Halloween

Denny Schrock

hijinks in a field of dreams

Pumpkins, spider webs, ghosts, witches, and zombies are making their annual appearance up and down the streets of the neighborhood as Halloween decorations pop up everywhere. My front porch sports Hijinks with Baby Pam in a Field of Dreams.

That’s Hijinks pumpkin, an All-America Selections Winner in the center of the photo above. Hijinks is a small (7 to 9 pounds) pumpkin that develops brilliant orange color just 100 days from planting. The plant has good resistance to powdery mildew, but I found that squash bugs love it just as much as any other pumpkin or squash variety. It’s flanked by Baby Pam pumpkin, which matures even sooner. Its 4- to 5-pound fruits are reportedly excellent for cooking and baking, too. (Pumpkin pie, anyone?) Both varieties are an excellent size for little kids to handle.

Field of Dreams ornamental corn rounds out the display. This new variety is extremely decorative. Through the growing season, it brightens the garden with striped foliage (see below). The mature ears of corn are solidly one color but vary from shades of mahogany and maroon to deep yellow orange. The ears filled well in my garden, even though my granddaughter and I planted only two rows about 8 feet long. As you can see, the tiny plot yielded ears with mostly dark kernels. As a bonus, Field of Dreams can be used as popcorn, too! The initial test of its popping quality earlier this week at our household was pronounced, “Delicious!”

We’ll be sharing the pumpkins and popcorn with our grandchildren. After all, Halloween is for kids of all ages, isn’t it?

Field of Dreams ornamental popcorn in the garden


Jane McKeon

caught in the web

13444018_largeIt has been raining “cats and dogs” here in the Midwest recently. I’m not sure how this expression came to be, considering the fact that my cat, Max, and dog, Lily, would much rather stay warm and dry in the house on days like these. A lot of people I know are grumbling about the mud, the sloppy fallen leaves, and the difficulty of getting fall garden chores done. Call me crazy, but I view rainy weather as an opportunity to appreciate the finer details that nature offers. Like the way spider webs come into focus when raindrops cling to them. I’ve had a spider residing above my front door all summer. She’s gotten fat on insects invited by the porch light into her orb-shape dining room. Bugs that might otherwise have snacked on me. It would take just a quick whisk of my broom to clear all of the cobwebs from my porch, but I haven’t had the heart to ruin these homespun havens. Besides, it’s almost Halloween. Why should I hang  fake spider webbing when I already have authentic arachnid decor?