This year, 2021, we grew at least 11 different cultivars of winter squash and pumpkins. ( I say “at least” because we can’t peg an ID on some of them.)
While our 2020 winter squash haul gave us some behemoths, this year all of our winter squash and pumpkins were medium sized or smaller. But wow, did we have quite the variety in our harvest! (And they’re so photogenic!)
And with a total of 29 individual squashes weighing in at a grand total of 52 pounds, this is more than enough to enjoy one squash a week through the cold months.
Here’s what we grew:
Emerald Naked Seed
‘Emerald Naked Seed’ is a variety grown for its seeds, which are hull-less.
We have tried to grow other types of hull-less winter squash before, including one called ‘Lady Godiva’ but all of our previous attempts were unsuccessful.
You know what happens when you’re unsuccessful with growing a certain crop? Well, for us, we just keep trying – and that makes us all the more excited when we finally succeed!
‘Lofthouse Moschata’ is a landrace sold by Experimental Farm Networks.
Most of our winter squash seeds came from Experimental Farm Networks this year, probably because we are kind of an experimental farm as well! The work of this seed seller resonates with us.
Ah hem. Welcome to my possible all time favorite – ‘Potimarron.’
I have a special relationship with this little pumpkin. It’s one of the first I learned to love during my 14 years living in Paris, France. It has dry flesh and a nutty flavor, and is an absolute delight. I like to eat it with the skin.
More on my thoughts about this cultivar – coming soon.
‘Chirimen’ is a gorgeous kabocha-type squash.
It’s dark green, squat, and deeply ribbed.
‘Dishpan Cushaw’ is a pumpkin with white skin.
This is our first time growing this one – it’s supposed to be great for pumpkin pie!
Galeux D’eysines is a French heirloom variety.
When larger they get quite warty. Ours was only a little warty, since we had to pick it young because of an early fall frost.
We grew several landraces, obtained from Experimental Farm Network: Desert Spirit Landrace, Lofthouse Buttercup Landrace, Nanticoke Landrace, Pueblo Highlands Landrace, and Pumpkin Patch Landrace.
When the vines grew they got quite mixed up so it’s hard to tell for sure which pumpkins are which variety!
But they’re all gorgeous.
The problem with growing beautiful winter squash and pumpkins is that they are so pretty to have around – serving a double purpose as both food, and autumn decor – that we can have a hard time bringing ourselves to eat them.
We tend to start eating those that were picked immature (because of frost risk) since they don’t keep as well.
Once the immature ones are gone, we move on those that are a little less special, not as spectacular looking.
Of course, eventually we have to start digging into the pretty ones.
This last one is one of our favorites. It’s a pale pinkish orange color with faint green mottling. And it has that perfect pumpkin shape.
When we do decide to eat one of our lovingly grown winter squashes, otherwise known as “butchering a squash,” as Chad calls it, it’s a momentous occasion in our kitchen.
Our summer gardening season requires a lot of hard work from both of us, but when the garden is put to bed, the farm is covered with snow, and we select a winter squash to eat on a short, cold day, it makes all our efforts worthwhile.
Hungry yet? I love cooking pumpkins in many different ways, but one of my favorites is this recipe for winter squash potage that I learned in Paris – it has a special meaning for me.