Harvest Home: Pumpkins! August 28, 2009Posted by ourfriendben in chickens, gardening, homesteading, recipes, wit and wisdom.
Tags: garden volunteers, Hallowe'en, Harvest Home, pumpkin soup, pumpkins, Thanksgiving decorations
Our friend Ben was thrilled to see that this year’s compost squash vine has actually borne a monster crop of adorable orange pumpkins. Readers with far better memories than our friend Ben’s may recall that last year, an enormous mystery squash vine sprouted from one of our compost bins and turned out to produce an absolute boatload of beautiful Butternut squash. So when another huge squash vine materialized this year from the same bin, I stupidly assumed it was another Butternut.
Wrong! This morning I saw that the leaves had become mottled with tiny yellow dots, even though the plant was still blooming. Concerned, I went over to inspect the giant vine, only to see, nestled in the high grass that’s grown up around it as we skirted it with the mower, at least eight perfect orange pumpkins! Each pumpkin is about six inches tall and wide, and they are beautiful!
Every year, Silence Dogood and I try to assemble a colorful display of red, orange, yellow, pinkish-beige, and white pumpkins for the festive season that runs from Hallowe’en through Thanksgiving. We think of this season as Harvest Home, harking back to the old English harvest festivals. Silence makes beautiful piles of the pumpkins at each side of our front door, supplementing them with blue, grey, and green Hubbard squash and an assortment of colorful gourds. Then she hangs multicolored corn on the door and we enjoy the display for several months.
Since we typically buy pumpkins from farmers’ markets and farm stands throughout the area—our veggie bed space is limited and pumpkin vines take a tremendous amount of space—I’m afraid I have no idea what variety this year’s mystery pumpkin could be. But they sure are cute!
I’m trying to goad Silence into using at least one to make her famous Curried Pumpkin Soup (search for it in our search bar, it’s one of my favorites), rather than using canned pumpkin. But she points out that canned pumpkin is really winter squash, and that its flavor and texture is superior to that of actual pumpkins, so I have a feeling we’ll be enjoying these as decorations and then feeding them to the chickens. For a recipe that really does use homegrown pumpkin, check out Kim’s recipe for Chilled Pumpkin Pie Soup on her blog, The Inadvertent Farmer (http://sweetgrace.typepad.com/the_inadvertent_farmer/).
Meanwhile, of course, our friend Ben is already speculating about whether next year will produce a third mystery squash vine from our compost bin. If it does, I wonder what it will be? Some red, white or yellow pumpkins would certainly be nice…