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  • In the Garden: Cloudy with a Chance of Confusion August 29, 2014
    I met a new butterfly this week.  This particular butterfly is one of the skippers. Skippers are in the Superfamily Hesperioidea, as opposed to say, Swallowtails or Milkweed Butterflies that are in the Papilionoidea Superfamily encompassing Butterflies (excluding skippers). Skippers are a diverse bunch and often hard to identify. This skipper was rather larg […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Native Plants Beyond the Garden August 28, 2014
    I love having native plants in my garden. Every moment that I can do so finds me slipping into the garden to find a beautiful flower, a hummingbird sipping on cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), an insect collecting food or collecting prey, and to listen to the sweet song of birds. As much as I love […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see al […]
    Ellen Honeycutt
  • When a Tree Falls in the Schoolyard August 25, 2014
    We had only one shade tree at our suburban DC elementary school, a 50ish-year-old pin oak, and it was cut down over the summer without notice. After the shock and swearing wore off, I started thinking about how we could use what remained. Almost anything can be turned into a lesson, including a prominently placed […] We love hearing from you! Please click he […]
    Stacey Evers
  • The Worms Crawl In but Do They Swim? August 22, 2014
    This week I noticed that there was some webbing on a Baldcypress tree I planted a while back. At some point my property was likely home to many of these trees as is evident by decaying knees I see when the pond level gets low.  These majestic trees require wet conditions during part of the year […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the b […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Native Shrubs for Small Gardens August 19, 2014
    For those with small wildlife gardens, gardening with native plants has always been a challenge. Natives tend to be not just large size but absolutely huge. Fortunately the nursery industry is responding to the growing demand for wildlife friendly native plants for the small space garden. Plant breeders have come out with some outstanding dwarf […] We love h […]
    Karyl Seppala
  • Wildlife Deception as a Defense August 15, 2014
    Tanner, the English Setter was headed out for his afternoon stroll of the yard.  I saw something over behind a tall cluster of Bidens alba and it seemed to be thrashing.  Tanner zoomed on over and flushed out a Red-Shouldered Hawk.  The hawk flew off with its feathers somewhat ruffled in the quick getaway. Tanner […] We love hearing from you! Please click he […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Baldcypress Ecosystem August 13, 2014
    Birding in Delaware at Trap Pond State Park, a baldcypress ecosystem. After a wonderful trip aboard the Mummichog II for the Cape Water Taxi Ecotour to explore the ecosystem of the Indian River Bay in southeastern Delaware, today we headed to southwestern Delaware to explore a fresh water ecosystem. Trap Pond State Park, near Laurel, […] We love hearing from […]
    Carole Sevilla Brown
  • Cardinal Flower August 12, 2014
      Hummingbirds love it. So do I. If it was a Corvette Stingray, the color would be called “Victory Red.” It is a blazing, brilliant, red, not often seen in a native plant. In the picture above, you see a sweat bee, using a leaf as a resting spot on the Cardinal Flower’s, Lobelia cardinalis, landing […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all t […]
    Brenda Clements Jones
  • Raising Question Mark butterflies August 11, 2014
    Question Mark butterflies can be elusive if you don’t know how to attract them to your beautiful wildlife garden. They are drawn more to sap runs (often created by woodpeckers) and rotting fruit than the flowers in your yard. If you have a plum or cherry tree you may see these and other butterflies feeding […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to s […]
    Judy Burris

#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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