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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Honeyboat Ride


Once upon a time, our friend John came to visit for Thanksgiving. He was working on an organic farm and brought along a honeyboat squash to share. As soon as I ate it, I knew it was the ultimate squash.

We saved seeds from the honeyboat, in an attempt to grow some ourselves. The plant was vigorous and the blossoms were so beautiful that they attracted fairies to the garden.


Unfortunately, the squash from which we saved the seeds had hybridized with a neighboring plant, and the fruit (below) tasted, well... borderline edible. Fawn and I learned an important lesson about seed saving and hybridizing that year!


Despite its lack of service on the dinner table, the hybrid squash plant was gorgeous, and we especially enjoyed the twisty spiral tendrils that year. However, it is always even better if we can eat food from the plants we grow.

This past growing season I decided to buy honeyboat seeds, 
and it was worth every penny.

I'm pretty sure I will never need to grow another variety of squash again! 
Here's why:

Honeyboat squash is a wonderful addition to any meal, 
but it's also sweet enough to eat for dessert! 

Halved, it fits perfectly in my 7x11" baking pan, which fits in my convection toaster oven. This size makes them naturally "individually packaged," meaning that you are not faced with a big squash project after cutting one open. 

You can see from the oblong shape and stripes that it's a delicata-type squash. 

Note that it still tastes great even when marred by rodents, which all of my squashes and pumpkins were. As a result my harvest may not live up to its storage reputation this year... so I'm enjoying them now.

It's easy to separate the seeds from the flesh, by pulling the 
seeds out with a spoon before scraping the insides clean...

...and they are delicious toasted in the cast iron skillet with a little salt and olive oil!
(not to mention the seeds provide great fatty acids, protein, Vitamin K, iron, phosphorus, etc. for your body to use)

You have to admit, it does look like a honey boat (dugout style).

Being a winter squash, I'm guessing it is a good source of:
• Vitamin A (super duper)
•  Vitamin C
•  Potassium
•  Manganese
•  Vitamin E
Vitamin B complex
• Calcium
• Magnesium
• Iron
• Fiber 
and lots more excellent nutrients


Even though our first attempt to grow honeyboat didn't work out for eating (due to hybridization of the saved seed), I'm super glad we tried. Otherwise I might have missed seeing this fairy as she soaked up the beauty of the blossoms. The experience also helped build a foundation for Fawn's understanding of plant reproduction, and sparked her investigation of potential hybridization of other plants, which she did as part of her Grade 3 home study curriculum. 

I'm very happy with this variety of winter squash, so I thought I'd share some of the reasons why. I tried honeybear the growing season before last and it was good, but honeyboat still takes the cake for me. 

Thank you so much, John E, for introducing us to this fantastic garden food!


What is your favorite winter squash?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Harvest Time ~ 2014

The garden has been good to us this year, and the rotting wood has come through with some delicious and nutritious food to eat. (This photo is from October.)

Fawn helped haul the potatoes up to the house in her wagon. It took two of us to get it up the hill!

The carrots didn't seem to mind hugelkultur at all...

...they just kept right on growing!

I was happy to discover some one-clove garlic heads again in the garden this year. Does anybody know if this is a specific garlic variety or if it is just a mutation? Despite being fall-planted, they came up much later than the rest of garlic and I didn't harvest them till November 11th.

This mild autumn has been great for the tomatoes. I still had to ripen every tomato indoors, because the chipmunks eat them otherwise. This beefsteak tomato was ripened indoors in November and still tasted delicious. I have found that the key is to bring tomatoes in only after they change from green to pale yellow. Any sooner, and they don't ripen nearly as nicely since they are not mature enough.

Radishes seem to do best in early spring and late fall. They are perfect right now! I pulled the last of the radishes out today, since all the plants had finally completely frozen.

These unripe chocolate cherry tomatoes reminded me of grapes.

Fawn and her sunflower umbrella

Perhaps the final garden harvest, except for the underground cold frame and the kale. Today I picked swiss chard, cabbage, the last of the onions, my one beet that survived the marmots, and anything else that had eeked out its last few weeks with the help of some old sheets for cover. I look forward to more harvesting next year! 

It's always hard to say goodbye to the year's iteration of the garden, knowing it will never be the same again... but that is also the fun and joy of this process.