My Pumpkin's a Mess!

Yes its true!  I have two pumpkin plants – and OMG they are taking over.  I planted many vegetables in one garden at the front.  The pumpkin plant (yes only one) has throttled the zucchinis, the beans, the  capsicums, the cucumbers and a couple of tomato plants.  Due to its huuuuge leaves the lettuce died from lack of sun.  I had put chicken wire up around the garden bed to try and stop the pup from dancing on the garden bed and digging up the plants – she does love a good gardening session and after she’s watched me dig up the dirt, put in the plants, water and fertilise she gets to work herself!  Although frankly this time I could have left off the chicken wire and let the pumpkin plant have its way with her!  The plant has sent many long and convoluted viney bits through the wire – so you can’t get it back or take off the wire without breaking the plant.  There is one pumpkin in the garden – the rest are all over the place.  There’s two out the front of the garden bed, there’s two heading towards the front steps;  there’s another two under the house (I’m not going there, could be snake territory).  And one tried to shin up one of my little pine trees at the front of the house!  No, d@mnit, you are not taking over that poor tree, its taken years to get it to look happy and its one of a pair – so keep your viney bits to yourself please!  Manners, really.   Then there’s the one out the back.  It self seeded in the compost heap.  I thought it was cute, so left it.  Did I mention before that snakes like compost heaps?  Well snakes like viney things with huge leaves even better.  Cover?  Insulation?  Scary, what?  So now we can’t get anywhere near the compost heap.  You have to stand a couple of metres away and throw – I was never any good at basketball or netball so its not a good look.  Then there’s the grass that is going beserk over there.  And then there’s the washing line!  Once it gets its viney bits on my washing we’ll be sunk.  There used to be a small square of concrete there near the compost heap, one of the boys left a wheel-less motor bike there (spare parts mum – junk son).  You can’t see either now – its a mass of pumpkin vine.  I’m going to call it landscaping for the birthday party – then lookout plant – I want my backyard back!  Its like Day of the Triffids.  And somehow I doubt that there will be enough pumpkins to keep us through winter (well that would be a lot of pumpkins since we love the stuff no matter what you do with it.) 

So you can boil and mash pumpkin with some butter, everyday seasoning, garlic.  Add some mashed potato and you’re set!  You need a smallish to medium pumpkin for boiling and roasting – keep the big beggars for soup!

You can roast pumpkin, along with potato’s, sweet potato’s, carrots, and onions.  Dont forget the garlic, olive oil, and eurospice Herb and garlic mix.  Leave the skin on, you can either eat it cooked, or just cut the pumpkin off the skin on your plate.

Then you can make pumpkin soup.  Are you thinking about those peeling blisters on your hands?  Do you only ever use Butternut Pumpkin because its easier to peel?  Well here’s a tip:

Get a massive big pumpkin – one of those with the ‘gathered’ skin that is so hard to peel. 

Cut the top off around the stem.  Use a sharp knife, but be careful, and have the bandaids ready jic.

The scoop out all the seeds (put them to one side so you can get the shreddy stuff off them and dry them for next year – dont forget to write what they are on the envelope when they are dry). 

Then add some butter inside the pumpkin, some garlic, some italian herb seasoning, some nutmeg and cinnamon if you like it (my kids don’t), some chopped onion, or onion flakes if you’re trying to get some of your family to eat onion.  Then shove the top piece back on top.  Put it on a tray and shove it into the oven.  Cook until the pumpkin is fairly soft, you should be able to stab it with a knife fairly easily when cooked.   Take it out of the oven.  Cut it into large slices, and scoop the pumpkin flesh off the skin with a spoon.  Don’t get the kids to help you with this part or you won’t have enough to make soup out of.

Then add the pumpkin, some water and some more herbs to the slow cooker and turn it on, you can add more water and use a blender to make it very smooth, or just use one of those hand mashers to have thick chunky soup.  If you have a bread maker it would have been good to get that started before you cooked the pumpkin, but too late now, so go down the shop and buy a nice cob loaf (brown if you can get it) and Enjoy.   If you have the smooth fluidy soup adding a dollop of sour cream in the middle of the bowl is awesome too.

Vitamins in pumpkins?  and is orange good for you?

Vitamen A, C, K and E.  Alpha and Beta caratenoids (anti oxidants) and minerals Iron, Potassium and Magnesium.  Pepitas or pumpkin seeds are also said to be good for guarding against prostate cancer and osteoporosis.  Go pumpkins!   Orange is an awesomely healthy colour (for your vegetables, if you’re looking a trifle orange yourself get back to some green and red vege’s as well.)

Pumpkin seeds or pepitas are great things too – you can eat them on their own, mix with other seeds and nuts like sunflower seeds, almonds, whatever takes your taste buds fancy.  Or you can throw some into muffins when your mixing them.  Although I’d need to find the muffin recipe’s for that one…ask me another day!  You can also put seeds and nuts into salads – then you don’t need to eat so much meat – you get enough flavour with just the salad and give yourself a rest from all that animal protein now and again.
Now if you’re interested in Raised Garden Beds and you want to build your own have a look at these plans. I could be spending my winter building up a pack of these. I like the thought of not having to bend down all the time, and I’m also wondering if it would discourage the pup from dancing in the garden? Well maybe not, she is a gardener after all (d@mn dog). Click Here!

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