|Helen with one of her Potimarron Pumpkins|
This year I decided to try my hand at growing a rare French variety of pumpkin called Potimarron. It is said to have a rich chestnut flavour and an edible skin. The plant is supposed to produce fruits of 1-2 kilos (2-4lb) which are ready to harvest within 13 weeks from planting. If the plant is given the right conditions then it should yield up to 7kg (15lb) of fruit per plant, (so the brochure says.)
|Photo by Helen|
Pumpkins need a fairly long warm summer to produce their best, so pick a nice sunny spot to plant them, where they will get at least 6 hours of sunshine a day. I prepared my soil by digging in some lovely compost and manure, so that they have a good organic bed to rest their roots in. Then I planted out my seedlings, at least 3 ft. apart and mulched with some pea straw.
I gave them some love and attention and a liquid feed every now and again and was so excited to see how well they were doing. There's nothing nicer than looking at a healthy plant in your veggie plot.
Pumpkins are heavy feeders, so once a fortnight through their growing period is a good idea. You can vary what you feed them from liquid organic feeds, to a sprinkling of blood and bone, whatever you give them they will gobble up.
|Photo by Helen|
I kept them well watered especially through very hot days (our summers can be and are scorching on some days) and they did suffer a little from the heat, (we also have sandy soil) but they picked up again on the cooler days.
As the sun shone down on them they carried on growing and turning a lovely gold colour and now I'm able to harvesting them.
How does one tell when a pumpkin is ready to harvest? I've heard tell that one way is to give them a bit of a thump and if they sound hollow then they're ready. The colour is a good indication too, if they're that lovely golden colour all over then they should be ready. The last way is to check on the stalk. When their stalk is dry, woody and brittle then your pumpkin is ready!
I can't wait to try these babies and see what their chestnut flavour is like. If you don't have a garden plot big enough to take one of these, they do tend to sprawl all over the place, then you can grow them in a tub and let them creep over the sides and down a path.
Once planted they are easy to grow, just remember to water and feed them and they will reward you with those lovely fruits at the end of summer.