Saturday, January 4, 2014

Thinking Ahead

There are so many varieties of pumpkins and squash that I find it very difficult to choose which few to grow.  For now, I have limited space in my two relatively large vegetable gardens.  But, pumpkins take up a lot of room and although it can be a fun experience, I try to avoid cross-pollination.  Last year, in garden number 1, I had 2 rows of corn and 6 rows of potato plants between 2 varieties of pumpkins, and I didn't notice any strange hybrids there.  It was a similar scene in the second garden.  So with room for only 4 different varieties, how do I go about choosing out of a collection of hundreds? 
My first concern is carving.  We do a large display for Halloween, my husband has grown as an artist over the years, my kids will carve as many as you will throw in front of them, so I need a nice selection of reasonably easy to carve pumpkins.
Color is another important factor, because as soon as there are a few mature fruit on the vine, I start taking them off for displays around the yard and house.  Last year, I found myself wishing for more color and varieties.  While the displays were nice, I found they lacked interest.  So I need to grow various sizes and colors.
The picture above was taken in 2012, the year I ended up with a lot of hybrids.  While this was a lot of fun, we didn't have a whole lot of nice carvers.
I do have 10 acres of land, so I have to decide whether or not to create more growing space for the sake of more varieties and more pumpkins, (and a lot more work).
Here are a few varieties I'm thinking about for 2014:
Aren't they beautiful?  From top left to bottom right, Warlock Hybrid, Fairytale, Goosebumps and Cinderella.  I love to break the stems off the flat ones and perch a happy jack o'lantern on top.  Or take a few of graduating sizes and stack them up.  When fully mature, the Fairytale variety look like carved wood.  The Warlock variety come out with just the occasional warts making it a lot of fun to work a face around.  The Goosebumps just look wonderful at Halloween and add texture to the displays.
I could go on and on about all I want to do with all various kinds of pumpkins and squash, but for now I have to work on making up my mind about which seeds to order. 

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