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Monthly Archives: January 2011

Neck Pumpkin from Your Small Kitchen Garden

The big squash is a neck pumpkin that grew in my home kitchen garden in 2010. The small squash is a homegrown butternut squash for the sake of comparison. Yes: seeds from that neck pumpkin may reach you by mail in February if you hop over to Your Small Kitchen Garden and sign up according to instructions there.

Your Home Kitchen Garden’s sister blog, Your Small Kitchen Garden is giving away food! Food? OK, it’s giving away seeds from which you can grow food. The promotion started a few days ago and runs until February 13, 2011.

Seeds for Your Home Kitchen Garden

Neck pumpkin, Pennsylvania Dutch Crook Necked Squash, Long-necked squash… get them all through the Small Kitchen Garden giveaway. Actually, these are all names for the same squash. Plants are very resistant to Squash Vine Borer and they produce fruits that resemble butternut squash only generally much larger. In fact, I’ve seen neck pumpkins that weighed more than 20 pounds!

Neck pumpkins are common in central Pennsylvania, but I’ve never seen them in other states. When you buy a neck pumpkin at a Pennsylvania farmers’ market or a farm stand, there’s a pretty good chance the farmer will ask, “Making pie?”

probably an andes tomato from Your Small Kitchen Garden

I pick tomatoes before they ripen. This one is probably an Andes Horn paste tomato. Minimally, it’s an heirloom paste tomato that tastes great raw or cooked. It’s mostly meat, nearly seed-free, and in my experience is hardier than some other popular varieties of tomatoes. Get 20 or more seeds to grow some of your own by visiting Your Small Kitchen Garden and signing up according to instructions there.

I’ve used neck pumpkin in pies, and I’ve also served it in all the ways I serve butternut squash. Butternut squash is a tad smoother and it has a richer flavor, but neck pumpkin tastes just fine.

My neck pumpkins grew to about 12 pounds this year, but the seeds I planted came from a 20 pound behemoth. The giveaway includes enough seeds from one of my neck pumpkins for you to plant at least one hill of squash.

Andes Tomatoes from Your Home Kitchen Garden

Also in this year’s giveaway are seeds from my crop of Andes paste tomatoes. I don’t know for sure that my tomatoes are of the Andes variety, but they match descriptions I’ve read and they look identical to photos of Andes. I started with seeds from some tomatoes a neighbor gave me, and the seeds I’m giving away came from my second year’s harvest.

blue hubbard squash from Your Small Kitchen Garden

Supposedly the model for the alien pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, blue hubbard squash can look quite gnarly. I’ll dissect this modest blue hubbard over the weekend so seeds have time to dry out before I mail them in February. You can get some of the seeds from this squash to plant in your kitchen garden. Visit Your Small Kitchen Garden Seed Giveaway to learn how.

I love these tomatoes. They are indeterminate and have performed extremely well in my garden… and they taste terrific.

Blue Hubbarb Squash

The blue Hubbard squash is among the most beautiful of squashes. It’s exotic, and you might even feel that a whole fruit is ugly. However, the meat of a blue Hubbard runs from blue/green toward the skin, to yellow toward the center of the fruit. It’s gorgeous.

The meat is also delicious, having a squashier flavor than butternut; I like blue Hubbard for my pumpkin pies and other baked goods, but it would be terrific mashed, grilled, or baked.

 

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christmas cactus flower at your home kitchen garden

I don’t mean to mislead in the post’s main text; there are actually more than a dozen blossoms on my Christmas cactus. This shot captured just one blossom aglow with sunlight against the backdrop of my kitchen garden under snow.

It’s Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (read about it on Carol’s blog over at May Dreams Gardens), and my Home Kitchen Garden is under snow. When I limit my definition of “garden” to that plot of land where I plant stuff in the spring, I have nothing to share on this winter Bloom Day. However, I’ve always defined my garden as the entire collection of plants that I tend—wherever they may be.

So, this bloom day, as did Carol on her blog, I present my Christmas Cactus. This plant started as a cutting from my daughter’s cactus back in summer of 2008. So far, the only care it has received is watering. Oh, and I turn the pot from time-to-time. It’s kind of a practical joke. I imagine the plant when sunlight comes through the window the next day: “Hey! I thought I had my leafy stemmy things all pointing in the right direction, and now this?”

I love that you can see the anti-rodent fence that surrounds my vegetable bed in the background of the photo… and snow on the ground in front of it. The snow provides insulation for a thick layer of autumn leaves my kids raked onto the soil. The leaves will break down a little quicker now that there’s snow on them.

While there are no other flower blossoms in my home kitchen garden in January, I snuck in two other photos that were begging for attention. I hope you enjoy them.

 

pampas grass at your home kitchen garden

All I know about the names of ornamental plants I learned from designing golf courses for the old Mean 18 game back in the 1980s and 90s. Drawing on that extensive education, I can say with authority that I have always liked pampas grass… and this stand of it looks pretty awesome even so far into winter. If it’s not pampas grass, please drop a note to Accolade, the company that produced Mean 18.

 

ornament at your home kitchen garden

The sun sometimes streams through our living room window in late afternoon. One day last week (I know: not a true Bloom Day photo), it lit up this handmade ornament, and I captured a few shots. This one makes me think of flowers in someone else’s garden. Today I stowed the ornaments in the garage and started thinking seriously about spring gardening. Still 2 months before I should start seeds. Sigh.

 

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