I have heard local farmers and gardeners say that we are about two weeks ahead in the normal growing season. Judging by progress in he Pry Garden, I would believe it! We are already enjoying a bountiful harvest of a fruit I would normally associate with the fall: pumpkins!
This year I decided to grow Connecticut Field Pumpkins in the garden. It is a very old, traditional American vaiety, believed to date from the 1600s. The Connecticut Field Pumpkin is well-suited for both eating and carving into a Jack O' Lantern.
The pumpkins are producing better than anything else in the garden right now, and I am very surprised to be harvesting them in August. It is a little early to start carving Jack O' Lanterns, so I decided to cook one up and turn it into a pie! It was a little difficult to process the big orange fellow while one arm is in a cast, but otherwise it was a lot easier than I expected. The experience made me reluctant to ever use canned pumpkin puree again if I have a fresh pumpkin available.
I was skeptical about my pumpkin as I began cutting it and scraping out the inards. I have always understood that the pumpkins we use for carving at Halloween are not good for making pies, but this pumpkin sure did look just like those. I continued anyway, and was rewarded with two lovely pumpkin pies! I would highly recommend to anyone that they try making their pumpkin pie from pumpkin rather than a can. It tastes much better and you just might be impressed with yourself!
Pumkins are not the only thing I have been harvesting lately though. I have more summer squash than I know what to do with! The variety is called yellow crook-necked squash. It is fairly versatile and has good flavor, but the drawback is that it really needs to be peeled before you can enjoy it.
I am also harvesting my winter squash, a variety called green hubbard this is a very old and familiar kind of winter squash, and hubbards of various stripes are still some of the most popular at the market. Winter squash are good because they can be stored through the winter, but the have to be cut open and only the inner flesh is eaten. Connecticut Field Pumpkins are really a kind of winter squash and can be stored and eaten much the same way.
One of the more exotic crops in the garden right now are calabash gourds. I have two plants growing up my homemade trellis and I think I will get at least a few gourds form them. Calabashes are not generally used for eating in the United States, but are dried and used for a variety of purposes, including canteens, drinking vessels, serving bowls, musical instruments, and smoking pipes.
Young gourds om the vine
Me enjoying my calabash gourd pipe