The Great Pumpkin and His Local Cousin

Just used my last jar of canned pumpkin. I love pumpkin custard, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, roasted pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin empanadas.

Pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo) are easy to grow in Texas and Washington. I am about to find out whether I can grow them in the mountains of New Mexico.

It is close to my last frost date so I potted three pumpkin seeds in my south window. They are up already. My growing season here is about 120 days, very short, and my sugar (pie) pumpkins need 90 days to harvest. Three plants are enough for one hill, and all I will probably plant.

My goal is to can 12 pints of pumpkin this fall. If my pumpkins do well, I will have that and more to share. Pumpkins store well if you rinse them in bleach and water, dry them off, and store in a cool place with their stems intact.

Jack O Lantern type pumpkins are not the best to eat, and tiny decorative pumpkins are cute gifts but not for eating.

The leaves are tasty, although they have a funny hairy texture. I slice them fine and add to other greens in salads. In Mexico they dip the flowers in batter and fry them, which I ate but have never made. I have chopped the flowers and put them in scrambled eggs or omelettes.

Pumpkins are native to the “New World” and Buffalo Gourd (Cucurbita foetidissima) grows here in the mountains. Although it is not edible to me, it is beloved of Hummingbird Moths (Hyles lineata).

Hummingbird Moths are astonishing. They are large and have a hummingbird-like flight with pink on their wings. The caterpillars have two color phases, and are very large also.

I have a lot of Four O’Clock (Mirabilis multiflora) which is one of the caterpillar host plants. Beautiful and drought tolerant, I am trying to make a hedge of it on the outside of my front fence where it is steep,hot, and dry. Dolores lives across from me and I gave her a bag of Four O’Clock seed for her garden since she loves my (in process) hedge. It is a medicinal plant.

Everything is related.


About rebeccatreeseed

I am a naturalist raised by naturalists. Treeseed is my earned name, while Rebecca is my birth name. I am of Northern European descent, with a quarter Irish.quarter thrown in. I suspect I was a product of northern invaders into Ireland into Ireland. but hard to say since DNA disproved the family story about Apache blood! I have found some odd ancestors to replace them. Last year I bought 5 acres of pinyon-juniper forest on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of a cabin in the mountains and a food forest that will feed me and local wildlife. I want to share this new phase of my life with others that might be interested.
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2 Responses to The Great Pumpkin and His Local Cousin

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