Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Great Crooked-Neck Squash

So some of you saw my Facebook status yesterday about my garden ... the story gets more interesting. Most of you know I loooooove gardening. Earlier this year the neighborhood newspaper even did a story on home vegetable gardens, and my 100+ seedlings were featured on the cover. The adorable squash seedlings, in particular, were the most attractive cover models. Unfortunately, the "greenhouse" was at Friend-who-cooks-Pancakes's house, not my own, so only about 1/3 of the seedlings survived the spring.

I gave many away, but I planted a few tomatoes, peppers, loads of herbs, and two squash plants in my front yard. The squash seemed happy in their little patch of land where I have grown zucchini and squash for the past few years. They've grown to about two feet tall or more in huge green mounds with glorious orange blossoms (cue the fiddle) peeking out from the base of the plants. There were also about 3-4 "volunteer" seedlings that grew out of the ground, the results of letting last years zucchini drop seeds in my yard.

A few days ago at Kyle's house, I harvested three squash from his plants, all of which were the same height and prowess as mine. But my blossoms were not producing. This angered me, especially because the plants just keep growing, spilling over the sidewalk at points. The sidewalks were infiltrated last year as well, but not this early in the season.

That's when I found my first little squash growing right out of one of those orange blossoms. Only it was short and fat, not slender and elegant. I shrieked and called over to Friend-with-a-Truck who confirmed my hypothesis: These are pumpkins!!!

At first annoyed, I soon giggled gleefully at the thought of a Pumpkin Patch in my front yard. The new neighbors two doors down were just commenting on my front yard garden, -- in a nice way, not in a passive-agressive-please-stop-growing-food-in-the-front kind of way -- and they've got two little kids. How fun would it be to have the most locally grown Halloween decorations possible? So I trimmed it back a little -- and by "it" I mean actually about three or four plants that are very quickly taking over the yard.

My only explanation is that my roommates never threw away their Halloween decorations from last fall. I was in Europe on tour during the season, so I never even bought a pumpkin. And upon further recollection -- and examination of my pumpkin patch -- I think the plants are actually producing ... mini-pumpkins!!! You know, those decorative teeny-weeny pumpkins.

Part of me thinks that if you're going to have a pumpkin patch in your front yard, you should be growing massive, giant, state-fair winning pumpkins. Aren't mini-pumpkins kind of a cop-out? Or is it just that much more ridiculous?

Either way, I'm keeping it. For now. Pictures to follow.


  1. I think mini pumpkins are cute!

  2. Typically I think a pumpkin patch should be rather large. If your garden is on the small side (I think you mentioned it is), then don't think of them as a cop out. Think of the patch as being a mini-pumpkin-patch. The pumkin size matches the patch size. It's all about scale.

    Besides what's cuter than a yard full of tiny pumpkins??