TBT: Pumpkin Underpants and the Free Range Vegetables

Long ago, back when the trees were smaller and I didn't have a child, I started a rather ambitious vegetable garden without knowing what I was getting into, and it was great fun. I turned out to be a pretty deadbeat gardener because I kept on starting other ambitious projects at the same time, like epic novels and labor-intensive dinners, but I did learn some things--like how much fun it is to ride my bike to the farm market and buy a pumpkin someone else grew when I feel like making Moroccan-spice pumpkin soup, and also that I can get away with being an even lazier gardener by throwing away a decorative gooseneck gourd in my compost pile and looking out the window the next fall to discover that a huge vine full of its descendants has propagated itself all over my apple wood stick stack.

Below is a post I wrote during the Great Recession, when I was exploring the idea of growing as much food as possible on my own suburban homestead. I learned that I don't get enough sun anywhere on my property to have great success with a traditional veggie garden, so I have rededicated my outdoor food production resources to low-maintenance fruit and nut trees and whatever vegetables decide to grow themselves out of my compost pile. I am quite satisfied with the ratio of labor input to harvest output.

Pumpkin Underpants and the Free Range Vegetables

That would make a good band name, huh? Let me admit to something. My gardening is a bit like my fiction writing. I start out with a lot of passion and grandiose plans and put into motion a huge project... but my follow-through is somewhat lacking. Maybe this has something to do with my always trying to do too many things at once. But it's working out OK. (The gardening and the writing.) They are just moving along sloppier than planned.

For example, I have a glorious, hardy pumpkin vine that made a break outside the garden fence, raced back in, and finally climbed up and along the very top of the fence. Did I notice this happening? No. I just looked out my living room window one day and said, "Hey, look at that! Flying pumpkins!" Flying pumpkins kind of sound like a good idea, right? They would come out all nice and round, with no dirty flat spot from lying on the ground. The problem is, they'll certainly become too heavy for the vine and fall off. Mr. C pondered this situation and suggested I put a bra on the pumpkin vine. Thanks for the idea, Mr. C, but my delicate little brassieres could hardly do the trick. However... what about a pair of underpants?!?

That should hold it for now. I'll bet my neighbors love it. Ha! Whether they do or not, I am already the kind of person who has squash and cabbage growing with the flowers in front and free range pumpkins crawling over the weeds by the back shed.

Someday, I will have the time and skills to keep my landscaping better groomed. But you know what, this is a township in Michigan, and I don't have a rusty car or a Mary-in-a-Bathtub in my yard. Let's put things in perspective.

Despite my neglect, I've had several delicious green bean harvests and some tasty basil. I have quite a few ears of sweet corn developing, the spinach is still growing, and the tomatoes are unstoppable!

Dinner tonight: ravioli quattro formaggi with olive oil, garden spinach, and fresh tomatoes. Easy!

Fellow gardeners, good luck to you all this year! It's been a funky summer.


  1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment on my blog!! I'm beside myself about getting onto blogs of note!! Always wished, but never DREAMED!! So cool to be meeting new people this way!!

  2. Mmmmm there is nothing yummier than fresh from the vine tomatoes. They taste a million times better than the store bought ones. I don't know why.

    I love your pumpkin panties. Now thats a band name!

  3. I'm going to try cooking and freezing a bunch of homemade tomato sauce, once I have a minute. I have to do it soon... Mr. C says putting them in the fridge changes the chemical composition and makes them less tasty, so I have a heap of ripe tomatoes sitting on the kitchen counter.

  4. i saw the topic link and couldn't resist reading this post (I stumbled across your blog through OWOH)cuz i couldn't even imagine how a story could combine these two topics. ROFL! you're a hoot!


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