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Queensland Blue squash
‘Queensland Blue’ squash grown by Herbert Birch of Coopers Mills, Maine, exhibited at the 2009 Common Ground Country Fair. English photo.


Articles

‘Gleisdorfer’ pumpkinWe usually class pumpkins along with other succulent vegetables; however a particular type of pumpkin is much more nutrient-dense, in that it is an oilseed, like sunflowers, sesame and peanuts. For centuries, Eastern European farmers have raise pumpkins for the seed from which quality oil was pressed. This served as a vegetable oil where olives could not be grown.

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Amy GoldmanAmy Goldman is a passionate gardener, seed saver, author and well-known advocate for heirloom fruits and vegetables. She has been putting food on the table since she was a teenager. At the Common Ground Country Fair, Goldman spoke eloquently about pumpkins, squashes and gourds of unsurpassed beauty, exceptional flavor and rare form.

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Chris Awald didn’t set out to breed a new pumpkin variety; he just wanted a stronger handle for his jack-o-lanterns. Sixteen years ago, with the ink barely dry on his degree in land surveying, Awald returned to the family homestead near Buffalo, New York.

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Squash grown by Wendy KarushLast fall defied all that I know to be true of weather in New England. After waiting until mid-October for the still elusive frost to come, I realized that I was now two or three weeks behind my usual fall schedule of garden cleanup and compost building. I began pulling lush pepper and tomato plants, wheeling my loaded cart past equally lush rows of unfrosted basil. I bit my lip and pulled summer squash and pole beans that were still producing blossoms and immature fruit.

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Buttercup squashOn a cold and snowy day in January, Rob Johnston Jr., Chairman of Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Albion, Maine, urged growers to go home after Maine’s Agricultural Trades Show and do their “winter kitchen table work. Do it tonight in front of the wood stove. Spring comes quickly … and seed companies tend to run out of things further in the spring.”

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Pumpkin plants are especially sensitive to transplant shock, so they must be treated with care. Transplants should be seeded about three weeks before they’ll be set in the field. They should be transplanted at the two- to four-true-leaf stage. Larger plants tend to be shocked by transplanting more easily.

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