Growing Our Pumpkin Patch
Pumpkin patches have always gone hand-in-hand with the Autumn season, ripening just in time for the cooler weather and harvested when the leaves are turning bright colours. In the last few years we've seen a huge jump in the variety and hues of squash and pumpkins headlining patios and front doors, with new looks inspiring creative fall displays! This year is no different, and I've scoured the seed catalogues to find the most interesting pumpkins and squash to grow.
Before the Autumn Season
These seeds are actually planted and germinated indoors in May, while everyone is stocking up on spring annuals for their garden! In our controlled growing environment at West Coast Gardens greenhouses in Surrey BC, they sprout very quickly and by June they can be planted outdoors. Each plant produces one or two (or sometimes three) large pumpkins.
During the summer the larger leaves are removed, to allow the fruit to get more sun and ripen nicely. Our field grower neighbour raises these plants, until they can be harvested with all the colourful bounty produced during the summer growing season. This year in the lower mainland of BC, the weather was perfect for pumpkin and squash plants, not too hot, and enough periodic rain to keep them happy.
There's A Pumpkin for Everyone!
It's amazing that there are so many different colours and shapes of pumpkins and squash, and I have a hard time picking a favourite. This year we grew a number of show-stopping varieties! The ever popular Jarrahdale, with its wide base and sophisticated grey-green colouring is actually native to Australia, and will surprise you with its bright orange interior. Rouge vif d'étempes is one of the boldest French heirloom pumpkins, with a bright orange hue that's not the traditional version you see around. Giant Polar Bear pumpkins in all white, which accent beautifully for the season if you want to get away from the usual colours and stay simple and clean. Porcelain Doll is a gorgeous pastel rosy pink variety for a softer Autumn feeling.
Rouge vif d'étempes
For something really different, our Blue Hubbard squash are not only a unique blue colour, but also grow in an elongated shape. Galeux d'Éysine, also known as the Peanut Pumpkin, is a French Heirloom variety with decorative white patches like jewel encrusted designs for the season. The Long Island Cheese pumpkins are flat, lightly ribbed and remind us of a cheese wheel (which is what some people say they taste like as well). And Lumina has a sort of green glow about it, as a subtle colour accent that catches your eye in a display.
Long Island Cheese
Beautiful Inside and Out
With all these colours and shapes, it's easy to get inspired by the pumpkin harvest and start decorating your indoors and outdoors for Autumn! Different coloured and sized pumpkins look amazing grouped together on your front door stoop, in a container garden or lining the driveway. Inside your home you can always add a pumpkin or two for a festive look that really celebrates the season.
Have fun picking out your favourites with the whole family, and making fall displays. You can even get creative with the pumpkin carving, with all these interesting shaped pumpkins now available, and light up your door on Halloween night. Happy Autumn, everyone!