The Pumpkin Patch 2007 (and Seed Companies)

Last year the pumpkin patch did so well, we thought we’d try it again. Last year it was planted with old seeds that had been laying around for years. This year heirloom seeds are all the rage in this house, so I went catalog shopping this winter.

The three companies that we order from are Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Seed Savers Exchange, and Pinetree Garden Seeds.

My favorite is Baker Creek. The owner is a young, patriotic American who is against genetically altered seeds. The seeds they carry are exciting, some rare, and described well. Reading the catalog is such a treat, filled with not only seed descriptions, but interesting quotes throughout. They even have festivals which we would like to attend some day. The service is wonderful and the shipping charges can’t be beat and neither can that free gift of Brandywine Tomato seeds. One other very important point is their seeds are very reasonably priced.

Seed savers has a wonderfully illustrated catalog. If there was some variety that Baker Creek didn’t have, Seed savers did. Also, what I found helpful, were the pictures of the flower varieties.

Pinetree Garden Seeds is very helpful when you don’t want a super-over abundance of produce. For example, we ordered their lettuce mix, which was a packet of all their summer lettuce varieties. Other companies where I saw lettuce mixes offered separate packets for each lettuce, which would have been about a $20 price increase and way too many seeds. (I only wish my camera were working so you could see the little lettuce patch. It has been in our salads every day this week and there is plenty more out there.) Also, they are good for live plants. They cater to the home gardener so you don’t have to spend a fortune on seeds.

Back to the pumpkins….

After catalog shopping, the hardest part was narrowing down the choices. Pumpkins are a weakness here. We want them all! Pumpkin pies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin smoothies, jack-o-lanterns, etc, etc… This year the chose varieties are…

Howden

Howden pumpkin

   
 

This variety was developed by a man named (can you guess?) John Howden. The pictures that are in the catalogs show a pumpkin that you would expect a pumpkin to look like. They are deep orange, uniformly shaped, boast thick and rugged skin perfect for jack-o-lanterns, about 25 pounds, is considered a Southern performer, and are said to make excellent pies. What more could you want from a pumpkin?

Rouge Vif D’Etampes Rouge Vif'dEtampes – This pumpkin is also known as the Cinderella pumpkin. How can we not try this variety? This quote from the Baker Creek catalog says so much, “Most beautiful, flattened, and ribbed large fruit are a gorgeous deep red-orange. A very old French heirloom, this was the most common pumpkin in the Central Market in Paris back in the 1880’s. The flesh is tasty in pies or baked. This one can also be picked small, like summer squash, and fried. It is a good yielder too.” Ohh la la! They say chefs like it especially in soup and they have few seeds. (photo by Jessie Keith and can be found here.)

Winter Luxury Pie Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkin

According to Baker Creek this is one of the “best-tasting pie pumpkins you can grow.” There was a little note that mentioned they packed more seeds in the packet because of low germination. Hopefully we’ll still get a few of these babies anyway. They are sort of odd looking. They have white marks on the outside of their orange flesh. This pumpkin variety was introduced in 1893. While searching for a picture to post here, this article came up that has a nice recipe for this kind of pie.

Connecticut Field – Connecticut Field Pumpkin It seems this is very similar to Howden, only a bit smaller. Baker Creek calls this “the heirloom pumpkin of the New England settlers and Indians, several hundred years old…” All that history makes me a sucker for this pumpkin.

King of Mammoth – Last, but certainly not least, the big boy this year. They saw this variety grows to be around 40 – 100 pounds. Part of Baker Creek’s description states, “Skin mottled pinkish-orange on yellow. Good for pies, huge yields, rare.” When preparing my orders, I started a scrapbook with notes from catalogs and pictures. This internet was scoured and not a picture of this pumpkin could be found. Hopefully there will be some on this blog before the year is over! This variety was grown before 1824 and has been weighed in at over 250 pounds.

A few pumpkin mounds were planted here last week. The rest were planted yesterday. We have 25 pumpkin mounds and one mystery plant that was growing. It must have survived plowing so it remains there. Whether it will grow or not remains to be seen. This evening two Howden mounds had leaves and one King of Mammoth mound had just a hint of a sprout. Pumpkins growing is so exciting! Now I have a little less than half the patch to plant winter squash, but we’ll save that for another post.

Here are some pumpkin links I find helpful and/or interesting:

Pumpkin Nook – This is the best pumpkin site. You can subscribe to their free e-mail newsletter that is filled with information about growing and what exactly is going on with your pumpkin plants. That newsletter encouraged me last year to finally plant when it told me it was not too late. You don’t want to miss this site.

Walter Reeves – Gardening in Georgia, down here, we’re pretty close.

Missouri Botanical Garden Kemper Center for Home Gardening – This has just about every type of winter squash and pumpkin you can think of. It lists their scientific name and shows pictures as well.

The Great American Pumpkin – This is an older article from Mother Earth News. It is simple, easy reading, and full of pumpkin growing information.

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4 Responses to “The Pumpkin Patch 2007 (and Seed Companies)”

  1. Dausta Says:

    Thanks for the heads up on the pumpkin seeds and the catalog sources. Also all of the pumpkin links and gardening sites are really helpful. Thanks again.

  2. betty Says:

    Looking forward to some of that pumpkin pie! Please save me a piece!

  3. First Garden Post of 2010 « Adventures in Bodenburg Says:

    […] & Winter Squash post to introduce you to all the new varieties.  Until I find that time, here is the old post.  Some of those same varieties have been planted again this […]

  4. BJ church Says:

    I have read so many content on the topic of the blogger lovers
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