Essential gardening plants: Squashes and Pumpkins
As self-reliant people, we want to replicate the efforts of wise people who went before us. They tried all kinds of methods, and the most successful of them, imparted their wisdom to their children and passed it on. We also want to do things that require little energy and achieve maximal energy, and if we make that a focus in general, then we achieve a net positive output. Then we try to do things consistently and then using all of these methods achieve a high level of abundance.
Two crops that were first introduced from Central America and Mexico are squashes and pumpkins. They were a mainstay of the First People's agricultural efforts. As any first year gardener knows at the end of the year, “Wow, squashes if picked frequently will produce an enormous amount of food.” They are very easy to grow. They are easy to harvest. They taste good and you can eat it all. You don't lose much to insects. The weather doesn't seem to greatly affect them. They provide good nutritional value.
[link to www.encyclopediaofalabama.org
When the small squashes comes in and are six inches in length or so, if you pick the yellow straighneck or zucchini then, then the plant will willingly oblige and put out more, and just keep at it prolifically. But, if you don't pick them, then it will put its energy into that a few vegetables. Those will then get starchy and woody.
But pumpkins are really great. Now we're entering autumn and of course you'll see them in the supermarket. Pumpkins produce not only flesh to eat but valuable seeds. The seeds can be roasted and are remarkably full of protein, fat, carbs, and calories. It makes a delicious soup and can be blended with the squashes to. 100Grams of pumpkins provide half of the RDA for protein (of course in a normal diet).
[link to www.nutrition-and-you.com
[link to www.allaboutpumpkins.com
Both can be dried, and then you can live off of them all year long. The seeds of the pumpkin have great medicinal value. They are full of the amino acid tryptophan, and this induces sleep. In the absence of cow milk in the diet, something calming is very helpful.
Some cultures actually save the seeds and press out the oil, something that was discussed today on survival blog. That's probably a lot of trouble, but perhaps worth it as an alternative cooking oil, but all self-reliant people can roast and consume them for valuable calories and nutrition that stores very well.
Many of the monster pumpkins that are grown are actually squashes. We don't want one big pumpkin to carve or show off, we want as many as we can get to eat.