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Articles by Leigh Glenn

Find Lothian-grown pumpkins from around the world at Riva Farmers Market

Your search for the perfect pumpkin may end at the Anne Arundel County Farmers Market, where Ray and Sonja Wood of Lothian, with grandson Brandon Myers, offer a bumper crop of heritage pumpkins from around the world.
    Some are huge: not pumpkin-catapulting huge, but pumpkin-carving-contest-worthy. As Jack-o’-lanterns or on uncarved display, they’re great.
    Decoration was the couple’s original pumpkin plan.
    Ray, who grew up on a dairy farm, took up pumpkin-growing about 15 years ago to ease into retirement after a career as an electronics engineer. “It keeps us active, but it doesn’t pay much,” he says from the tailgate of one of the two pickup trucks he uses to haul the pumpkins to market usually starting in late September.
    But customers wanted pumpkins they could eat, too. Specific pumpkins. One wanted a Long Island Cheese pumpkin. Others followed with requests for pumpkins they’d grown up with. That launched the Woods into growing heritage pumpkins from all over the world, including France, Thailand, Italy and Australia.
    The Woods also grow gourds, which are purely decorative.
    Every year, they harvest about three acres of winter squash and pumpkins, including the green and orange Fairy Tale, Blue Hubbard, long and appropriately named Pink Banana, and one of Sonja Wood’s favorites, Galeaux d’Eysines, a warty French pumpkin that’s good in pies, soups and pumpkin bread.
    All pumpkins are, technically, squashes, but there are differences. Winter squashes tend to have a stronger taste and hold their shape better, Sonja says. Pumpkins, which tend to be milder, don’t retain their shape as well. Some, like Pink Banana, offer both ­qualities.
    The tough skins of winter squash and pumpkins help to preserve them through winter. Their mild flavor means they can be used in a variety of ways: soups, stews, breads and pies, or cubed and baked with a little butter, maple syrup and balsamic for a side dish.
    Food historian and heritage grower William Woys Weaver says that the darker orange flesh around the seeds is the tastiest part of the pumpkin.
    “There’s nothing here I don’t eat,” Ray Wood says. “My wife finds some easier to prepare than others.”
    Washed, dried and kept in an unlighted, cool (50-degree) area, pumpkins and winter squash will last for months. Cooked pumpkin, roasted or steamed, can be peeled, cooled and frozen for later use.
    Seeds are also edible. Roast washed, seasoned seeds for a snack. Or save the seeds and try to grow your own. Cucurbits cross readily, so you might be surprised by what develops; allow plenty of space for these vining plants.
    Find your perfect pumpkin at the market through October 25.

Can’t get your boat to a pump-out station? One will come to you

If you spend much time on your boat, it’s probably got a head. What you put into the head can’t go into the Bay. It’s against the law to pump effluent into the Bay or its tributaries or within three miles of the U.S. coastline.
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You’re never too young to garden

As a child in west central Florida, I was lucky to have a father and grandmother who were into plants. Dad introduced me to the bottlebrush shrub that lived beside our neighbor’s constructed pond. The sharp scent of its leaves, its fuzzy, flouncy red flowers and the way its seedpods all clustered together like rock candy on a stick fascinated me.
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St. John’s College grad Ahmet Ertegün made good — very good

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Learn from plantsman Bill Cullina and ­benefit Unity Gardens

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    Scratch the itch by honing your design skills with plantsman, author and Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens executive director William Cullina. He comes to Annapolis March 7 to talk about the botany of design.
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Recipes for humans and other fanciers

Jack-o-lanterns have withered, but pumpkins are not old news yet. November is the biggest month of the year for pumpkin consumption. Pie, ice cream, cheesecake, soup, muffins, bread and lattes all feature pumpkins this time of year. In anticipation of Thanksgiving, canned pumpkin sales soar. Ninety percent of canned pumpkin sales are made in the fourth quarter.
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Read the book, meet the author

Gardeners don’t need degrees in botany. But knowing a little botany — plus a bit about the history of human relationships with plants — creates a deeper gardening experience. Just ask local author Ruth Kassinger.
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For a sweet birthday, plan a favorites tour

My beloved, Nick, and I were three months into our relationship when his birthday arrived in August 2008. By then I knew what interested him — history, travel, sculpting — well enough to plan a day trip that combined it all. I did not tell him where we would go, just to wear sturdy shoes and bring a cap and sunscreen.
    On a sunny Sunday, we headed south on Route 2, eventually ending up at Colton’s Point in St. Mary’s County.
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Good earth still open for gardeners

On a farm in St. Margaret’s, land that had been in sod has sprouted raised beds for a new community garden. The one-half-acre space gets full sun, has good fencing to keep out the deer and plenty of water. Thanks to the dedication of the farmers and members of Grow Annapolis, those with shade-bound yards now have a place to go — not just to raise food, but also to make new friends....

Will our trash be ­treasure in 3,000 years?
You’re living on top of history, your story standing on others before it. If you live on the water, that history could be middens.
 
Chesapeake Country is dotted with thousands of the old refuse heaps built up of trash left behind by pre-Europeans. Our middens are mostly eastern oyster shells — plus tons of bones, shells, pottery shards and chipped stone that survived thousands of years.
 
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