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  • Skink Wars and More on These Sleek Lizards March 28, 2015
    I was on the patio late one afternoon and the trashcan was rocking.  I glanced over since you never know what creature of nature will be visiting my place.  I figured that maybe a black racer or water snake had slithered underneath the wheels setting the rocking in motion. Then I heard thrashing and a […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see al […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Spring Garden Care March 26, 2015
      Spring Garden Care People who care about attracting wildlife to their gardens usually learn over time about best practices for fall cleanup and especially the fact that it’s really beneficial for our birds if we refrain from relentlessly cutting perennials to the ground before winter. But what then happens in the spring for garden care?   Here in […] We lo […]
    Jesse Elwert
  • Downy Woodpeckers March 24, 2015
    A welcome visitor to my garden, throughout the entire year: the Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens. They are small woodpeckers. In fact, they are the smallest woodpecker native to North America. The Downy is generally about 6 3/4 inches long. The picture, above, is a female. She is dressed entirely in black and white, while the […] We love hearing from you […]
    Brenda Clements Jones
  • Spring has sprung at Cincinnati Nature Center March 23, 2015
    My family spent the day hiking the trails at the Cincinnati Nature Center in Milford, Ohio this past Saturday.  It was a beautiful, perfect day to get some fresh air and snap photos of all the new life popping up in the woods and at the ponds. The amphibians have already been busy laying masses […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the b […]
    Judy Burris
  • Bluebird Babies Shepherd in Spring 2015 March 20, 2015
    Big doings at my Central Florida home today.  First day of spring and what could be more rewarding than having the first brood of Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) hatch?  NOTHING! I saw mom and dad doing a bit of back and fourth to the nest box early this morning. Such activity is a sure sign […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the be […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Springtime Means Native Plant Garden Tours: Put on Your Walking Shoes March 19, 2015
    When spring comes, I welcome the chance to put on my walking shoes and head out to native plant garden tours.  Garden tours are a great way to get ideas of what you can do with your own native plant garden.  Sometimes, we go to botanical gardens to get ideas or look to see what’s […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful photos […]
    Kathy Vilim
  • Don’t Skip the Long-Tailed Skipper Butterfly March 13, 2015
    I spotted a skipper butterfly flitting from leaf to leaf on the ticktrefoil (Desmodium spp.). This woody somewhat vine-y genus of plants has many different species.  I’m still not confident in my identification to species, and I tend to think that this one is introduced rather than the native. Since I saw the butterfly on […] We love hearing from you! Please […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Maplicious March 12, 2015
    For most of the year the red maple (Acer rubrum) is an overlooked and underappreciated tree. It is native throughout the eastern US, from the South to the Mid-Atlantic and beyond. It hops right over the Mississippi River and sashays down into eastern Texas. Such a ubiquitous plant is bound to be taken for granted, […] We love hearing from you! Please click h […]
    Ellen Honeycutt
  • It Must Be Spring—I Saw a Robin! March 10, 2015
    This time of year in Indiana I often hear people say excitedly, “Spring is not far away; I saw a robin!” Actually robins should not be used to herald the arrival of spring. This is a common myth. Every autumn robins migrate southward but every winter many robins stay in the northern states and southern […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see a […]
    Joni James

#GardenChat

Talking Pumpkins?!

I would rather sit on a pumpkin

and have it all to myself,

than be crowded on a velvet cushion.

~Henry David Thoreau

Our heirloom pumpkin harvest is still a few weeks off. Though the vines are starting to die back a bit and the leaves beginning to show some signs of powder mildew from the cool, rainy days, the stems are still very green and new blossoms are still being produced… albeit few and far between. This is the perfect time, about three weeks before the harvest, for a fun fall pumpkin project.

We grow four varieties of pumpkins and winter squash each year and every bit of the sweet flesh is steamed, pureed and stored for using all winter (we love winter squash), but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a bit of fun with them first. Shallow etching of words and pictures into the shells of the squash before they are harvested results in a very cool design that slowly appears as the “wound” heals over. It’s easy, fun and a unique way to show off your harvest!

What You Need:

  • Pumpkins large enough to etch, still attached to the vine and about three weeks shy of harvest time.
  • A carving tool. We use the point of an old corkscrew. Anything with a fine, sharp point works well, including a small drill bit.
  • A pen or marker to draw the design. (optional)
  • A rag or sponge.

What You Do:

  • Using the tip of your chosen tool, trace a shallow imprint of your design into the shell of the pumpkin.
  • Retrace the design, pressing harder to etch the shell to a depth no more than 1/4″. The designs can be as simple or complex as you’d like.
  • A vegetable peeler tip is perfect to remove any bits of colored shell left.
  • When you are finished, soak a rag/sponge with chamomile tea and wipe the shell. (Chamomile has anti-bacterial properties which will help protect the etched areas.)
  • Do not use bleach or soap…especially if you plan to eat the squash later.

That’s it!  Watch the pumpkins carefully the first few days and continue to wipe them down until the etched areas have begun to heal over. It’s a lot of fun to see the design become more pronounced as time passes…and the look on friends’ faces when they see your ‘talking pumpkins’ is priceless! Happy gardening!

2 comments to Talking Pumpkins?!

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