By Heather Kirk-Ballard
LSU AgCenter Horticulturist
The novelist Samuel Butler when reported, “Autumn is the mellower season, and what we shed in bouquets, we extra than acquire in fruit.” Fortuitously for the Gulf South, this is not specifically correct, as many flowers are even now in bloom. But we also get to take pleasure in some of the sensory delights of the fall time: fallen leaves, pumpkins, even apples.
This is my most loved time of yr. As the days get started to shorten and the calendar year comes to a shut, there are so lots of fascinating items heading on in the backyard.
Very first, let’s communicate briefly about apples. Though they’re not a sizeable crop in the South, it is feasible to mature apples below. 1 of our major hurdles is not getting sufficient chilling hours to match numerous varieties. A number of low-chill versions are accessible, on the other hand, and develop nicely in Louisiana.
Of study course, autumn is time for harvesting pumpkins and squash — all associates of the gourd loved ones regarded as Curcurbitaceae. They arrive in a huge vary of styles, measurements and shades, but none more unforgettable than orange, the formal shade of tumble.
To complicate points, there are summertime squash and winter season squash the names designates the time of 12 months every is grown and harvested. Summer season squash is developed in the warm time and harvested in the early drop. They commonly improve in bush variety, and the fruit is eaten when it is younger and tender.
Summer squash involve individuals with slim rinds these types of as yellow crookneck, which has a warty rind, and straightneck squash, which is also yellow but has easy skin. Zucchini is a environmentally friendly-skinned squash, and it has obtained attractiveness as a alternative for pasta noodles to reduce carbohydrate consumption. Then there are the scalloped or “patty pan” summer time squashes that are flat-topped and rounded with scalloped rinds.
In addition to summertime squash, there are wintertime squash. They are also developed in the summer time — but they experienced in the cooler weather conditions. These are the tricky-rind squashes this sort of as acorn, butternut and spaghetti.
The all-time favorite squash of the drop is the pumpkin. They are generally planted in July so they can be harvested in October in time for Halloween. They have a challenging rind that allows them hold for a longer period in cooler temperatures. Pumpkins are a obstacle to expand in the incredibly hot and humid South, and they need a excellent offer of space — but it can be finished.
Pumpkins occur in all sizes from miniature to jumbo. They are all good for decorating throughout the slide. Miniatures make terrific centerpieces and can be painted. The medium to jumbo sizes are the very best for carving jack-o-lanterns.
Finally, but surely not least, are the gourds. These really hard-skinned squashes have a long history. Gourds are at times bizarre-seeking decorative greens and are some of the oldest cultivated plants. Effectively non-edible, gourds ended up employed by a lot of cultures as instruments mainly because of their rough rinds that persisted for several years on several years. The Egyptians as soon as utilized them as utensils, drinking water bottles and storage containers. Wander about any slide craft fair and you are sure to come across “gourdgeous” art and handy devices all built from gourds.
There are 3 main forms. Decorative gourds (Cucurbita pepo) are employed to make decorations simply because of their vibrant shapes and little dimensions. Bottle gourds (Lagenaria siceraria) are very tough-shelled gourds utilised as h2o vessels and dippers. After used as utensils, they are now utilized to make birdhouses and other ornamental home merchandise. Finally, sponge gourds (Luffa aegyptiaca or L. cylindrical) are the types utilized to make luffas or sponges simply because of their finely textured inner fiber.
There are so lots of unique forms of squashes, and they all keep a place in our hearts and properties each tumble. They are enjoyment and comparatively effortless to improve in the yard.
If you’d like to have some of your own, maintain in brain that most squashes need to be planted in the heat period. Apples, like other trees, should be planted in the winter season.
You can come across Louisiana wide variety tips for all of these crops that we delight in through autumn by going to www.LSUAgCenter.com.