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digitS'
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What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

I've never grown anything but Jack o'Lantern pumpkins, not anything special for eating. Once I got past the idea that I could grow the 110 day varieties :? , I've never had any real problem with them. The vines may have powdery mildew late in the season but that's more of a problem with the zucchini. They grow well and I've got something for Halloween! (With the 110 day varieties they were green Jack o'Lanterns ;). No more of that!)

A couple of months ago, I carried a nice pumpkin up from the basement shelves where it was keeping company with winter squash and doing a fine job of surviving about 2 months off the vine. It was used for both dessert bread and yeast bread - a couple of good choices for pumpkins.

Over several years, I've been trying some different ways to make use of pumpkin in the kitchen. I might as well tell you that I prefer winter squash for pie. We still call it "pumpkin pie" but C. maxima just adds a tremendous amount of flavor to that dessert.

Pumpkin makes pretty darn good soup, however! I've used it as a substitute for squash in Butternut Bisque, mmm mm! Here's an idea: if you have tried or wanted to try a zucchini soup recipe ... substitute pumpkin for the zucchini. I bet you will be pleased.

Years ago, I grew a naked seed squash. I wasn't really happy with the seeds. Recently, I learned that pumpkin seed oil is common in eastern Europe. Really? I've eaten a few toasted pumpkin seeds. If I could figure out how to get at the kernels without sitting around cracking the seeds with my teeth - maybe I could make some use of them, even beyond snacking! The USDA tells us that they are 30% protein!

What are your thoughts about using pumpkins as a vegetable? Oh yeah, I still set them out to scare the kids at Halloween :D .

Steve
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pepperhead212
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Re: What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

I can't grow any squash other than moschata, due to SVBs, so pumpkins are out. Some that are similar I can grow, and some called pumpkins (Seminole, pumpkins, FI) do great. One of my favorite soups is a pumpkin soup made by roasting a 5 lb pumpkin, filled with a chicken broth and cream, bread, and gruyere mix, which is served by scooping out some of the pumpkin with each spoonful of the filling. And there are countless Mexican dishes I make with pepitas, some of which are ground up with the shell! I use almost all of the seeds from my winter squash in place of pumpkin seeds. Often I put them in smoothies - the Vita-mix does make them really smooth!
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Re: What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

I grew a pumpkin once. I picked it in June but it was rotten before Halloween so it did not make it.

the only pumpkin worth growing for me are kabocha and buttercup squash which are in the same family but a lot less stringy.
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digitS'
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Re: What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

I grew La Madera winter squash last year. The seed was from Native Seed Search and the variety is a very early C. maxima. That is, the skin was rock-hard by September frosts and the flesh was dry and, yes, somewhat stringy. The squash bake to a sweet, flavorful goodness and strings dissolve in the mouth :). There is still one on the basement shelves in great shape!
. . .pepitas, some of which are ground up with the shell! I use almost all of the seeds from my winter squash in place of pumpkin seeds. Often I put them in smoothies - the Vita-mix does make them really smooth!
Yes, I understand that this can be done altho' it sounds indigestible to me :shock: ! I can't imagine the shells dissolving and fiber isn't lacking in my diet. Maybe toasting the whole seeds, going over them with a rolling pin, and then winnowing with a breeze would work?

Steve
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imafan26
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Re: What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

SVB are a big problem for you northern gardeners. The only thing that might help is if you are able to plant out of season and net the vines. If you have had them before the eggs are probably hibernating in the soil. Especially if you put your squash in the same place every year. You may have to change the location or skip a year.

I have grown kabocha in a large tub, some of the smaller vines may be able to do that as well.

If you can do a second planting in July most of the squash borers will be gone.

Butternut squash makes great soup and are supposed to be less susceptible.

https://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/ins ... ne-borers/
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rainbowgardener
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Re: What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

Hmm... thanks imafan, you have given me an idea. I have given up on growing zucchini because of the SVB's. Skipping even 2-3 years doesn't seem to make any difference, because they are in the neighborhood, even when not in my yard.

I wonder if planting late would help? There are some zucchini varieties that have 40 day maturities. If I started them indoors, I could plant in August and still have time to get some zucchini. It depends on how the generations of SVB's go and whether we have two generations of them in a season:

"Squash vine borers overwinter as mature larvae or pupae in the soil. Adults emerge in May in the South and in late June–July in the northern states. Because insect development is driven by ambient temperatures, degree–days are often used to forecast insect activity. For more information on using degree–days to predict insect development see Predicting Insect Development Using Degree Days. In Wisconsin, base-50 degree–days (DD50) are used to predict adult squash vine borer emergence, which is estimated to be around the time when 1000 (DD50) degree–days have accumulated (Delahut, 2005). Using information collected in a life history study in South Carolina (Canhilal et al., 2006), the duration of the pupal stage of squash vine borer was calculated to require 745 DD50 in rearing rooms maintained at 77°F. Depending on how much development an individual has to complete in the spring, first generation adult emergence can be expected between approximately 750 and 1000 accumulated DD50. Base 50 degree–days are also known as growing degree–days (GDD) and seasonal GDD accumulations may be available through your state Cooperative Extension system.

Two overlapping generations of squash vine borer occur in the south, and one—and possibly a partial second—generation occurs in the north, depending on the accumulated degree days during the growing season. Larvae feed for approximately 25–27 days (~660 DD50) (Canhilal et al., 2006) and when fully developed (about 1 inch long), leave the plant to pupate 1-6 inches deep in the soil. New adults emerge 22–52 days later in areas where enough heat units accumulate (~745 DD50) (Canhilal et al., 2006). A second generation of adults could be expected to emerge around 2430–2680 accumulated DD50. In the north a second generation would be less damaging in the field because it occurs so late in the season, when crops are nearly mature, but could be damaging in late plantings in the south or in season-extension structures in the north."
https://www.extension.org/pages/65684/bi ... NakQGd0yM8

Planting in July wouldn't help (except maybe late July), given the timing here, but maybe August would. But if we have two generations then it's probably hopeless. (I am pretty much right on the border between north and south.)

Still I may try it.....
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Re: What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

imafan26 wrote:SVB are a big problem for you northern gardeners. The only thing that might help is if you are able to plant out of season and net the vines. If you have had them before the eggs are probably hibernating in the soil. Especially if you put your squash in the same place every year. You may have to change the location or skip a year.

I have grown kabocha in a large tub, some of the smaller vines may be able to do that as well.

If you can do a second planting in July most of the squash borers will be gone.

Butternut squash makes great soup and are supposed to be less susceptible.

https://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/ins ... ne-borers/
I've tried covering them, planting in mid August (wouldn't work with winter squash, but summer, maybe), and not planting for well over ten years (and NOBODY around here grows things like this), and they still appeared almost immediately in all cases. This is why I think there is some native plant they infest, though this doesn't tell me how they come up out of the ground into a covered bed after so many years, unless they infest weeds. The ONLY thing that worked was planting the zucchini in the Earthbox last season, and totally sealing it, though this wouldn't work with long vines, unless you have a really big Earthbox! LOL
Dave

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Re: What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

oh sigh.... :( here, I was feeling really hopeful. I might try the mid-August planting anyway, if I have room in the garden somewhere. Mid-Aug is a difficult time to have much room to plant something like that, so we shall see. But just to have my own experience of what happens.
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Re: What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

They supposedly have only one generation a year and they emerge around June hang around for about 6 weeks doing most of their damage then and then drop back to the ground to pupate.

I have a longer growing season than you have and different bugs. I plant out of season all the time, it really does help. There is a big difference in damage from what is planted out of season vs the peak bug season May-July.

Has anyone tried using a trap?
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rainbowgardener
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Re: What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

I do want to try it. But I pretty much believe what Cornell University said that I quoted about the growing degree days. That suggests that if our climate really is getting warmer, then it will be more and more likely that we will have two generations.
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Re: What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

We like to grow sugar pie pumpkins. Last year we threw a few jackolanterns into the compost pile and had pumpkins EVERYWHERE! We kept 3-4 of the biggest plants and had 6 nice sized pumpkins, and a few little green ones when I pulled. We didn't eat any of the Orange ones. They were for decoration out front.
We like to take the sugar pie (a small variety) pumpkins and cube them, toss with salt, pepper, evoo, and a wee bit of pure maple syrup. I like them heavily seasoned. Sometimes I add mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, or paprika. I like to change it up, but I always do s, p, EVOO, and ms as my base flavor.

I roast them at 400F until they are very caramelized. And we eat them as a side.

I treat all winter squash this way. I don't really care for it in soups or any other preparation.

As far as growing. We have SVB, but our must just be supah wimpeh here...we march right on through with SVB damage and keep producing... Unless they bore into the fruits (first time ever last year). I think some of that damage was actually caused by pickle worms. They turned out to be a HUGE problem last year. Also, the first year I've seen them. Our biggest issue aside from pickle worms is squash bugs. I think they prefer winter squash to summer squash, but they have no preference late in the season.

Late season plantings are just not an option because of the squash bugs.....and now the pickle worms.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

Yup, I have squash bugs too. They are plant juice suckers and aren't as immediately terminal to the plants as the SVB's that destroy the plant's circulation channels. But the worst thing about the squash bugs is that they can carry disease from plant to plant...

I've never seen pickle worms. If those appear too, I might have to give up on ALL squash!
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Re: What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

I like the less flavorful pumpkins and squashes in strong sauce or stew like curry and pasta sauce, lasagna-variant and ratatouille.

This year, I'm going to repeat last year's experiment by starting them early (pre-germinate and grow transplants) and planting them earlier under protection to get them to outpace the SVB incursion and produce some decent harvest. It's easier to protect them while they are smaller.

Doing this will open up space in the richly prepared growing bed for something else after they go down.
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Re: What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

I have never been keen on pumpkin anything for eating. Any of the winter squash are much better. Pumpkins are for decoration, then compost. Ya, the chickens may eat one.

Connecticut Field is a good variety for a mid sized pumpkin.
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Re: What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

I thought I lived in bug heaven. Squash and pumpkins have something that bores into the fruit and makes holes all over the skin about a 1/4 inch deep, but kabocha are still edible. It is usually the mildew that kills them. We do have borers but most of the tropical pumpkins and gourds live to produce fruit. Nothing but heat stops chayote, butternut, or gourds. Gourds, bitter melon, luffa, and kabocha are probably the most commonly used squash here. Cucumbers get pickleworms but I have actually not really seen that either.
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Re: What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

Pickle worms destroyed our later summer squash and cucumbers last year. Still early-ish though. Mid July is when they hit us. They're inconspicuous, too. Nasty little boogers. you don't know they're there until you're cutting them. Fat green worm with a little stripe. They bored into the pumpkins, too, just like you said.
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digitS'
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Re: What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

Squash bugs can be a problem here some years. It doesn't take much more of a fix than conscientious searching, the realization that they want to hide, a sprayer with pyrethrum, and the willingness to do it over again in a week ...

Pumpkins are usually trouble-free even when squash bugs move in on the squash.

Something I cannot do is save seeds. The neighbor has demonstrated that in his garden with outrageous volunteers! Pumpkins and zucchini are C. pepo so they cross. They really seem to want to go outta there way for that! Opposites attract, huh?!

Steve
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jal_ut
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Re: What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

Yes, pumpkins will cross with other squash and if you save seeds, next season you may get different looking fruits. Here is one example. The pic is of a fruit from a seed saved from a garden pumpkin. I suspect a cross between pumpkin and banana squash.
Image
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

Some folks make beer out of pumpkins. There's a bigger brand called Pumking Ale. Several of my old friends from PA were raving about it!

I have a friend in Charlotte that's really getting into home brewing. Maybe I'll suggest it to him...AND give him some produce!
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digitS'
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Re: What Do You Think About Pumpkins?

Beer?!

With no barley? Perish the thought! (Maybe there's barley ... I trust that there's barley :))

I've used winter squash with rice & raisin wine. The squash added a nice color but I'm not sure if it brought anything else to the wine ;).

Steve
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