Gardening Archive

Long Pie Pumpkin, thoughts and review

Posted October 11, 2015 By Ruth

According to the internets, the Long Pie Pumpkin was brought to the USA sometime in the 1800’s, where it was dubbed the Nantucket Pumpkin.  Sometime after it was dubbed the Long Island Pie Pumpkin, which was in turn shortened to Long Pie Pumpkin.  Apparently they were quite popular in Maine for a while.  Anyone with grandparents from the area who gardened who might be able to confirm that?  I’m curious.  Supposedly lore states that they were “stacked up like firewood” for storage.  I can believe that.  I paraphrase, there are several pages out there with the history written out if you hit google and do a search for the Long Pie Pumpkin.

Like many heirloom varieties they faded in popularity as the general public was taught to expect pumpkins to be round and “normal” looking.  However they have qualities that make them potentially ideal for growing in colder climates and shorter seasons, on top of being a tasty pie pumpkin with almost no “stringy-ness”, as well as storing well.

They’re listed as having an approx 95-105 day growth period.  Actual reality is that the time spent on the vine can be quite a bit shorter than that implies.  These pumpkins can be picked as soon as the “ground spot” turns orange (from yellow).   Pick that green fruit, store in a cool place for long term storage, or in a warmer place for faster ripening, and they’ll continue to ripen just fine off the vine.

And my own experience backs that up.  I planted out my seedlings in Mid-May.  Admittedly we were having an abnormally warm spring and summer, but I could have picked the first “ripe enough” pumpkins before the end of July.  Two months to produce fruit that could be picked and stored for future use.  Now I left mine on the vine to ripen since we were having a decent summer.  I pulled 6 little (orange) pumpkins off the vines that died early, but left the 4 big ones to finish up.  Picked them back at the end of August/beginning of Sept.  Here’s a photo of 3 of them:


The biggest of those three was 13.5 inches long and weighed in at 5.5 pounds.  Not a bad size for a pie pumpkin!

The little pumpkins had a fairly soft skin and were easy to cut up for cooking and pureeing.

The big ones?  OMG.  I ended up resorting to a clever and soft headed 3lb mallet to get through the rind.  THAT worked quite well.  Every other knife I tried?  Barely scored the skin, no matter how sharp it was.  So if you grow these, be warned, vine ripened fruit have one hell of a rind!

That biggest pumpkin got processed first, so I kept track.  I removed 1.5lbs of seeds/guts and stem ends before putting them into the oven to bake.  When I pulled it back out of the oven I had 2 3/4lbs of puree.  Not a bad harvest!  However that’s where I hit my next problem.

I’ve not processed a lot of whole pumpkins, but I’ve done a few.  Cut them in half, gut them, place them face down on a baking sheet with a pan of water in the bottom of the oven, and bake at 400degrees till you can pierce the skin with a fork.  Right?

That hard rind struck again.  Instead of softening, like every other pumpkin I’ve done, it hardened even further while the flesh softened and fell off.  I over baked that first pumpkin by at least 20 minutes because I didn’t realize what was happening.  Not a big deal, the puree tastes fine, but consider this your heads up!  Now, I haven’t processed the other larger pumpkins, so I can’t swear that it wasn’t something I did wrong, but still….

Very tasty flesh.  Not sure how to compare it to other pie pumpkins as I don’t have a ton of experience with others, but definitely tasty!  I will absolutely grow them again, and will highly recommend them to other folks looking for a pumpkin to grow in a cold/short season summer!

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Last garden update of the Summer

Posted September 24, 2015 By Ruth

If you’re curious, THIS is the link to look back at my garden costs tracking for the summer.

Based on my lackadaisical method of record keeping I spent $90.15 on the garden.  Round it up to $100 since I’m sure I forgot to record SOMETHING.

And “made” $184 (plus whatever all the melons, carrots, radishes, lettuce, pumpkins, etc would have been which I never did manage to check prices on)

So, definitely a profit, especially since I’d have likely never bought half as much if I’d had to actually buy it all.  But not really thousands and thousands either.  Course, I’m not being massively OCD about keeping up with the garden, nor do I have a full 1/4-1/2 acre in garden, but it’s still a good sized garden for a home garden.  I’ll take it.

The compost tomato plant succumbed to Late Blight, but I managed to salvage a few ripe tomatoes off of it that didn’t appear to get touched by the blight, so I’ll be planting those seeds again next year.

Here’s what mature Long Pie Pumpkins look like:


The biggest is 13.5″ long, and weighs 5.5 pounds.  The other two are closer to the 12″ mark, and weigh about a pound less.

Anyone want Rattail Radish seeds?  I massively over planted, and since you eat the seed pod on these, instead of the bulb like normal radishes, I have a million seed pods drying now too.  Ok, not literally a million, but since I packed a gallon ziplock (and I do mean packed, I smushed them in) of the largest seed pods that were dry enough to empty out as I get time, and still barely made a dent in the seed pods, I have plenty of seeds for the next few years!  Seriously, if someone wants some email me at ruthcatrin (at) scaryyankeechick (dot) com with “rattail radish” in the subject line (otherwise your email might get filtered as junk).  But unless you have a HUGE radish loving family 4 or 5 plants is plenty!

I planted three tires with Purple Early Sprouting Broccoli and some more normal radishes for fall/winter gardening.  The Early Sprouting Broccoli is designed for the winter garden, and infact HAS TO experience a winter in order to produce heads.  Its supposed to be hardy down to 10 degrees (F).  I’m making plans on how I want to cover it for the winter since our chances of dipping below 10 are pretty good.  I’ll try to remember to keep updating on that.

On the deck side of things, the worst of the bad electrical is fixed, but we’re going to have to have an electrician out at some point to basically re-wire the garage and carport.  Now that we now to look for it, there doesn’t appear to be a single junction box in the entire garage, and in several places they wired in “additional” stuff using lamp cord wire instead of proper electrical wire.  And since the carport was added after the garage its safe to assume that its the same way.  The paperwork for the permit for the new front steps and landing is into the town, they agreed to waive the requirement for footers since this is a “temporary” set of stairs.

Garden update, and a small outburst…..

Posted August 28, 2015 By Ruth

Another $3 or so of tomatoes

Say another $6 of hot peppers

Another two cantaloupes

Another Early Moon Watermelon

Two more Charentais

A million (only slightly an exaggeration) Rattail Radishes



Oh  yah.  If/when you do home additions, major repairs, deck building etc, I don’t care how far out in the middle of nowhere you are.  Please check building codes.  They’re there for a reason.  Even if enforcement doesn’t care about your area its very likely that the folks who live in your house after you will care ALOT when they discover stuff that’s not up to code.

And while we’re at it, nails are not appropriate for attaching a deck to a house (regardless of what your code says).  And if the deck is supposed to be “only temporary” then damn well reveal that fact to the folks buying the house.

We’re all fine, but the bank account is taking another hit.  And it could have been ever so bad.  So please.  Please.  Please.  Check building codes!  (and get permits, if only so that the folks after you can tell if you put in proper footers under that slab without having to break it up cause you didn’t follow code with anything else so why should we expect footers??)

My first Charentais melon and a garden update

Posted August 24, 2015 By Ruth

I think the tomatoes are finally slowing down (thank god, I’m not planting that many again, well, probably not, maybe…..).  I got half a colander this time.  About $9 worth

Two more Early Moon Watermelons.

Another Cantaloupe.

More Jalapenos and a couple more Habaneros, call it $6

My first two Charentais melons EVER!  I took a picture of one, when they call them “about softball sized” they’re not kidding.  But oh gosh are they tasty!  I’ll definitely try these again next year.



If anyone else tries to grow these, the warnings about them splitting, within a day or so of turning ripe are correct.  The reason you didn’t get a picture of the 2nd one I picked was because sometime in the previous 24hrs it had turned color and split.  I cut it open to save the seeds and tossed the rest of it.  The ripen and split that quickly.

My Mystery Compost tomato plant is HUGE.  Its officially taller than me, even with the stem being bent the way it is.  The tomatoes on it are looking like Black Plums.  What I can’t figure out is how its getting enough sun.  Admittedly that probably explains some of its hugeness, its spreading like mad to get leaves into the sun.  But that doesn’t explain the decent amount of tomatoes that its about to produce……

I’ve now pulled a total of 7 little pumpkins (6-8inches long) out of the garden as the vines they were on were among those that have died.  Still another 4 large pumpkins out there turning orange.

What else am I forgetting?  Oh, I need to decide if I’m going to actually eat any of the okra I planted, or just admire it (it is a very pretty plant with pretty flowers)……

Garden update

Posted August 20, 2015 By Ruth

Two more colanders of tomatoes: $18

4 more cantaloupes (I’ve lost track of how many total that is, 10? something like that, they’re little, but tasty!)

Two of the Early Moon Watermelons

a gallon ziplock of rattail radishes

a handfull of carrots (dammit, was at the market again, forgot to check prices)

Another handfull of jalapenos: $3

Farmers Market pricing

Posted August 13, 2015 By Ruth

Tomatoes were running about $3/basket (those little green baskets they pack fruit and vegi’s into)

Cucumbers were $0.75/each

Zucchini were $1/each for more normal sized ones

Jalapenos were also about $3/basket

Garlic varied, but call it $1/head

I didn’t see any melons or lettuce or radishes and didn’t want to interrupt to ask since I wasn’t buying.  Forgot to check carrots.

Or, the pizza sauce that we were buying before we started making our own runs $1.99/16ounces



So, based on what I’ve picked out of the garden so far (though I haven’t been as OCD as I could have about keeping track):

Cucumbers, about $15

Zucchini, about $16

Jalapenos and other hot peppers, about $6

Garlic, about $30

Tomatoes, about $72 (!) or about $47.76 in tomato sauce


Posted August 12, 2015 By Ruth

Here’re the pictures of the garden wilt I was talking about:

The Sugar Baby watermelons-

KIMG0192 KIMG0193You’ll have to trust me that the green in the first picture is all weeds, mostly clover.  The Sugar Baby watermelon vines are almost completely dead at this point, with only a couple vines holding on.

The one set of affected pumpkin vines-



And the affected Blazing Star flowers-



So far, other than the “normal” tomato wilt affecting the Black Plum tomatoes I’ve not seen any signs of it anywhere else, I’m hoping the semi regular treatments with neem oil are preventing it from spreading.  But this is the first year I’ve had a serious problem with it too.  Anyone have any ideas as to what it is, what the cause is, and/or how to prevent it next year?  I ran across a product called “Root Shield” thats supposed to help prevent several varieties of wilt (including the normal tomato wilts) and I’m seriously considering picking some up for next year’s garden……


Thats a little hot!

Posted August 12, 2015 By Ruth

I made my first batch of hot pepper jelly this week.  Right on schedule.  Except the ingredient list was a little different this year.

Normally I weigh out just short of a pound of red ripe Jalapenos, toss in a single red ripe Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper or ripe Habanero (or just do a full pound of Jalapenos, depending on what we have in the garden), and go from there.

This year the hot pepper growth pattern has been screwy.  The Jalapeno plants are half the size they normally are, and though they’re producing nicely they aren’t as loaded as normal.  However the Hot Wax plants are huge and loaded (normally they’re smaller than the Jalapenos and less loaded).

So I was getting ready to make jelly and realized I had 1/2pound of Jalapenos, and 1/2pound of Hot Wax peppers, and a single ripe Habanero pepper.  So I shrugged and made jelly out of that combination.


I will occasionally eat the tiniest little bit of the pure Jalapeno jelly.  But this batch is way out of my league.  Even Husband choked on it when he had his first taste.  Its a little hot!


I also pulled three cantaloupes out of the garden, a couple more Sugar Baby watermelons, the first harvest of Rattail Radishes, three more zucchini, another two colanders full of tomatoes….


Posted August 3, 2015 By Ruth

So, I’ve been ignoring the compost pile this year.  Its covered in weeds, and I’m sure the tree roots are enjoying it entirely.  Its just been too busy a summer.

Yesterday afternoon I took the kitchen scraps out and noticed what looked like 4 or 5 tomato seedlings popping up out of it.

Then I looked closer.

And realized it wasn’t 4 or 5 little plants.  What I was seeing was the ends of the branches of one HUGE tomato plant.  The base stem a good inch in diameter.

I dug out my garden stakes and stood it upright.  Curved as it is it comes up to my chin, if the stalk was straight it’d be over my head.  Its got several flowers on it, and at least one baby tomato forming.

It gets, at most, a couple hours of dappled sunlight there.  The spot itself is VERY wet…..

It’ll be interesting to see what it produces!

This week’s garden produce

Posted July 31, 2015 By Ruth

I promise I’ll make it to the farmers market eventually to price this all out!

Tomatoes!  2 more Purple Cherokee, the rest are black plums


The first batch of tomatoes made 1.5 quarts of sauce, this batch made 2.5 quarts.  Course, we’ve eaten several handfuls of the plum tomatoes too.

8 more cucumbers.

3 Sugar Baby Watermelons, two of which were quite small, but they were sure tasty!

1 carrot.  But there are two going to seed, which is screwy as heck, but a google search tells me that it’s not completely out of normal for carrots to seed in their first year.  I’m letting them go mostly for curiosities sake.


There are now several Pumpkins “ripe enough” to be picked and finish ripening in storage, but since the weather’s gorgeous I’m letting them ripen on the vine.  I’m not counting them towards totals till I pick them.

I’ll likely be picking hot peppers this weekend, as the Jalapenos are starting to turn red and so are a couple of the Hot Wax peppers.

Just realized I never counted the lettuce or radishes I picked earlier in the season.  I’ll have to guestimate off of memory.

Sunflowers are blooming.  So far they’ve all been the same variety, I planted 4 varieties total, including one variety of fancy dark colored flowers, hope I get at least a few of those this year!

If you ever wanted to know what lettuce allowed to go to flower looks like:



Thats a Purple Romaine in case you’re curious.


Flushed a tiny tiny baby rabbit (like, barely old enough to be out of the nest tiny) out of the garden while picking watermelon on Wednesday.  Looked like he was using the vines for cover more than for food, but I re-treated the garden with the deer and bunny repellent just to be on the safe side.  He was a cutie though, glad I didn’t have the dogs with me!

I’ve got a weird wilt/leaf die off happening.  In both Sugar Baby Watermelon tires, one pumpkin tire, and I noticed yesterday that now some of the Blazing Star flowers look like they’re succumbing.  I’ll have to get pictures.  Took me a bit to figure out what was going on.  I initially took it for a fertilization or water problem.  And maybe it is, but that doesn’t completely explain it.  Treated all affected areas (and several other tires that looked like maybes) with a heavy coat of diluted neem oil in hopes of stopping the problem.  

The plum tomatoes are definitely being hit with wilt too, but that’s not abnormal for tomatoes, especially considering the weather.  I didn’t treat them with neem, no way to avoid the ripening fruits, and I don’t want to have to worry about washing the neem off.

No more sign of the nest of stinging insects I found last week.  I was able to finish weeding that tire safely.  Here’s hoping the permethrin can go stale on the shelf now and I won’t need it again!  I discovered that apparently some people with arthritis find relief from pain by using bee stings.  I can promise you that I won’t be trying it.  I spent almost three full days on a max dose of benedryl because the hand closest to the sting (the sting was on my lower right arm) became extremely painful to use.  There was essentially no external swelling from the sting after the first 8hrs, but something was clearly going on internally.  I haven’t felt joint pain like that since the time the doctor prescribed me Levaquin for a respiratory infection!  Gives me a better appreciation for how much worse my joints could be…..

Started pots of the Purple Sprouting Broccoli that I’m going to try over-wintering this year.  I’ll plant them out end of August/beginning of September -ish depending on the weather.  Then I have to figure out how to protect them from the extreme cold lows we get in the winter.  I’m thinking a plastic teepee type setup ought to work.