Sunday, January 04, 2009

What to Grow 2009 - Pumpkins

It's time to start planning for the 2009 garden. I'm starting with pumpkins and need your help.

Snackjack pumpkins have been a favorite of mine. They are a nice size for cooking and they provide rather hulless seeds for roasting. I didn't locate seeds last year, however. So instead, I grew Small Sugar pumpkins. They have been good for eating, but the seeds were not so good for roasting. Here is more of the 2006 Snackjack harvest.

This week, the R.H. Shumway's catalog and Territorial Seed catalog arrived. I've never ordered from Shumway's as I've tended to favor northwest seed suppliers and their recommendations for our somewhat cooler summers. There in the Shumway's I found the Snackjacks! Do you have any experience with Shumway's?

MORE QUESTIONS:
1. Is it true that if I grow more than one type of open pollinated pumpkins, I'll need to keep them isolated?
2. If I don't succeed in keeping them isolated, will it impact the quality of the produce or will it just mean the seeds (& future generations) won't necessary be true to the parent?
3. Snackjacks are a hybrid. Will they have any impact on the open pollinated variety?
ANSWERS from Molly: Nothing will affect this year's crop. If you wanted to save seeds for planting you'd have to keep your pumpkins far away from not just other pumpkins, but winter and summer squash.

MORE VARIETIES:
Territorial Seed offers a little white and orange stripped pumpkin that looks a lot like my mystery pumpkin in this post. It is a Lil' Pump-Ke-Mon pumpkin. Mine grew from a decoration I had bought the year before so I didn't know if I should eat it. This PKM one is cute and edible.

I will grow more Rouge vif d'Etampes (below), but as a open pollinated variety, my questions above apply. They are beautiful and good eating. For some reason, mine didn't store well, however. And from my neighbor, I have some Holland's Land O Giants pumpkin seeds to grow. These are mondo prize-winning pumpkins from a Washington grower. ... I think it is time to start that second pumpkin patch on the other side of the house!

From Tina: Blue Moon pumpkins have flavor, seeds and color. "The skin is a nice blue/gray, but the flesh is the most beautiful, rich color - makes fab cookies and pies. The seeds are plump and delicious.It's really a wonderful pumpkin!"

From Molly: Suggests Mars pumpkins for our cool NW. "...Although I needed to ripen them in the greenhouse after the weather got cold, they did turn orange and they are really nice and sweet. They seem to be keeping well, also."

I appreciate your input on the open pollination questions and more pumpkin varieties!

7 comments:

Molly said...

Nothing will affect this year's crop. If you wanted to save seeds for planting you'd have to keep your pumpkins far away from not just other pumpkins, but winter and summer squash. In one 6 x 9 bed I grew pumpkins, three varieties of winter squash and two varieties of summer squash and all were true to type, whether hybrids or open pollinated.
When I grew Small Sugar in Utah I got huge plump seeds. I don't try to grow them here because it's just too cold most summers. I suspect you didn't get nice plump seeds because they didn't ripen completely in the garden. This year I grew Mars and although I needed to ripen them in the greenhouse after the weather got cold, they did turn orange and they are really nice and sweet. They seem to be keeping well, also.
Got my seed from valueseeds.com.

Petunia's Gardener said...

Molly,
Thanks for the information. Now I have it in writing that I can grow many pumpkins and squash, as long as I'm not relying on my own seed saving abilities!

I recently had some pumpkin seeds at a restaurant and they were small but plump. I searched for the best variety for seeds, but didn't find anything specific. As you stated, it probably depends on how ripe they get during the growing season. I'll also add Mars to my reference list.

I hope you've seen Karen's (Greenwalks) note about a possible gathering of Seattle area garden bloggers. Could be a good exchange of ideas, seeds and other things.

Thanks, again!
Paula

Tina said...

Thanks to a generous blogger, I now grow only 'Blue Moon' pumpkins - for the flavor and seeds. The skin is a nice blue/gray, but the flesh is the most beautiful, rich color - makes fab cookies and pies. The seeds are plump and delicious.
It's really a wonderful pumpkin! (and people tend to wonder about the blue skin. lol)

Matron said...

I have you to thank for introducing me to the wonderful Rouge vif Detamps pumpkins! I am just about to use up the last of my last pumpkin! Definitely one for next year!

Petunia's Gardener said...

Tina - thanks for the tip on the interesting Blue Moon! Sounds perfect and I like unusual.

Matron - From blue pumpkins to red pumpkins - this is why I want to be able to grow many varieties!

Paula

Molly said...

Paula, if you haven't already placed your order with Territorial this year would you mind if I piggybacked on your order? I only need one or two packets, so I hate to pay their huge minimum charge for shipping.

Petunia's Gardener said...

Molly,
I haven't placed an order with TS yet. Last year, I found the few things I needed locally so I didn't order. That is a hefty shipping charge, isn't it!

I'd be happy to share an order. I should determine what I might want in the next few weeks. Can you wait a little before ordering?