Dealing with too many pumpkins in the garden

From the looks of things, we’ll have more pumpkins than grandkids this year.

When I glanced at the garden, I was stunned to observe 10 large orange pumpkins from one plant. The previous record from one plant was one. The pumpkins did not leave a scratch when I scraped them with a thumbnail so I knew they would keep without rotting until the fall. I had observed fields of pumpkins sprawling among corn stalks in the Columbia Basin, so knew I was on the right track.

Another delight appeared when I began picking daily medium boxes of tomatoes from our 10 plants. Surprisingly, about half were yellow, but my senior memory couldn’t recall planting any yellow varieties. They tasted and had the same pleasing consistency as the red fruit.

Tomatoes like to be stored in a dark location at room temperature so I moved them to a storage room attached to our garage. They are keeping beautifully. Never store tomatoes in the fridge or they will turn mushy.

Fortunately, I have about two months before Halloween to devise a strategy to dispose of pumpkins. An immediate problem is we have only four grandchildren and 10 pumpkins. Somehow, some grandkids may feel shortchanged based on the size or color of their pumpkins.

We may have to call upon their parents to mediate. It will not be the first time.

Doug Young is a retired WSU professor who loves to share his 65 years of gardening experience.

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