Pumpkin Time

Pumpkin season is upon us here on TGOG’s urban farm.  This is the third year I have attempted to grow pumpkins and this year has been the most successful.

Year one, I planted butternuts in a large pot and a fair bit of vine and lots of flowers, but it kept on drying out, so therefore no pumpkins.

Year two, butternuts again, and in a small garden bed.  For my hard work I received two smallish butternuts that were very tasty, but there were just not enough of them.

Year three.  Success!

I planted quite a few varieties but only three really grew well.  In the photo are Australian Butter, Golden Nugget and Queensland Blue pumpkins that I picked yesterday.  There are still about four more pumpkins on the vines still growing, and to my amazement I found a self seeded Butternut plant that has been pollinated amongst my tomatoes.  I should get two nice sized butternuts as a gift from nature!

So, why was this year different than the first two?  Well, I selected an area where the plants could stretch their legs, and prepared the bed with lots of organic manure and compost.  I also ensured that each plant had more than enough water and that the bed was well drained.  I set up drip irrigation to water them twice a week as allowed by water restrictions, and grey-water from our washing machine from just about every wash.  When each plant got about 5 metres long, I pinched off the growing tips so that side shoots would develop female flowers.  I then let the bees do their thing, and when I notice that they were not around, I tried my hand at pollination with some success.

When I harvested these seven pumpkins I kept as much stalk as I could on each of them so that they will keep for longer.  I removed the vines that were attached to them, being careful not to disturb or cut the vines to the still growing pumpkins.  I checked this morning and everything is still alive and well.  Later on today, I will be putting all those vines into the compost bin to rot down into more wonderful hummus.

I love pumpkins in soup, scones, roasted, mashed, steamed.  There are just so many ways to eat this wonderful vegetable.  I reckon we will have enough to get us through winter, and maybe into next summer at this rate!

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Comments

  1. says

    Fantastic. Please tell me, how do I know when it is picking time? What are the ‘signs’ I should look for!!

    I was intending to leave them on til they changed to a nice appropriate colour, and the stems started to go woody, making sure I left enough stem on them when I cut them off… does this sound right to you? I think I read this somewhere… please advise, Oh great one of the pumpkin patch!

    Then try to store them for as long as possible while we eat them one by one! We will only have 4 Butternuts, so won’t take long, LOL, I could put pumpkin into everything!

  2. says

    Awesome. Sadly we won’t have any this year, since we moved house at the wrong time.

    My wife makes a fantastic roasted pumpkin vegetarian lasagne. It’s really, really good, and freezes well too.

    Pumpkin soup is another great way to freeze pumpkin!

  3. says

    @ dixiebelle

    No real science in the picking. The stems had started to harden up, and the colour looked right and they looked like they were as big as they were going to get. The others still on the vine are a lot smaller and the stems are still green like the vine. I winged it!

    @ Darren

    Such a shame mate. Hope you get a great crop next year.

    @ GreenerMe

    Thanks Sarhn!

    Gav

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