This will sound nuts to some, but I have already planned my vegetable garden for next year. At the top of the garden, I will plant the mini pumpkin and morning glory obelisk that I found on the Better Homes and Gardens online site. I plan to plant the sunflowers and strawberries–the whole nine yards, but after I decided to plant the mini pumpkins, I began to wonder what I’d do with all the little fruits of my labor. During the fall, that question is answered for me. During the fall, everywhere I look I see mini pumpkins.
The children’s pumpkin garden plan calls for using mini whites, called Baby Boos, and mini oranges, called Jack-Be-Littles
Jack Be Little
Morning Glory Heavenly Blue
The morning glory Heavenly Blue is planted to vine amongst the pumpkins.
I’ve grown pumpkins before, and they are exciting plants to watch develop–a definite thrill for kids of all ages.
The only problem is that full-sized pumpkins require a large and sunny garden, and although my garden is large, my sunny area is small.
The mini guys seem to be my best bet. My garden is surrounded by arbors and lattices, and next year, I plan to cover those suckers with pumpkins of all sizes. If the obelisk is large enough, you could even vine some decorative squashes and gourds on it–or you could grow those on another trellis.
Jacki Kellum Garden – Squash Growing on an Arbor
The white pumpkins would be especially great painted– or scribed with sharpies.
The mini orange pumpkins look great on wreaths, and the effect would be even better if the pumpkins, the squash, and the gourds were all mixed.
But I am also heartened to know that mini pumpkins can also be great treats for eating. I read that Jack-Be-Little is actually an old, revived squash plant.
You can just brush the little fruits with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper–and then roast them.
And you can serve pumpkin or butternut squash soup inside them.
Campell’s makes a high-end Butternut Squash Bisque. You could pull a true “fast” one, and just serve Campbell’s in the little mini bowls that you yourself roasted.
I especially like the other food ideas that I found at: www.thekitchn.com/what-to-do-with-all-those-mini-69921
For savory pumpkins:
Wash your pumpkins and cut off the top the same way you would a regular-sized jack-o-lantern. Scoop out the seeds, hollow out a bit if necessary and stuff with a filling of your choice. Place on a sheet pan and roast in a 350 degree oven until the flesh is soft and the filling hot. Suggested fillings:
- a dab of butter [or brush with olive oil, a small clove of garlic and a sage leaf or thyme sprig. Or add a tablespoon or two of cream.
- the stuffing of your choice.
- a soup such as Pumpkin Tortilla, Pomegranate Lentil, Hearty Kale and Sausage, Black Bean.
- roasted vegetables like brussels sprouts, cauliflower or red onion.
- a cooked grain such as quinoa, couscous or bulgar mixed with green onion, currants and pinenuts.
- do a mini version of Dorie Greenspan’s Filled Pumpkin recipe.
- use as a cocotte for baked eggs with a little butter and cream and perhaps a crumble of already-cooked bacon.
For sweet pumpkins:
Cut off the tops a little lower down to expose a larger surface area. Scrape out seeds and use the minis the same way you would a ramekin.
- fill with pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pie or creme brulee batter. Bake at the temperature called for in the recipe; you may have to bake a little longer as the pumpkin’s sides and flesh are thicker than pumpkins. If you think you’ll miss the crust on the pumpkin pie, cut decorative leaves from pie dough, bake, and use as an edible garnish.
- simply dot with butter and sugar or maple syrup and bake.
- bake the lids alongside the bottoms and use as a decoration on your final plating.
You can find the plan for the mini pumpkin garden at Better Homes and Gardens Here: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/plans/vegetable/easy-childrens-vegetable-garden-plan/
©Jacki Kellum September 24, 2017