The Pumpkin Patch

One of my family’s favorite October activities is visiting local farms. We love the fall experiences and especially love bringing home pumpkins for decorating and carving. We were able to visit Kuhlwein’s recently and spent time looking through their fields of pumpkins. I am always impressed with the variety in the shapes, sizes, and wonderful imperfections that adds special character to each find. After finding the perfect one to carve, sometimes it is hard to wait to begin our artistic endeavors that will help make Halloween memories. Waiting, however, has lead for time to research and gather some thoughts on pumpkins.

Fun facts:

In 2014, the USDA reported approx. 90,000 acres of pumpkins were planted in the US – yielding approximately 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkin – or 5.39 pounds per person.

Selecting a Healthy Pumpkin:

To find a long lasting pumpkin, look for one that is plump and healthy. Healthy pumpkins will have green and well attached stem.

Save the seeds:

My family is excited to try something new this year. We are going to save a few seeds from our pumpkins and try planting them next spring. Here is a link to info on how to save the seeds if you are interested in trying it as well:

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/pumpkin/saving-pumpkin-seeds-how-to-store-pumpkin-seed-for-planting.htm

Ever since kindergarten I have been hooked on roasted pumpkin seeds. I remember my teacher bringing an electric skillet to school and making us a fall treat. If you have never tried, here is a link to get you started.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/pumpkin-seeds-recipe-2105941

How long will a carved pumpkin last:

Expect a carved pumpkin to last approximately 5 days, although it is common to see some mold begin to grow after a couple days.

To make a jack-o-lantern last longer, 8 to 10 days, soak the pumpkin in a solution of water and bleach after carving (1 tsp of bleach per 1 gallon of water). The bleach and water solution will kill bacteria that helps with decomposition. Note: Several sources suggest caution in regards to adding a treated pumpkin to compost piles, as bleach could also destroy good bacterial in the compost.

Solar Powered Jack-o-Lantern:

Solar powered landscape lights are inexpensive and readily available. Try lighting your jack-o-lantern with this safe and energy friendly option.

Disposal:

Many of the pumpkins sold in the US unfortunately end up in the landfill; however, composting is the best and easiest way of disposing unused pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns. Simply add to your compost pile. If you do not have a compost pile simply placing your pumpkin in a garden, and in contact with the soil, will start the decomposition process.

Sweet Treats:

Last but not least, how can a blog about pumpkins not mention the wonderful treats made with pumpkin! Please comment and let us know your favorites. Better yet, share the recipe.