Category Archives: pumpkins

Done…..with planting

We finished planting this weekend, in some of the hottest weather we have seen this early in June. It felt unspeakably hot to be out there yesterday, but we persevered. The tally:

125 Mr. Big Peas
120 Sweet Peas
100 Royal Purple Bush Beans
48 Pole Beans
2nd planting of Sweet corn
7 Sugar Baby watermelon plants
4 Moon & Stars watermelon plants
8 Dill’s Atlantic Giant pumpkins
9 Amish pumpkins (those mysterious pumpkins from the purchase 2 years ago in upstate NY at an Amish farm stand)
8 Jack-Be-Little pumpkins
7 Orange Smoothies

And it look like this:

CIMG6323

…..which doesn’t look like much at this point. It joins the sweet potatoes, first corn planting (of a brand called Quickie; we’ll see if it lives up to it’s name) and sunflowers. No edible value to sunflowers, really (well, except the seeds) but we’ve always wanted to grow them so this year we finally got around to planting some.

This year we’ve fenced the entire garden. Last year we only fenced the peas, beans and corn, which worked out fine, but once the pumpkins, watermelons and winter squash had matured, something came through and sampled a little bit out of quite a few of the fruits. Plus, this year we have a turkey. We think it’s a female, but who can tell? (It could be a juvenile male. Only time will tell.) This turkey enjoys walking across the corn, and snoozing in the dirt mounds we created to plant the watermelons, squash and pumpkins. So up went the fence. Which works, because as I was finishing up the watering yesterday she walked out of the brush and right into the fence. Someone unhelpfully pointed out turkeys can fly. We’re hoping the dirt isn’t that appealing to her that she’ll fly over and end up stuck. Or knock the fence over.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Once again we have outdone ourselves in the pumpkin department.  Every year we do better and better, and this year we actually have a fairly decent crop for decorating our front porch:

Remember that Batwing pumpkin I posted about, way back when?

It turned into this:

Amusingly, the bottom even sort of looks like a bat:

Ok, so you have to squint and use your imagination.  I’m just trying to keep it interesting, people.  There’s only so much excitement to be mined from writing about vegetables.

Once again, the Jack-be-Littles proved themselves to be stellar:

There were a total of 18; three went to my in-laws and three went to my neighbor’s children (for helping me plant fall mums in my window boxes) before I snapped this photo.  Now that I’m thinking about it, I should give some to my parents, too.
The Jack-be-Littles are scattered all over the downstairs of my house as decorations, safe until it’s time to change everything over to Christmas decorations.  But the large pumpkins on the porch?  Well, I think we all know what’s coming:

A FIREY DEATH!

It’s never too early for Pumpkin Spice Martinis!

The cocktail farmers have been on vacation this past week, which is why you haven’t heard much from us.  We have some very successful crops this year – peppers, beans and for the first time, watermelons – but those posts will be coming later.  Because I associate Labor Day with the start of fall, I am reprinting our pumpkin spice martini recipe from last October so you don’t have to go searching for it.  We use Hiram Walker’s pumpkin spice liqueur, which is where we got this recipe.

Pumpkin Spice Martini:

1 oz vanilla vodka
1 oz Bailey’s
1 1/2 oz pumpkin spice liqueur
dash of cinnamon and nutmeg

Combine the vodka, Bailey’s and pumpkin spice liqueur in a shaker with ice.  Pour evenly between two martini glasses, and sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg on top.  Or pour it all into a single drinking glass and call it a “smoothie.”  I won’t tell.

Is it Happy Hour yet?

Why we have fences

Not the slightest bit bothered by both of us out inside the back-40 garden fence, talking and picking peas and beans.  The fence, of course, does nothing about the chipmunk that’s been getting in back there, nibbling on a few of the low-hanging peas.  This one is more polite than the one out front who samples just a little bit from each strawberry before moving on.  Like his strawberry-loving cousin, he’s digging holes all over that garden.

Not inside the fence is our pumpkin patch.  We’ve had some bad luck with the Rouge Vif de Temps (Cinderella pumpkins) – the cucumber beetles enjoyed the vines so they’re kind of anemic.

We are having great luck with what we’ve been calling the mystery pumpkins – last year at the Finger Lakes in NY, already suffering from a terrible year for Jack o’Lantern pumpkins, we stopped at an Amish farm stand and bought pumpkins.

Mystery pumpkin

Orange Smoothie

Batwing – turns orange from the top down

Last night we pulled all of the remaining zucchini plants (2) and summer squash (1) due to a massive infestation of squash beetles. 

The leaves were covered with egg sacks and there were nymphs on everything.  Adult squash beetles are apparently difficult to kill and we just foresaw an infestation that would winter over and cause problems next year, so we sealed all the leaves in a plastic bucket with a lid and will be disposing of the leaves this weekend.  It is really disappointing – in past years we’ve been overwhelmed with zucchini, summer squash and cucumber, allowing us to give it away to a lot of people.  This year we harvested 2 summer squash, three zucchini, and three cucumbers.  It’s a given fact in gardening that you will not have a perfect year for every type of plant, but it’s ironic that on a year when we decided to cut back on the number of squash plants we put in the ground, we get nailed by beetles.

Pumpkins!

In addition to our success with tomatoes this year we also claim success with the pumpkins.  Moving them to the back-40 field and essentially ignoring them seems to have done the trick.  We harvested 23 Jack-Be-Littles:

Seven Orange Smoothies:

The orange smoothie is the one in the front

And two Howdens.  One of which rotted before I could photograph it, and I’m not sure where the other one went in the big pile on the porch.  The Lumina vines were eaten by bugs.  So no Luminas, but that’s okay.  We’ll try again next year.  We did decide that we needed bigger pumpkins for carving later this month, so while we were in New York we purchased we purchased five Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins for carving from an Amish farmstand and added them to our own haul.   They came out even better than last year:

In celebration of pumpkins, nothing says fall like a pumpkin spice martini.  We discovered these last year, when we purchased a bottle of Hiram Walker’s Pumpkin Spice liqueur for Halloween and tried to figure out what to do with it.  The result was the martinis.  The liqueur is only available in the fall, so once we used it up last year, no more pumpkin spice martinis.  Imagine my excitement when J brought it home this year. Fall has officially begun!

Pumpkin Spice Martini:

1 oz vanilla vodka
1 oz Bailey’s
1 1/2 oz pumpkin spice liqueur
dash of cinnamon and nutmeg

Combine the vodka, Bailey’s and pumpkin spice liqueur in a shaker with ice.  Pour evenly between two martini glasses, and sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg on top.

Pumpkins!

This year was the best year for pumpkins that we’ve ever had.

Sadly, it did not meet our expectations.

I am delighted by the Jack-Be-Littles (23) and Orange Smoothies (7) that we picked, sad that we only got 2 Howdens and no Luminas.

While in New York at the end of September, we purchased five Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins for carving, which we did last night.  (Due to a damaging weekend Nor’easter that brought 10″+ of snow and massive power outages in the area – thankfully, we were not among them – Halloween was postponed from 10/31 to tonight, November 4)  They came out even better than last year:

My haunted house with the ghost looks a little lame.  J’s monster is much better, mostly because he has the patience to spend an hour carving it, where I whipped mine off in about 35 minutes.

And we got (X number) trick-or-treaters to appreciate our hard work.  And then they were set on fire, as is now a household tradition:

The Nor’easter finally did what a hot summer, Hurricane Irene and benign neglect did not – finished off the garden.  We ripped up the eggplants and peppers (although we just had our last meal with eggplant on Monday; there were enough left to do an Asian-style roasted eggplant side dish) and I cut all of the parsley, which was still growing merrily, just as the snow started to fly last Saturday afternoon.  We gave half to our neighbor H, who will be selling her house and will probably have moved by next year, which is sad for us but good for her – she’ll be moving closer to her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter.  Hope the new neighbor(s) like fresh vegetables…..