Not quite autumn yet…..actually we’ve only had the occasional relief from the wet season humidity and heat which they say gets worse every year.
But pumpkins are so quintessentially autumn in the USA that I thought it was nearly close enough to have Halloween/ Great Pumpkin fantasies.
I love pumpkins. They just sort of hang around down the paddock and grow madly when its wet and sometime later in the year when the snakes have gone to bed and we are adventurous enough to venture into the weed patch, we stumble over pumpkins just waiting to come up to the kitchen and be eaten. They come pre-packed in their own storage container and many will last a good few months without refrigeration.
Just be aware that there is a difference between pumpkins and squash. And they are not supposed to be able to cross pollinate. So the previous pumpkin post showing a jap pumpkin is actually a squash: a softer, sweeter flesh that doesn’t keep as long (but still long enough).
Above from left to right is a blue hubbard squash, an ironbark pumpkin and a Cinderella pumpkin.
The squash is supposed to be a long keeper. I have never grown and never tasted it so I’m looking forward to that. The ironbark pumpkin was said to be a hard skinned Australian breed. It has not given a good result but that could be the season, not the breed. So it will be tried again. The Cinderella pumpkin was an absolute surprise, given that I had forgotten that we planted it. I did wonder what the big orange thing in the garden was. We were waiting for the stem to brown off to pick it and it nearly doubled in size in the last few weeks of growth – possibly because we got some heavy rainfall after a dry summer.
All of these are heritage non-hybrid so I will be saving the seeds. The lovely thing is that each pumpkin have lots of seeds for me to be going on with next season. So only one pumpkin represents a paddock full in the new growing year.
Next year, these three plus the japs which are super reliable and the Queensland Blue, in an attempt to keep fruit all year round.
Ultimately, I want to try more breeds, especially the cow pumpkin which grows huge for feeding stock and the other one from which pepitas are made from the pumpkin seeds. We’ll see what happens with that.
And when the pumpkins stage a takeover, I’ll either have to eat faster or move out. This year, Great Pumpkin, I would like to wish for less possums and bandicoots to eat my garden.