Mid-September heralds the beginning of the end of this growing season. Most of the vegetables are winding down, and the winter squashes are just about ready. These pumpkins are leaving the field today, largely due to the woodchuck problem in the outer fields.
Large Jack-O’Lantern pumpkins are for decorations as the meat is stringy and coarse, not great for eating. The Baby Pams are fine-textured, and great for making pies.
This is from last year’s seed-saving experiment. Some seeds were lost early on to critters in the barn. These were planted very late in the season. The plants rallied and produced large fruit, but lost the battle to deer/woodchuck. The critters apparently love the seeds.
Walking through the winter squash patch with the map this week drove home a point, squash vines will travel. I spotted delicata squash “sweet dumpling” (ribbed with white and green) as they rolled under my feet. Potimarron (tear-drop shape, dark orange) seems to be a woodchuck favorite.
There were special surprises in the Solanceae family. After the Colorado Beetle infestation on eggplant leaves in early spring, Dan spent a few weeks hosing off the plants and picking off the larva. I chalked it off as a sacrificial plant for the tomato’s sake. There’s a surprising number of them, hanging under the leaves, half buried by tall weed grass!
Sweet peppers are also in the same family and were planted behind tomatos. With such a cool summer, the pepper plants never grew well. They are a very tropical plant requiring a long season. I was pleasantly surprised by the fruits that did set.
Tomato plants are winding down, with browning leaves and sad vines. The fruits continue to ripen.
A funny thing happened after I mowed near the summer squashes. They regenerated brand-new, no powdery-mildew leaves. Not that we were in need of more squash, but I felt bad about running over half the plants in order to clear a path through the weeds. Now I see more leaves and blossoms. Oh no, I can NOT have more squash.
This variety of pattypan squash arrived fashionably late. 5/25 planting with a maturity of 57 days, it napped through late July, and just decided now is the right time. Was it the seed batch? the weather? or were the catalogues lying about how quickly they produce? Might have to re-try next year just for the challenge of it.