• Last spring my garden is alive after along winter sleep. Plenty of work to be done. Planted many vegetable seedlings grown in the greenhouse. Lettuce, carrot (sowed direct into the ground), collard, kale, Swiss chard, corn, pumpkin, potato, beet, summer squash, tomato and leek. The garden is doing great. Just yesterday I harvested several zuccinni. Right away I made zuccinni chocolate cake. It is always a joy to be able to harvest from your own garden and cook with the vegetable that you grow yourself. Gardening is an excellent exercise for body and mind. Regardless how big or small your garden is.
    Thank you for coming by.

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Happy Halloween

At this time of the month there are plenty of pumpkin to choose from.  Pumpkin is a member of the Cucurbita family, large trailing vine with heart-shaped leaves.  They are in reality a winter squash.

Pumpkin are high in vitamin A, B, and C, iron, phosphorous and potassium.

About 99 percent of the pumpkins sold in the grocery store are used as jack-o-lanterns.  These large, deep orange color pumpkin is a variety called Connecticut Field are stringy to eat and high water content.   They are not good  for eating, suitable for carving only.

Smaller size pumpkin called “pie” or sweet varieties have sweeter flesh that is less watery making these the best for eating. 

My favorite sweet pumpkin for eating are winter luxury and New England Pie.  Winter luxury will grow 5-7 pounds, it has a unique netted skin, dense and sweet tasting.  New England Pie, will grow 4- 6 pounds, dry, stringless and relatively starchy.

The best temperature range is 50F to 55F with relatively low humidity, storing in high humidity will rot the pumpkins.  Store away from light in area with good ventilation.

To keep your home-grown pumpkins or store-bought, cut them into slices pieces or large chunks and microwaved, boiled baked in oven or steamed.  Puree cooked pumpkin meat, freezes well, and can be kept frozen up to one year.    Place one cup portions in ridged freezer containers leaving 1/2 inch of head space, or use freezer bags.  With this method I am able to use in recipes until next pumpkin harvesting 

The most prominent Halloween symbol is of course the carved pumpkin with lit candle inside.  This is an Iris tradition of carving a lantern, which goes back centuries.  These lantern usually carved from a potatoes or turnips. The pumpkin carving was first associated with Halloween in North America, where pumpkin was more readily available, much larger and easier to carve. 

For delicious Halloween treat……

ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS

Roasted pumpkin seeds, also know as “pepitas” are wonderful nutritious snack.

Cut the pumpkin, scrape the seeds and put them in colander to rinse.  Remove any pulp, strings, (this can be tedious) and dry throughly.  Put seeds in a large bowl, add a few drops of live oil ( I like extra virgin).  Spread on cookie sheet line with parchment paper.  Roast in the oven at 375F until seeds are golden brown color.  Keep an eye on them, and move them around occasionally to ensure even roasting.  cool completely and store in air tight container.

Interesting Pumpkin Facts

Pumpkins are grown on six of the seven continents, and they range in size from less than a pound to over 1000 pounds

Pumpkins were once thought to be beneficial for treating snakebites and for removing freckles.  They are typically 90 percent water !

Morton, Illinois, USA, is the self-proclaimed “Pumpkin Capital of the World” where Nestle USA/Libby will process 2.4 million cases of pumpkin between August and October !

Happy Halloween and have a save one…….

Autumn Harvest and Cleaning The Garden

 

The month September through November is my busiest time of the year.   Cleaning the garden before winter sets in.  Harvesting fruit and vegetables  was average not as good as last year.    So far the best crop are zucchini, lettuce, collard , mustard green and carrot.  Tomato and pumpkin a disappointment.  From the orchard apple and plum fare very well.  Bosc and Bartlett pear a failure so few fruit on the trees. Blueberries and strawberries a bumper crop.  Made lots of jam. Raspberries a total failure all plants succumb to fungus disease.    Year 2010 not a good one for gardening.  I hope to have a better crop next year.  

Mustard Greens

 

To do list  in September: 

  • Cleaning the greenhouse for winter use
  • A good time to plant lawns
  • Plant or transplant rhododendrons, iris
  • Plant garden cover crops as garden harvested.  Spread manure or compost over unplanted garden areas.
  • Pick and store winter squash, mulch carrot rows for winter harvesting.
  • Spray holly for leaf and twig blight, blueberries for stern canker.
  • Plant daffodils,tulips, crocus for spring bloom.  Work calcium and phosphorous into the soil below the bulbs.
  • Bring houseplants indoors after cleaning and repotting
  • Pick green tomatoes and ripen indoors if frost threatens.
  • Use stakes to support tall flowers and to keep them from blowing over in high winds.
  • Put out bait for slugs
  • Treat lawn weeds now, remove thatch from old lawns.

Sumer squash

  

Carrot, Beetroot and Pepper

  

Happy gardening……..