On my list of favourite things to grow pumpkins are well up there and come in a very close second to my all time favourite, yes you guessed right, tomatoes.
This past season I grew four different varieties:
Whangaparaoa Crown (Weighed in average 3.6 kg)
I’ve been growing this grey skinned variety off and on for over 30 years because it’s a reliable producer, seven to nine pumpkins off each vine this year. As a dry pumpkin it stores well and makes for a tasty soup and is equally good when roasted. These two are about half way to maturity and will double in size.
Marina Di Chioggia (Weighed in 6.4 kg)
This Italian heirloom originally from Chioggia in the province of Venice, Italy came highly recommended so it will be interesting to see how it tastes. Upon checking this last week I discovered dry rot developing in the stem so I decided to bring it in.
It was planted in an area where the soil hadn’t been prepared as well as it could have been and as a result I’ve only ended up with a few of these. The one pictured above is the biggest and best of the crop. I intend to save the seeds and plant in a better spot next season.
As it grew the changing colours have been quite amazing and it has grown from a handsome adolescent into this ugly old ogre shown below.
Guess you can’t judge a pumpkin by it’s skin and based on what I’ve read about this variety it should be well worth the effort. Probably need an axe to open it up when the time comes to savour this gastronomical wonder.
Queensland Blue (Weighed in 4.7 kg)
Normally I wouldn’t let an Aussie near my garden but I guess there comes a time to let bygones be bygones. Also I feel the need to see if Australia can produce anything worthwhile besides Midnight Oil, Victorian Bitter and Fosters.
To be sportsman like I will hold off passing judgment until this one hits my taste buds.
Strange as it may seem I suspect this Queensland heirloom could prove to be “fair dinkum”.
Now lastly I should mention the most prolific producer of this cucurbita foursome.
Waltham Butternut (Weighed in average 2.3 kg)
Along with one Whangaparaoa Crown these were planted in the the corner of my garden as there was no where else for them to go. By doing this I broke one of my own rules as I never plant pumkins in my main growing area as the tend to take over.
The crown pumpkin was true to form and set about smothering everything in sight but the butternut only took up a minimal amount of space but yet produced a bumper crop. This variety therefore would be a good choice if you only have a small garden.
For me the success in growing pumpkins is:
- Plenty of space where they can grow undisturbed.
- Good soil with plenty of organic material such as compost and aged animal manure.
- All day sun.
- Ongoing feeding.
- Regular watering if things become too dry as happened this season just past.
- Having plenty of bees included bumble bees to handle that all important task of pollinating all those flowers. A little hand pollination also helps.
Now that I have a beehive situated within a stones throw of where the pumpkins grow it will be interesting to gauge next years pollination results against the current ones.
If you have the space I’d suggest growing pumpkins as they are easy to grow and don’t require a lot of effort.