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Pumpkins and Gourds

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October 31, 2015
Fall is in the air and harvest related displays must have a pumpkin or two. But there’s a lot more to choose from than the traditional jack-o-lantern. Today I’m at Courtney Farms in Ocean Springs where the garden center has been transformed into a pumpkin patch. Pumpkins are a member of the cucurbit family that also includes squashes and gourds. Besides orange, colors include red, yellow, white, blue, and multi-colored stripes. They can be miniature, flattened, necked, smooth, winged and warty. The Cinderella pumpkin is a variety from France. It’s rumored to have been the model for Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage. This peanut pumpkin is a cross between a pumpkin and a Hubbard squash. The warty surface adds coarse texture to any display. Turban squash are a popular hat-shaped variety that native Americans grew. It makes a good fall decoration with its unusual shape and multi-colored stripes. While the large pumpkins get the most attention, mini pumpkins are very versatile. Pump Ke Mon has the white skin with orange vertical stripes. While Baby Boo is a snow white miniature. Gourds also come in amazing varieties. With wings and warts these gourds are colorful and spectacular. The white Crown of Thorns gourd is an unusual fruit having ten fingers pointing upward from the flower end. When making your purchase be sure to inspect your pumpkin, squash and gourd; they will last longer if there is no surface damage. Unfortunately, that includes carving. And believe it or not, most are delicious when baked or made into a pie. Pumpkins, squash, and gourds can add interest and beauty to any fall display. I’m Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

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