Each season has its own vegetables: pumpkins in autumn
The pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima/moschata) has a very long history and was brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus. Its name is thought to have originated from the Latin word ‘cocutia’, which means head. During the centuries, its name was changed a few times, before taking on the current one, pumpkin.
Pumpkins provide the body with excellent nutrients as they are rich in beta-carotene sodium, calcium, glutamine and arginine, for cell renewal, but also amino acids, fibres and cucurbitine.
Both the seeds and the flowers can be eaten.
Although it’s extensively used in cooking, thanks to its many beneficial properties pumpkin is also very popular in herbal medicine, phytotherapy and the cosmetics field.
But how and when is it grown?
It can be planted directly in the final location when the soil temperature reaches at least 20°C, and is mostly grown from seedlings.
For bushy varieties at least 1 m between rows and at least 0.5 m in the same row. Varieties that spread out a lot on the ground need more space.
One plant per person.
Outdoors in May; seedlings in April. The seeds germinate in 8 days.
Pumpkins need a lot of fertiliser: manure or home compost is used, but they can also be planted on the compost itself. Fruits may dry out due to boron or manganese deficiency.
Irrigation If a larger crop is desired, the pumpkins should be watered generously, at least every two days to a depth of 20 cm. They are covered with organic mulch
It needs a lot of nutrients. It’s fertilised with manure and requires further fertilisation with compost, seaweed infusion or organic mulch.
It needs regular watering to a depth of 30 cm. The leaves should not be watered.
Can be planted with
basil, sweetcorn, sunflower, bean, onion, nasturtium, broad beans, peas, black radish, radish, tomato, lettuce, mint
Should not be planted with
Diseases and pests
If the pumpkins are attacked by pests or diseases, it is better to plant new seedlings (until mid-August). Adequate spacing between rows and soil with good air circulation should be ensured, as well as using organic mulch and occasionally watering with seaweed infusions.
Pumpkins are ripe when their colour deepens or when the stalk turns yellow, or is covered with a crust. To be suitable for storage, pumpkins must be harvested ripe and stored in a cold cellar.
Eating The fruit pulp, flowers and seeds can all be eaten. They contain many vitamins and minerals
Seeds are only collected if there are no other pumpkin varieties in the vicinity (within 500 m). Bitter flesh indicates that the pumpkin is only decorative or a hybrid.
Interesting facts There are edible pumpkins and decorative pumpkins that are not edible