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Who's Raising what this year?

We're growing summer squash this year although I'm plotting to plant at least a few hills of cucumbers somewhere soon.
Is anyone raising gourds this year?
According to a new study conducted by researchers at Penn State University, appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, cultivation of the wild version of gourds and squash saved the plant from extinction.

Before humans roamed the earth, prehistoric animals often ate wild cucurbita --precursors to these winter vegetables, which had a tougher rind and was more bitter than the pumpkins we know today.

Over time, climate change and the extinction of many large mammals—which facilitated the seed dispersal with their feces-- nearly caused the cucurbita to be wiped out. Without giant grazers, the land quickly filled in with thick vegetation which took away the open spaces that allow ground plants like pumpkins to flourish.

But when humans appeared on the scene, about 14,000 years ago, scientists say they began cultivating remaining strains of the cucurbita.

“There was probably a long-term retreat of wild populations into ecological refugia, habitat zones that were able to support the wild plants even in changing conditions,” explained Logan Kistler, the study’s lead author, to Popular Science. But eventually, most of the wild types disappeared entirely.

Domestication likely began in the area that is now Mexico and continued up toward North America. Due to the plants' bitterness, Kistler says the early cucurbita offspring probably wasn’t eaten but rather dried out and used for containers and tools. Humans also cleared out large patches of vegetation to establish new communities, thus providing an environment for the squash to flourish once again.

As farming technology advanced, scientists believe that the cucurbita was bred to be sweeter—much like farmers use breeding techniques today. Eventually they evolved into the modern version of pumpkin and squash we cook with today.

Kistler says that pumpkins have evolved so much due to human cultivation that, “one of the common types of canned pumpkin that a lot of people in the U.S. will be opening up for pies this season has no known wild counterpart [today].”


Squash Blossoms In Time


I have flowers and tiny proto-squash at about 6 weeks. The butternut squash will have about two warm months to grow, and then another month before first freeze.

Wild Cucurbitaceae


I can't take much credit for cultivating squash, when it actually grows wild, under very arid conditions. I'm not sure of the variety, but this may be what accidently cross-pollinated my C.moschata last year.


Here's a closer shot of the wild squash flower and fruit. Does anyone have a guess as to what it is? It's amazing that it can grow with virtually no rain for many months. Note: I think it's Cucurbita foetidissima, a wild arid species known by many names including buffalo gourd.


Here's my butternut squash. No flowers yet, but it's still less than a month old.

Garden Update

Really hot now as winds coming from the north. It was 105 yesterday and is forecast to be 102 today. I harvested the garlic and weeded the squash.


Here are three hills of squash 12 days after sprouting.

Cucurbits Abound!


This years' Butternut squash just sprouted, on the fifth day. Here is a close-up of one of three "hills". Maturity is in 100 days, which will be late October. A little known fact is that most commercial "pumpkin pie" filling is really butternut squash. I keep the mature squash in the garage and make pies all fall, winter and spring. It hasn't been blisteringly hot this summer, which is good for everything in the vegetable garden.

Cucurbits Abound


A few of my Butternut squash, in various developmental stages. Bermuda grass is all over the place, but I don't think it matters to the squash. I like butternut squash because you don't need to can or preserve it, it keeps for months in a cool place.


This year's crop of yellow squash is doing great. No bugs, and soon I can start picking. I freeze dry and also can this squash.

Mystery pumpkin?

Can you guys tell me what this is? Read more...Collapse )

Squash And An Odd Hybrid

My south bed squash planting is bearing. Yellow squash (C.pepo) is in the foreground, and butternut squash (C. moschata) is in the background, with more rounded leaves. There is also one tomato plant in the right foreground:

South Bed photo southbed_zps0ef2f345.jpg

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inside the gourd dome

It's a time lapse using an Ikea kitchen timer. Wish it wasn't this jerky, but still fun to view. I planted two sunflowers in the middle of the dome, and nest egg gourds and bottle gourds next to the mesh wire walls.

New Squash Planting


A few weeks ago, I harvested some onions and then quickly planted 12 squash in gopher-resistant cages, and ran drip lines for irrigation. Ten of them are Straightneck Squash (C.pepo, 49 days), and 2 are Waltham Butternut (C.moschata, 90 days)
Read more...Collapse )


gourd plants are finally vining

I haven't grown gourds for a few years here in Salt Lake due to raising an Australian Cattle Dog. Now we are finally back to gardening. Mostly growing sunflowers and gourds.

I shot this time lapse this afternoon with plenty of wind and threatening rain.

Butternut Squash

 photo SAM_0088_zpsac632c10.jpg

I'm eating them at this early stage, but will let some develop fully for winter storage.

Horrible Pumpkin Plague.

A week ago,my crookneck squash and yellow watermelon plants became completely overrun by thousands of brown aphids. We must have had an epidemic coming from the nearby commercial pumpkin fields. It was so horrible that the plants were dying within days, and neem oil didn't help.

I tore out both plantings, but strangely enough, my butternut squash was not affected at all. I've been watching for bugs, but perhaps being a different species, the butternut squash is not a host.

Whine, whine, whine...

Crappy pumpkin patch update. Gah!

Well that's just lovely...

The pumpkin I thought was a peanut pumpkin turned out to be a red warty thing. Cool, right? No. Something got at it and nerfed up the one side of it (probably bugs). At this point I'm seriously wondering if I should go to the effort anymore, of growing pumpkins. :(


Pumpkin Patch Update 8/18/12

I think I'm going to get a peanut pumpkin. Yay! Assuming of course the insects don't destroy it...

Pumpkin Patch Update 8/8/12

Things are looking a tad seedy in my pumpkin patch. Ahhh well, lol, fingers crossed.

that pumpkin I didn't plant

It's going to have to grow in circumference to touch the ground -- the vine is resting on concrete mesh. I see many more baby pumpkins starting to form. I should probably fertilize a bit. I guess I'll have pumpkins for Halloween.



My peyote ceremonial gourds are vine-ing finally. One is already headed up the side of the trellis. In a few weeks they may touch the geodesic dome.

Another week, another video

Here we go again.  This week I used music from Pond5 and also used the VideoPad video editor, which has been on my puter for a year -- but I couldn't figure out how to use it.  I finally just dove in and tried it today.  Got into a bit of a tangle with the captions, but other than that it went okay and I LOVE how quickly it uploads to YouTube.  So I'll be working with this program exclusively in the future and may even purchase another level of features beyond what I have, which is the free version.

I now have 6 pumpkins growing in the garden and 2 languishing in the basement, waiting for Halloween.  LONG wait.



New Pumpkin Video, and...

Here's my latest pumpkin video:


And I have what I hope is good news; while watching someone else's video tonight I learned about something called Pond5.com, where you can license music to use "forever" for only about $5.00 a pop.  Starting next week I hope to have music again!  Keep your fingers crossed.


Pumpkin Patch Update 7/23/12

Most recent update, such as it is.

7/21 pumpkin video

No more music because YouTube has rigged their music so that it takes over the entire audio track, and you lose your narration unless you have music going through the whole video.  Other than that...

pumpkin video


Amusing pumpkin video

This guy is living my dream...he has a half-acre full of pumpkins and gourds.  If you've got a moment, watch this very amusing video.  It made me ponder why I love pumpkins so much, but I think his answer to that question sums it up pretty well.

Pumpkin video


The Pumpkin Circle Board

Hey guys. I have noticed that most of us on youtube have a very nice sense of community there from being fellow pumpkin growers. I enjoy that and have talked with several of you through PM's. After talking with RandomJoe about finding new growers and helping them out I thought about having a messge board we could chat on without he word limit that's on youtube. Getting the youtubers to come here to LJ has been difficult. So I ran the idea by them and most of them liked it. So I went ahead and made.

The Pumpkin Circle

So far I think we only have three members. Starting a board is always very difficult because for it to work you have to have active participation and a decent number of members. So have a look. I hope you'll like it and join.


Swan Gourd
Cucurbits - Gourds, Luffas, Pumpkins

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