Friday 16 October 2015

Naked upon a pumpkin

The morning of October 13th brought with it a sharp frost that cut down our pumpkin, courgette and cucumber plants into a mushy confusion of twisted stems and disintegrating leaves, with here and there a fruit showing through. Since then the temperature has stayed at wintery levels, although without an actual frost. Time to gather in the squashes.

The squash bed ("the Maggot"), 28th September 2015
In past years we have blogged about our favourite pumpkins, e.g. see here. Needless to say we grew them again.

This year's top statistics:
  • 10 Crown Prince pumpkins at a total weight of 31.442 kg. Additionally there are two immature ones weighing just over 1kg each, which may not come to anything
  • 12 Butternut squashes totalling 7.135 kg. The two small ones are earmarked for a squash fan for her own personal consumption!
  • 2 Sweet Dumpling a.k.a. Patidou at 1.137kg plus one we have already eaten 
  • 2 Sweet Dumpling / Butternut hybrids and a strange yellow thing (Yellow Crookneck cross Butternut?) that germinated on the compost heap.
Mainly out of curiosity, we grew a couple of pumpkins for edible seed this year. The pumpkin seeds that are on sale as healthy snacks aren't milled or in any way treated to remove a hard seed coat. The varieties of pumpkin that give pumpkin seeds just don't have a seed coat to speak of. They are called "Naked Seed Pumpkins". The only readily available variety is called "Godiva" (snigger). But wait! Surely there is an excellent source of seeds. Your local supermarket sells the stuff by the ton, 250gm at a time! In April I took a couple from a Bio Coop packet, making sure they were undamaged. The small print identified the variety as Styriaca, and they came from the Ukraine. They germinated readily, and grew into compact plants. Each bore one fruit.

Styriaca pumpkin, 28th September
By 12th October one fruit was ripe, almost entirely orange and ready to pick.

Ready for dissection
And here is the result.

Fresh pumpkin seeds

From the weight and the price of a 250gm pack, we calculated the value at 83 centimes. They are much juicier than shop-bought seeds, though. They will be put through the food drier for half an hour or so.

Our allotmenting colleague Steve Shillitoe, from whom we learned of this ploy, reckons that the fruit is edible too, so we'll give it a try.


Susan said...

I assume I am the butternut pumpkin fan? Many thanks for thinking of me once again :-)

Dawn said...

lovely haul of squashes, I like the idea of the pumpkin for seeds, I will have to try that trick thanks :-)

Vera said...

We are having a cold spell as well, so we had better retrieve our winter squash as well...but what a good idea for growing pumpkins for seed. I did try eating some of our pumpkin seeds last year but met the problem of the resistant seed shell, so will definitely have a go at growing some from our local bio shop. Thanks for posting the idea.