Halloween: Fence cobweb

Hello! And welcome to a special, spooktacular edition of Tendrils. It’s all about Halloween this week, which means you can expect to see a lot about pumpkins. And bats. And pumpkins. But there won’t be any spiders, so you don’t have to worry about that.

We’ll start off with an introduction to chiropterophily, which is plant pollination by bats. Awkward Botany begins with a reassurance that bats aren’t going to suck your blood, the majority being either insectivorous or nectarivorous. Aren’t we learning some good words today?

Given that bats a) don’t suck your blood and b) either eat insects or pollinate flowers, it sounds like a good idea to encourage them into the garden. We have one that lives in a nearby tree and sometimes feeds over our garden (on the wing, he doesn’t stick his head in the flowers); we call him Cricket. The RHS have some advice on encouraging bats into the garden and you can download a lovely PDF about these stars of the night that has been written for Wild About Gardens Week (which ends on Sunday). The Bat Conservation Trust have a page about bat boxes, which includes instructions on how to build your own.

Moving on from plant buddies to the plants themselves, Atlas Obscura delve into history to a time when when tomatoes were blamed for witchcraft and werewolves. I understand that people are (wisely) wary of new foods, and that the Solanaceae are a bit dodgy on account of the poisonous members of the family, but werewolves seems a bit of a stretch…. After all, people eat them all the time, not just when they’re dining on the dark side.

The Guardian explores the relationship between plant poisons, herbal remedies and witches in time for some cauldron chemistry.

Last year’s Halloween Tendrils covered things like ergot and LSD, zombie plants, walnuts that look like brains and growing your own broom, so you can head back into the archives for those. This year we’ll focus on garlic instead, with everlasting garlic in the garden and what to do with a garlic glut, once the threat of vampire attack has receded.

This week I’ve been finalising the planting plan for Incredible Edible’s next outing – we’re going to be planting some fruit next month. We’re including a trio of blueberries, three different varieties to extend the planting season. Suttons currently have an offer on their blueberry plants collection – £21.99 for three plants, which is a saving of 51%. This has absolutely nothing to do with Halloween, it just means you get fruit next year 🙂

Right, we’re down to the pumpkin recipes. I’ve blogged about pumpkin porridge and pumpkin brownies on my food blog. There are so many good pumpkin recipes out there, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, that a think they are best served up as a listicle 🙂

6 Awesome Ways To Eat Your Halloween Pumpkin:

  1. Saffron Pumpkin Pasta Bake with Pistachios & Goat Cheese
  2. Gaia’s Feasts: Spicy Pumpkin Pie
  3. Pumpkin Leather
  4. Borlotti Bean and Pumpkin stew
  5. Stuffed Baby Pumpkins
  6. Squash, Walnut and Goat’s Cheese pizza

Right! If that lot doesn’t cause a pumpkin shortage, I don’t know what will. Have a fangastic weekend everybody, and I’ll see you back here for Tendrils next week.