Here’s a fun project for a big garden: Grow pumpkins and give them away as Halloween gifts.
By one recent count, 250 varieties are available to gardeners in North America.
Jack Be Little, a bright-yellow two-inch-tall miniature, is popular. So is Rouge Vif d’Etampes, a red, 18-inch-wide French import with a flattened shape like Cinderella’s pumpkin coach. Jarradale, a foot-wide, drum-shaped squash with ghostly gray and white stripes, is coming on strong.
For cooking, try a Mixta or Pepo variety. For carving, try the bright orange Maxima. You can also grow blue and multicolored pumpkins with a Maxima variety.
One great thing about pumpkins: They are very easy to grow. Start them in full sun after all risk of frost has passed. Some even have good luck just smashing seeds from their Halloween pumpkins into the ground.
There are other reasons to grow them. People with a big garden area can cover it with a few mounds of attractive pumpkin plants with their huge leaves. They are dramatic and the pumpkins are abundant and fun to look at. Feed the extras to deer and other wildlife.