Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Octomom of Squash

Today I was christened the "Octomom of Squash" by a friend.  This is a title that I am going to hold with pride, this year. My tomatoes and potatoes have given a less than stellar performance so far and after a friend (we'll lovingly call her Martha) just pulled over TWO HUNDRED pounds of potatoes from her garden, nothing we produce will begin to compare. We have been eating zucchini, yellow squash and carrots on the grill 3-4 nights a week. I can't complain. However, I can boast about our over abundance of spaghetti squash and pumpkins. 

Last year, I had a lone little pumpkin plant that produced beautiful little flowers, but never did a pumpkin show up. This made for one sad little boy. I couldn't bear it and so this year, I planted two varieties: Howden and Sugar. Did I mention that I planted 4 plants of each and that they are FLOURISHING!?! Each plant holds at least 8 pumpkins and the vines are taking over the yard. I am ok with this. We will have pumpkins and my son thinks I am growing pumpkin pie (his favorite) so I can handle the insanity that has ensued in our beds. Everywhere you look there is a little pumpkin sitting like a billiard on the end of a long healthy stalk with precious little tendrils grasping onto everything and anything that is nearby. Ok, so lesson learned for next year, but this year the jack o' lantern carving contest is at our house and we are providing the pumpkins!

Little Howden

Pumpkin vines taking over the sage and venturing into the yard

As if the surplus of pumpkins weren't enough to overwhelm even the most dedicated squash lover, you should see the number of spaghetti squash we have growing!!! My husband and I thought all of the beautiful little yellow heads poking out of our verdant squash leaves were crookneck and we were ready to grill, then the other night I pulled out my gardening journal and looked at my mounds again. Yup, they are all spaghetti squash. 

Everywhere the eye wanders and then focuses in our garden bed, there are spaghetti squash. Large, small, yellow, green. All are represented. On the first plant I counted 14, we have 5 plants so I stopped counting. I may have to start a barter system based on spaghetti squash.  Given my current state, I fear that I will start to dream that I am going to give birth to a spaghetti squash or a pumpkin instead of an little baby girl. True story, my son wants to be a pumpkin for Halloween. Where does he get his inspiration?

So, if you are reading this: 1) you just won a spaghetti squash or a pumpkin, 2) PLEASE post a link of your favorite spaghetti squash or pumpkin recipe.  I have a feeling we will be eating them every way known to man this fall and winter.

Oh, and a little proof that there is life beyond pumpkins and spaghetti squash in our garden:

Yellow zucchini - quarter, cover with olive oil and grill

Russian sage attracting lots of bees makes a gardener happy

One of our few little tomatoes

Oops...that is another spaghetti squash

 Ah yes, and another pumpkin playing peek-a-boo amongst the mint and sage

Again, please post your favorite pumpkin and spaghetti squash recipes to help a family in need of variety this fall and winter. I appreciate your kindness and I do advise that you lock your cars. You never know what you might find in your front seat. 


The Octomom of Squash

Sunday, July 11, 2010


For some crazy reason this is what I have on my mind.  Tomorrow we find out if our latest edition is a boy or a girl and we are excited to finally find out.

Today, I spent the morning tearing out a cauliflower plant that had gone awry, to be honest it was an experiment and that experiment failed. I also tore out the remainder of our pea plants since the heat completely killed them. Our Green Arrow shelling peas are WONDERFUL and we ended up with three quart sized Ziplocs full. I am trying to determine if I should plant some more peas right now. Any advice about this?

But back to babies, our garden is FULL of them! Baby tomatoes, Baby pumpkins (Who knew we would have so many!?!?) , Baby spaghetti squash (A LOT of them!), Baby Zucchini, Baby Yellow Squash, Baby strawberries and blueberries and Baby Butternut Squash.  It is a fruit and vegetable nursery out there!!!

Since we have a lot of open ground after clearing out our peas I have to go to through my Territorial Seeds catalog and order my fall/ winter crop. This week I will also plant some pole beans starts and decide what I am going to do about my potatoes. They look really sad. Incredibly sad. Our garlic and onions were pulled early due to the fact that a couple that I pulled were showing signs of rot. Too much water courtesy of Mother Nature. We have a decent crop, they are just small since they were pulled a little prematurely.

That is all for today. And by the way, shelling peas CAN give you a green thumb!

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Who knew that one little vegetable could make a 3 year old so happy?  I decided to post this photo again with a Haiku tribute.

Vines climb to the clouds
Sweet, plump and a taste bud treat
Juicy, verdant peas

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Let the sun shine

We have had an incredibly un-sunny June...and May if we are really going to get into it! My poor tomatoes are trying their hardest to unfurl their leaves and not give into the wind and cold. We have had some serious insect battles that I have not won, but it appears we came to a draw for now. My cucumber plants withered away from mold and I had to yank them all out last week and put in some new starts. Finally, I chose to yank all of my onions and garlic since I pulled a tester and they were rotting since we had so much rain. Waaaa Waaaa Waaaa.

Now for the good news.

Yesterday was sunny and today is sunny and by george, we have sun and high temperatures (low 80s) forecast through next weekend.  Ok, garden. Start your engine because it is time to RUMBLE!  I am so full of confidence that our true growing season is about to begin that yesterday I planted new cucumber starts along with cantaloupe, nasturtiums, more marigolds, 3 varieties of lettuce, and carrots.  I am feeling renewal!!!  While I am being a bit of a "Debbie Downer" a lot of wonderful growth has been happening. Take a look.

My pumpkins are flourishing this year.  Their precious little curly-q tendrils are starting to reach out and there have flowers. Flowers with BEES in them! Ahhhhh.

This is the crowded jungle where my zucchini, yellow squash and orangetti are growing. We were battling aphids and squash bugs. But from the looks of things, I think we are in control for now.

Pea madness. Every day for the last week I have been perching with my son on the edge of the garden bed and eating peas for at least an hour. He will only eat peas outside. Who can complain? One day we sat with a friend and shelled, chatted and tasted for two hours. Love it.

These tasty treats have been our ticket into the garden every morning. My little man goes to our picture window and looks for some red, ripe strawberries to snack on as a morning treat. He has been amazingly patient during the waiting process. Sometimes he will go 2-3 days without strawberries, waiting for them to ripen.

My acorn squash experiment appears to be going well. Fingers crossed.

Pretty soon we will not need to buy a single zucchini from the Farmer's Market.

Pumpkin flower

Yellow squash soon to be eaten!

Rainbow chard is hiding out. We almost forgot about it!


These are the tasty peas we have been snacking on. I think they are beautiful.

Yes, I am suffering from pea fascination. I love the symmetry.

Our garlic that was spared. Not first rate or market worthy, but, it will taste good when we use it!

Marigolds are doing their job in the garden: beauty and bug detractors and bee attractors.

Testing to see if our carrots are ready. They are getting there and ooh la la the taste is amazing!

The following pictures are from our front porch. It was being terribly neglected since all of my time is spent with the veggies. This week I decided to spruce things up, so the little man and I took a trip to the local nursery. Thank goodness for my little helper.

Delightful dahlias. 

Garden madness in full swing.

Final thought. I know it is referred to as a "green thumb", however, I think of mine as brown since I don't think I will ever see the day when I don't have some amount of dirt under my nails. 

Dirty nails. Shelling peas. Sneaking strawberries. Vegetables on the verge. Fresh lettuce every day. 

Let the sun shine.