can see here they were starting in on the pumpkins as well. At least they almost always came back to this pumpkin instead of gnawing on every single one.
squash harvest 2
Now all the squash are sitting in an upstairs window where they’ll stay warm. Squash don’t like cool storage like other vegetables, it’s best to keep them in the same conditions you like to live in. I’ll probably pile them in a corner of the living room after a few weeks.
squash harvest 1
In mid summer I planted a second crop of zucchini, mostly for feeding the chickens, ducks and pigs. They’re still going very strong. In fact I harvested about twice this many zucchini. They’ll be slowly eaten by the animals and us over the nest few weeks. The smaller ones are dried into zucchini noodles for us to eat on this winter.
zucchini harvest
Next year I’m planting about half of my big main garden in squash. I plan on growing a good amount for animal feed in a well mulched area of the garden since I won’t have time to grow crops that need more attention. I’m thinking however that an electric fence around the garden is going to be a good idea.

Do you grow winter squash in your garden?

The First Zucchini of the Summer

July 8th, 2010

I harvested my first zucchini on Tuesday July 6th, it was a ‘Romanesco’ Zucchini from Renee’s Garden. It’s described like this: With traditional style and flavor, high yields and disease resistance, this delicious Italian favorite has creamy sweet flesh, tender striped skin, and long-holding edible blossoms. I must admit, it was very tender and quite delicious and the blossom was still attached when I harvested it at 7 inches long. Last year I harvested my first zucchini on July 16th, so this hot weather has certainly helped the zucchini out this year.

You really can’t beat zucchini for a quick and easy summer side, we enjoy it all summer long. I like to pick them small and slice them or cut them in half and saute them in a skillet, then top with freshly ground pepper, sea salt and a drizzle of good olive oil. We enjoyed this one with venison burgers topped with blue cheese and caramelized onions; a perfect summer meal!

This year I’m growing a few other varieites of zucchini as well, I’m growing ‘Ronde de Nice’ again, Burpee ‘Fordhook’ and ‘Romanesco’. I’ve never had great luck growing it, most people end up with too much zucchini, I only get a few fruits per plant. Hopefully this year will be different. At least I usually have an abundance of squash blossoms, which we’ve been enjoying stuffed with blue cheese, breaded and fried (note: we usually only eat the male blossoms because the female ones will produce fruit).

Are you usually overrun with zucchini in the summer like everyone else? What’s your favorite way to enjoy this vegetable?

Harvesting the 3 Sisters Garden

October 6th, 2009

It was a beautiful day yesterday so I decided to go to my mom’s yesterday to harvest my 3 sisters garden. The corn has been drying on the stalks for a few weeks now and I figured I’d better pick it before the next rain storm comes.
Corn_tassels
I picked all the corn and some of the beans that were growing up the corn stalks. I haven’t weighed or counted the corn yet, so I can’t tell you how much I got. I think I’ll wait and weigh it when it’s dry.
three_sisters_garden_harvest
I also harvested some of the squash that was growing through the corn, the pumpkins I picked last week were also growing around the corn.
Brown_lab_mix
Lucy had a great time, she loves “Goin’ to Gramma’s”. She got to bask in the sun while I was harvesting and she got to stick her head out the window on the car ride! You just can’t get any better than sunny with a high of 63 for gardening, I would rate it as the perfect gardening day!

What’s your favorite kind of gardening weather?

The Great Pumpkins

October 2nd, 2009

When I was at my mom’s on Tuesday we harvest the two pumpkins that were on the Cinderella vine. There were two pumpkins growing right next to each other on the vine, and I think these are the only two that set.
Pumpkins_in_wheelbarrow
One weighed 23 pounds and the other 16, now those are some numbers that will help bump up my harvest total! These pumpkins are going to grace my mom’s porch on Halloween for decoration and then they’ll be made into pumpkin pies, which is of course my favorite way to eat pumpkin!

What’s your favorite way to enjoy pumpkin?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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