Pumpkin and Persimmon Time

This week was a week of firsts for me. I was able to finally harvest a couple of things that are new to me, at least in our garden. Part of the fun of gardening is trying new things. At least it is for me!

neck pumpkin and persimmon

First up was the Neck Pumpkin. This variety is an heirloom popular in Pennsylvania Dutch/Amish communities. I got the seeds from Baker Creek, where it is listed as Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck Squash. Ours weighed in at 5.75 pounds, though they can get as big as 20 pounds. I can see a pie (or two) in our future!

persimmon with Brown Turkey figs

Next was our first Asian Persimmon. This variety is Ichi Ki Kei Jiro, and it is a non-astringent type that is eaten while still hard and firm, like an apple. My wife and I shared this first fruit, and we both were amazed at how crunchy and sweet it was. Try eating a native persimmon while still hard and you would be puckered up for a week! Not so with this one, it was yummy.

Ichi Ki Kei Jiro persimmon

I have two trees, and I am tempted to plant another now that I have tasted just how good these fruits can be when grown here. The ones I planted are supposed to be hardy to zone 6. Many of the Asian varieties are compact, only getting between 8-12 feet tall, and all are pest and disease resistant. That is hard to beat in a fruit tree!

I also continue to get a lot of figs. I’m trying to save enough up to make a small batch of fig preserves. My wife has promised to make some English muffins next week. I am thinking how good will they be with some fig preserves slathered on them!

Another thing we enjoyed this week was our turnips. We had the greens one night and the roots another. I cook the roots much like my mother did, simmered in a bit of water along with couple of slices of bacon and seasoned with salt and pepper. These white salad turnips cooked in minutes.

Also appearing in the harvest basket this week were tomatoes, eggplant, lettuce and chard. The tomatoes and chard made their way into a frittata, and we had a salad (or two) with the lettuce. The total harvested was 17.75 pounds. For more gardener’s harvests, visit Daphne’s Dandelions!

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34 Responses to Pumpkin and Persimmon Time

  1. Kelly says:

    Interesting stuff, now you have wishing I had room for more fruit tress, lol.

  2. kitsapFG says:

    Is the Neck Pumpkin a true storage type of “winter squash”? Did the vines just run or did you trellis it to grow?

    The harvest looks good – the turnips in particular are very nice looking.

  3. Our neck pumpkins were ridiculously small this year (and I also got our seed a Baker Creek). A couple of years ago we grew some that got huge. The necks were over 2′ long. I really wish I had saved seed from those.

  4. Robin says:

    Yum fig preserves!! We are hoping that you have enough figs to make preserves…then, we can envy yours!

  5. Emily says:

    New crops are always fun. The neck pumpkin looks similar to an elongated butternut squash. Is the flesh similar as well?

  6. Tyra says:

    Interesting with that heirloom neck pumpkin, is it tasty? You sure is a lucky guy to harvest your own figs, they look so good. I could have those as a dessert after my Tabbouli. / Tyra 🙂

  7. GrafixMuse says:

    I love learning about new and different things to grow from various blogs. The neck pumpkin looks so interesting.

  8. Megan says:

    Neat harvest! The fruit looks really good!

  9. meemsnyc says:

    You’re growing persimmon? Oh my, that is awesome! I love that fruit, we ate so much of it growing up! (Asian household) I wonder if they can grow in our zone, zone 7? Probably not… I’m loving your figs too? Are those brown figs especially sweet?

    • Villager says:

      Meems, you should be able to grow most any of the Asian persimmons in zone 7. As for the figs, I think the Hardy Chicago is sweeter, but it’s smaller. The Brown Turkey is not as sweet but you get more of it!

  10. Barbie says:

    Considering fig and persimmons next year myself. Your post has me thinking more seriously about it. 🙂 Looks great!

  11. I had no idea you could grow Asian persimmons in Indiana. I have a new Fuyu Persimmon that needs to go into the ground. I don’t know how long it will take to yield fruit, but I’m looking forward to it. Asian persimmons are sweet and crisp, nothing like Indiana’s puckery native persimmons.

  12. Thomas says:

    I am so jealous of your persimmon! I have always wanted my own tree but didn’t think we lived in a warm enough climate. I will have to look into your variety as we live in zone 8. I also wonder if they could be successfully grown in pots.

  13. Thomas says:

    I mean we live in zone 6!

  14. Jen says:

    What an interesting persimmon!
    And the figs, too! I got a fig tree last year and was pleased to increase my harvest from 13 to 22 figs this year. I’m so tempted to put it in the ground…

  15. Dan says:

    That is one interesting squash you have there 🙂

  16. Prue says:

    Oh that persimmon looks so tasty (as do the figs.) I have always wanted to grow a persimmon but the large tap root makes it a bit too tricky to try in a pot. Great harvest.

  17. Melissa says:

    Oh, persimmons! I love persimmons! Great looking neck pumpkin!

  18. I remember you mentioning this persimmon tree earlier this year, and was curious as to how the fruit would turn out. It looks fabulous! I occasionally make a cranberry-persimmon relish at Thanksgiving, and of course persimmon cookies are common here this time of year too, but haven’t yet planted a tree here. I like that this variety is Fuyu-like, in that it can be eaten raw, and that the tree itself doesn’t get too large.

    Homemade English muffins…fig preserves…sounds perfect to me!

    • Villager says:

      Oooh, I bet that relish is delicious. I never would have thought of using the persimmons like that. I’m guessing they would be tasty in smoothies too.

  19. Daphne Gould says:

    I grew neck pumpkins last year. Not a one of them got ripe in our really cold summer. I bet this summer they would have gone crazy.

    The last time I cooked my salad turnips I sauteed them in butter. I know it isn’t the healthiest way to eat them, but it was good.

    • Villager says:

      I’ll bet the turnips are good when cooked in butter. We do like them raw too. I’m always amazed when people say they don’t like the roots. I wonder if they’ve ever had really good homegrown ones? I mean, these salad varieties are very different from the big overgrown ones you sometimes see at the grocery.

  20. Angela says:

    I just planted a persimmon tree this year, I wonder how long it will take until I get to eat its first fruit. It is so exciting when we gardeners finally get to try a new fruit or veggie we grew ourselves. Congratulations! You are still getting a pretty varied harvest even though it must be getting pretty cold in your region right now.

    • Villager says:

      Angela, I planted this persimmon tree in 2008, so it has been fairly quick to fruit, though it only has two this year.

  21. LynnS says:

    Wow, you harvested a Long Neck!! Good deal!! I still have 4 on the vines but all of the rest have been harvested now. I pulled one off because the neck split — don’t know why that happened, maybe the moisture. We’ll be adding it with dandelion roots for this evening’s meal.

    That Persimmon looks fantastic — I have never eaten a domestic Persimmon, only the wild ones. Do you have plans to dry any or process any in a jelly or butter? Amazing that it is crunchy when eaten raw.

    I was excited to read that you are growing a Chicago fig. I bought a plant late this summer but was afraid to plant it in this wacky weather-year, so it’ll be overwintered indoors. I hope we get lots of figs from it in a few years!

    Your turnips look perfect and just the right size!!

    • Villager says:

      Lynn, I was happy to get the one pumpkin since I planted it so late. We need to find a place we can let it and other vining cucurbits grow next year.

      We only have two persimmons this year, so we will have to wait to figure out how to use them. I’d definitely like to try drying some when we get more to harvest.

      As for the figs, I had one that actually grew a fig while potted and overwintering in the basement. I planted my Chicago plant in 2008 and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. This year I pinched out the tips of the shoots on it and the Brown Turkey plant but they still got almost 8 feet tall – and that’s with no watering or fertilizing. We did dehydrate some of the figs this year. I think they will be tasty in oatmeal this winter, or maybe even in granola.

  22. debiclegg says:

    Your picture of the persimmon and figs sent me on a wonderful trip down memory lane. My mom loved persimmons and my grandmother loved figs. Thanks!

  23. michelle says:

    Persimmoms and figs, how deliciious! Persimmons grow like weeds here and more often than not people just leave them for the birds, especially the squishy hachiyas. I like the fuyus in in salads and my favorite way to use the hachiyas is in steamed pudding (which is really more like cake).

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