My organic vegetable garden is a mess of vines. Among the varieties of heirloom tomatoes, Armenian cucumber, summer squash, and eggplant that I planted in late spring, I also tucked in my favorite Butternut squash and French sugar pumpkins. The vines, although producing prolifically, have taken over. I can hardly get in to pick the tomatoes and I can’t see my chickens for the vines.

 

 

 

Chickens emerge from beneath the squash and pumpkin vines

Chickens emerge from beneath the squash and pumpkin vines as they forage for worms in the garden

 

 

Next year, I’m going to try Bush Buttercup from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. The squash has the same orange flesh and firm rind but grows on bushy plants that say compact and grow between three and four feet high. The fruits weigh three to four pounds.

 

 

And maybe, with permission of my neighbor who has a large growing area adjoining our property I might plant Boston Marrow (first documented in 1831). That orange-fleshed squash can weigh up to 15 pounds. A native American tribe distributed the seed to settlers in New York and from there, the seed went to gardens in Massachusetts and spread elsewhere.

 

 

Butternut squash is and old garden favorite and stores well

Butternut squash is rich in nutrients, versatile in culinary creations, and stores well

 

 

Another squash from that Baker Creek Seeds that I’d like to growl is Iran. Collected in Torbat-e-Heydariyeh, Iran in 1940 and preserved at the United States Department of Agriculture since, this is one of the loveliest of the ornamental squash. Orange color mottles its sea-foam green rind.

 

 

 

French sugar pumpkin are small but perfect for pies

French sugar pumpkin are small but perfect for pies

 

 

 

The pumpkins in my garden are Rouge Vif D’Etampes. I grew these with great success last year and saved the seed of this old French heirloom. A variety of seed companies carry this seed, including Baker Creek Seeds that notes it was one of the “most common pumpkins in the Central Market in Paris in the 1880′s . . . can be picked small and fried.”I like this one especially for pie making.

 

 

Squash and pumpkins taste great in Italian, Mexican, French, Middle Eastern, and American recipes. Rich in flavor and nutrients, squash and pumpkins can be made into soups, breads, mixed-vegetable dishes, and pies or can be baked, boiled, steamed, or fried. Even the blossoms are edible. So, it should be apparent why I need more room in my garden. Now to figure out how to keep it orderly.

 

 

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