Crunching Vines, Hidden Pumpkin

pumpkins-in-a-pile

Nea writes:

“I live in the Caribbean and pumpkins are a staple crop here. They grow EVERYWHERE, even in extremely poor soil that you would think would grow nothing, like construction sites that are saturated with concrete runoff. The local knowledge explains that pumpkins like to hide, and be stepped on. I.e., you should not keep the weeds down around the vines, in fact the opposite; let the pumpkins hide amongst the grass. Also, stepping on the vines helps them. Since the pumpkin vines here get massive and out of control, it’s usually hard to avoid stepping on them….

Honestly, I have actually found that both of these things help. When I keep weeds down and avoid stepping on the vines, the pumpkins rarely produce and then never very much. When I let them hide and step wherever I may, they prolifically produce massive pumpkins!”

I have seen pumpkins in odd places. Never thought that stopping weeding or stepping on the vines would help, though. I wonder if it increases rooting at the nodes.

David-the-good-books-revised

Growing Seminole Pumpkins in the North and South

Seminole-pumpkins-douglas-3

Though Seminole pumpkins are a Florida heirloom, my friend Kevin is pushing the zone and growing them in Iowa:

seminole-pumpkins-iowa

Note the variety of shapes, from flatter to rounder to pear-shaped. That’s typical for Seminole pumpkins, as is the range in color from green to tan.

Now for a report from the south!

Douglas in Collier County Florida is also growing Seminole pumpkins and sent photos of his success this year: Seminole-pumpkins-douglas-3

Look at them on the vine before they turned tan:

Seminole-pumpkins-douglas-2

These are the seeds Douglas planted:

Seminole-pumpkins-Douglas-1

Those small fruits are seem to be the most standardized variety of Seminole pumpkin. They store a long, long time and produce well, especially when they grow out of a compost pile.

I have a bunch of different variations of Seminole Pumpkins listed here if you want to see more.

Also, this is one of the vegetables I recommend highly in my popular book on Florida gardening.

Totally_Crazy_Easy_Florida_Gardening_350

They are truly a remarkable variety. Good work Kevin and Douglas!

David-the-good-books-revised

How to Grow Next Year’s Jack-O-Lanterns from the Remains of This Year’s

How-to-save-pumpkin-seeds-step-1

Are you are a crazy seed saver?

You know the type: you have avocado pits sprouting on the counter, watermelon seeds drying on paper towels, lemon seedlings sprouting on the bathroom windowsill…

Life is full of temptations for seed savers. Every fruit has a pit… Every nature hike has a must-have wildflower… Every trip to a botanical garden, you’re keeping your hands stuffed in your pockets so they don’t “accidentally” pinch a cutting.

But then, fall arrives… and you completely lose it.

Farm stands are loaded with amazing produce containing seeds!  Yes seeeeeeeds, precious seeds! The grocery store is stocking winter squash varieties you’ve never seen before. That nice Mennonite family down the road has some crazy birdhouse gourds in a shape you haven’t seen before.  There is amazing Indian corn for sale on the roadside.  And you’re all over it.

My personal favorite finds are the pumpkin and winter squash, and this is most definitely the season.

The other day I screeched to a halt in our car after passing a roadside stand sporting the craziest pumpkin I’d ever seen for sale. After realizing we weren’t all going to die in a fiery crash, my wife grinned at me and said, “pumpkin?” I nodded and ran before someone else could snag it.

She’s used to this seed-saving madness. I’ve been doing it for so long that if I ever stopped, she’d know I was taken over by an alien space pod.

But I digress.

Since Halloween is almost here and a lot of us will be cutting open pumpkins, let’s cover how to save pumpkin seeds. If you’d like to grow next year’s jack-o’-lanterns yourself or if you’re the type that can’t help but bring home beautiful new varieties from the local farmer’s market, today’s post is for you.

(Click here to read the rest at The Grow Network)

David-the-good-books-revised

Trying Hubbards Again

joni-mitchell

My friend Wendy sent me some Blue Hubbard squash seeds in the mail.

We’ll see if I can pull them off despite the vine borers. Maybe I’ll soak everything with neem oil this time.

OR DDT!

Just kidding. I can’t get DDT here. Besides, I am reliably informed that the application of said pesticide would be akin to paving paradise.

But I’m tempted. I really want Hubbards.

Yet am I so shallow as to abandon my principles for the sake of an heirloom squash with “huge, teardrop-shaped fruit (that) weigh 15-40 lbs and have sweet, fine-grained, golden flesh”?(1)

I mean…

220px-SilentSpring

And I am a thought leader now, so I shouldn’t even JOKE about DDT!

Shame on you, David The BAD!

But –

640px-Blue_Hubbard_squash_J1

No, I must resist.

And I will resist the urge to nuke the vine borers from orbit. Even if that means the vine borers win.

The public demands it, and I am a humble servant of the masses.

 

(1) Baker Creek’s description.

Hubbard squash image by JamainOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

 

David-the-good-books-revised

A Closer Look at a Few Pumpkins from the Breeding Project

pumpkins-in-a-pile

Yesterday my son sold three of his “Bahfeemus Egg” pumpkins/winter squash, but before he did I filmed a video:

Two of the Seminole pumpkin cross vines broke off. This is not good for storage, so we will eat those first; however, they will heal up and keep long enough to age I’m sure. They are just unlikely to keep for months and months.

The white bumpy pumpkin – if delicious – will be the parent of a new line. I’ve never seen a C. moschata that looks like this one. It’s striking and I hope I can stabilize the line.

David-the-good-books-revised

I may have it!

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 9.45.42 PM

I shared some of my pumpkin seeds with a neighbor.

Today he brought me this:

Second generation pumpkin. I really like this look! #plantbreeding #pumpkin #agriculture #gardening

A post shared by David Good (@david_t_good) on

I am pretty certain this is Bob’s offspring. Now I need to plant the seeds and stabilize the type. Absolutely beautiful. It looks like a cross between the original Bob the Pumpkin and a cheese type. Never seen a C. moshata like this before. If I can get it to produce true-to-type, you may be able to get an original “David The Good” pumpkin in seed stores in a few years.

This is more of an accidental pumpkin than anything else – there was a great type I found, we planted the seeds, somewhere it must have crossed with something cool, and BAM – now we have something neat. If we can keep it!

David-the-good-books-revised

Another Squash Lover

squash-varieties-grown-to-cook

This is my style of gardening – grow a bunch of varieties each year, save the best performers, then try a new round the next year:

I must say, she’s having better luck with her squash/pumpkins than I’ve been having – but our year isn’t over yet. The vine borers here have been incredible. Locals use Sevin dust to control them but I haven’t done so.

Nevertheless, we have had some good successes:

Down by the river fruit are starting to set, even though I’ve lost a few vines. Maybe next year I’ll break out the DDT and we’ll get some serious harvests!

David-the-good-books-revised

Hubbards and then No Hubbards

dang-hubbards

First, fail your way to success:

And then you see the Hubbards, just a few days before the vine borers got them, in my video on harvesting the corn in the Three Sisters garden:

So. Close. Another couple of weeks and I would have had fruit on those Hubbards. They were forming. It was working.

Until it wasn’t. The vine borers are a big problem here. A local farmer told me to water the vines with Sevin dust in water to keep them off, but I just couldn’t do it. If I had, though, I would have Hubbards.

Dang it.

David-the-good-books-revised

Delayed Sprouting on Seminole Pumpkins?

david-the-good-pumpkin-vines

A couple of days ago I posted a tour of some of the pumpkins we have growing:

Lots of good things happening.

A strange thing I didn’t mention in the video, though: I’ve planted quite a few fresh Seminole pumpkin seeds and they’ve failed to germinate. Older seeds from local pumpkins germinate – but fresh seeds, right from the Seminole pumpkin, no. Or at a very poor rate.

Another strange thing: I had a Seminole pumpkin vine come up multiple months after I planted it in my garden. Seriously – I had gone on and planted other things, then in the spot where I had planted a few earlier in the year, up came a Seminole pumpkin. I think it germinated due to the rainy season. Very strange, though. I have ten hills I planted and only a couple of Seminole pumpkins have emerged.

Does anyone know anything about delayed germinating in pumpkin seeds? Perhaps a germination-inhibiting enzyme?

Have a wonderful Sunday. See you tomorrow.

 

*            *            *

The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein.
For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face. Selah

Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory. Selah

-Psalm 24, NKJV

David-the-good-books-revised

Defeating Vine Borers by Increasing Pumpkin Root Systems

david-the-good-pumpkin-vines

Most pumpkins and winter squash have the ability to root at every node on their stems. Why not take advantage of this fact to defeat vine borers?

If vine borers wreck one part of a pumpkin stem, the plant will continue to thrive if it has rooted at multiple nodes. I’ve seen the original stem of a vine destroyed by a vine borer, yet a foot away from the damage, there are happy vines.

This only happens when the vines are growing along the ground, however. If you grow pumpkin vines vertically, you lose their best defense against vine borer damage.

David-the-good-books-revised
1 2 3 4