History of Gammondale Farm
- Gammondale Farm grew fresh fruits and vegetables for over 40 years in the Slate River Valley, Northwestern Ontario
- up to 40 varieties of pumpkins and squash were grown across 15 acres of farm land
- 50 tonnes (100,000 lbs) of pumpkin and squash was grown each year.
2 choices of Peas in 2020.
Spring Peas that you shell. They are great for snacking and of course they are a favourite cooked vegetable. They also freeze well for eating in the winter.
There will be Sugar Snap Peas with edible pods. They are really great for snacking and they can be used in stir fries too. They also freeze well for eating in the winter.
3 choices of Summer Squash.
Green Zucchini that are small, tender and versatile. Great raw in salads and grilled. Bigger Green Zucchini are great for roasting or using in baking muffins and loaves. Order online at the Gammondale Farm Market.
Yellow Zucchini that are small, tender and versatile.. Great raw in salads and grilled. Order online at the Gammondale Farm Market.
Patty Pan Squash that are small, tender and usually grilled. Order online at the Gammondale Farm Market.
Winter Squash, Pumpkins and Gourds
15 Choices of Winter Squash
Butternut, Spaghetti, Table Treat Acorn, Celebration Acorn, Cream of the Crop Acorn, Space Station Buttercup, Sun Spot Buttercup, Bush Delicata, Blue Hubbard, Golden Delicious Hubbard, Uchiki Kuri Hubbard, Georgia Candy Roaster, Jarrahdale Pumpkin, New England Ceddar Pumpkin and Rouge Vif d’Etampes.
3 Choices of Edible Pumpkins
- Wee Be Little, Pie Pumpkin and Jack o Lantern
- Over 30 Different Gourds (non-edibles)
- Orange and White + Yellow Striped Mini Pumpkins, Smooth and Warted Colourful Gourds, Tiny Turks, Crown of Thorns and Autumn Wings.
Preparation for planting begins as soon as the snow melts and the ground is dry enough to work using a tractor, which is usually in early May. The plastic from the previous year is pulled off by hand. This is the best “Dirty Job” ever!
Growing Pumpkins in Northwestern Ontario
New plastic mulch is laid out in strips by a machine. This plastic mulch controls weeds, warms the soil and helps maintain the moisture near the roots of the plants.
Planting the seeds begins late in May after the risk of frost because all squash, pumpkin and gourd plants are killed by temperatures below 0 Celsius. The farmer walks along the plastic with a hand held tool that punches a hole in the plastic. The farmers drops the seeds into the tool which then covers the seeds with soil.
In about 10 days, a small 2-leaf plant pokes up through the hole in the plastic, followed by big leaves on a vine.
- +Weeding Squash and Pumpkins
- The fields are weeded with machines before the vines spread out past the plastic. Pretty soon the whole field is covered by vines and huge green leaves!
- +Pollinating Squash and Pumpkins
- In Slate River, blossoming starts in mid-July. Pollination is critical for Squash and Pumpkins. Bees and other pollinators are essential and there are usually enough honey bees near Gammondale to get the job done. If the bees are not around when the flowers first come, young students are hired to hand pollinate the pumpkins to ensure an early set of “fruit”. We call it a “Pumpkin Dating Service”!
- +Identifying Blooms
- Male and female pumpkin blooms are easy to identify, once you know the difference. The male bloom appears on a slender stem that ranges from several inches to up to 1 foot long. The female bloom, on the other hand, forms close to the base of the plant with a miniature pumpkin at the base.
- +Male Pumpkin Blossoms
- Male blooms on a foot-long stem have a central stamen with yellow powdery pollen and they appear first on the pumpkin vine. Although each bloom lasts only until mid-afternoon, new male blooms open each morning to attract bees. Their first job is to announce to the insect world that fresh pollen is available so the bees establish a pathway to the garden before the female blooms open. Their second job, of course, it to provide the pollen needed to pollinate the female blooms to create baby pumpkins. Your pumpkin vine may produce a series of male blooms for a week or more before the female blooms grace the vine.
- +Here Come the Females
- Female blooms attached to the vine by a very short stem, open in the morning and shrivel by late afternoon. Pollination starts the growth of the baby squash or pumpkin when the pollen touches the sticky stigma in the centre of the flower. The tiny, swollen ovary at the base of the flower begins to grow as soon as the female bloom is pollinated by bees. If the blossom is not pollinated, or is partially pollinated, the tiny pumpkin shrivels and drops from the vine. New female blooms continue to open each day for weeks, ensuring a bountiful crop of pumpkins.
- +Harvesting Pumpkin Blooms
- You can eat fried or stuffed pumpkin blossoms as summer delicacy. Under normal conditions, harvesting male blossoms around noon before they shrivel up does not pose a problem for pumpkin production because pumpkin vines produce many more male blooms than female blooms. Some prefer to wait until several young pumpkins have already formed on the vine before harvesting pumpkin blossoms to eat, eliminating the risk of interfering with pumpkin production.
- +Harvesting Squash and Pumpkins
- Harvesting ripe and colourful squash and pumpkins begins by mid-September before the risk of a killing frost. School kids come after school and weekends to harvest the vegetables and bring them up to the farmyard. WOW! Squash and Pumpkins are so colourful! It looks so beautiful!
- +Gammondale Strawberries: A delecious History
- For over 30 years the fields of Gammondale Farm produced some of the most delicious strawberries in Ontario. Families from around the region flocked to Gammondale Farm to ‘pick-your-own’ strawberries. For many families it became a yearly tradition and a family event.
The last strawberries were picked in 2006. Big, juicy strawberries that visitors picked themselves and then they relaxed at the farm while children could visit the farm animals or have a pony ride and an strawberry sundae! Over the years, Gammondale Farm employed hundreds of youth who planted, weeded, mulched and sold the strawberries. Many returned as adults to say thank you for the best job they ever had!