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  • Monarda Madness May 21, 2015
    The first Monarda blooms of 2015 opened up this week, kicking off a series of great blooms from now until late summer.  Every year I learn to appreciate this genus of native flowers so much more until I feel that I might just be on the edge of monarda madness because last year I actually […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautifu […]
    Ellen Honeycutt
  • Twinleaf May 19, 2015
      A very early wildflower, Twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla, is native to eastern North America. It is a plant that I must remind myself to hunt for, well before I’m used to finding wildflowers blooming. Here in the mountains of central Virginia, that crucial time is late March into early April. Each flower only lasts for a very […] We love hearing from you! P […]
    Brenda Clements Jones
  • Trilliums April 21, 2015
    There is not much more thrilling than hiking through the woods and finding a patch of native wildflowers. Some are minuscule, not of bright color, others can knock your socks off. Trilliums fill the bill for knocking my socks off! In the picture above, you see White Trillium, Trillium grandiflorum, about to bloom in one of my gardens. I’ve […] We love hearin […]
    Brenda Clements Jones
  • Help for Hummers April 16, 2015
    Putting up a hummingbird feeder is a fun way to bring hummingbirds close to a viewing space like a window. Like other types of bird feeders, it is often the first step in developing a love of our feathered friends and a desire to nurture them. So once you’ve taken the first step, I’d encourage […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the be […]
    Ellen Honeycutt
  • Native Plant Appreciation Week, Osceola County Florida April 10, 2015
    Today’s article is going to be about promoting the use of native plants, mostly because I forgot that today was Friday and didn’t do any critter research. I’ve been busy promoting The Central Florida Native Plant Sale (3rd annual) which is today, April 10, 2015 from 4-7 p.m. and tomorrow from 8 a.m. – 1 […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Ladies of the Day April 3, 2015
    Notwithstanding their common name, I’ll start by clarifying that they aren’t all ladies.  After all, in North America the order odonata need male and female to reproduce. I’m not clear how these insects acquired their common name.  Damselflies are an interesting group of insects. Predatory in both larval and adult stages, these are insects you […] We love he […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • 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

#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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