Winter squash bonanza

Over the past few days, I have been harvesting our winter squash and pumpkins and am tickled with how productive they were.

For winter squash, we grew 'Sweet Dumpling,' 'Table Queen bush (Acorn),' Red Kuri,' 'Compact Delicata' and 'Sweet Meat.'

The 'Red Kuri' was the only one that didn't produce that well, which is a shame because they're so tasty. My pleasant surprise was the 'Sweet Meat' because I had my first taste of them last Thanksgiving and could not believe how sweet and delicious it was. This squash needs a little longer growing season so I was worried they might not come through for me but we ended up with 13 of them. See the large green squash in the lower photo? Those are the Sweet Meats.

The pumpkin varieties we grew were 'New England Pie,' 'Spookie Deep Sugar' and 'Rouge Vif d'Etampes' which has become a favorite of mine -- they have that Cinderella look about them and are a deep red-orange in color.

All of the pumpkins and winter squash are currently sitting in my little greenhouse where they can get plenty of sunshine and warmth but be protected from hard frosts. They'll be there for 2 weeks so they can cure for a bit before going into storage down in our basement. I know I've been mentioning this a lot lately but I am repeating myself because it really made a difference last year as they lasted much longer. I should've jotted down when we ate our last winter squash but it was probably in February!

I hope your harvest has been abundant, too. My final garden column for the 2012 season will run in tomorrow's edition of The Spokesman-Review but don't worry -- I'll be blogging about all sorts of gardening-related topics throughout the off-season.