Unlike the ones found in the west with an orange skin and associated mostly with Halloween to be carved into Jack-o-Lanterns, in India pumpkins usually have a green skin. A part of the Cucurbitaceae family of plants just like cucumbers, squash and cantaloupes, pumpkins are widely cultivated and consumed all over the world. Though not everyone’s favourite veggie, they are extremely healthy to eat1! Wait till you know of the nutritional value it carries. Pumpkins are an excellent source of Vitamin A, E, C, iron, folate, dietary fiber and antioxidants. Its consumption can greatly help you with lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and breast cancer, while fighting fatigue, boosting the immune system, maintaining optimum weight, and improving vision and digestion. A water-rich vegetable, pumpkins will keep your feeling refreshed and hydrated sufficiently too.
Pumpkins are generally cooked after removing the seeds with spices. Also generously included in stews, soups, and even desserts. You can even steam, boil or bake it for a delicious savory dish.
Sowing Time: Summer & rainy season
Sowing Distance: Plant to plant = 1”, Line to Line = 4”
Fruit Weight: 3 – 4 kgs
Fruit Shape: Flatish round Days to
Maturity: 70 – 75 days
Grow Guide: PLANTING INSTRUCTIONS
Sow seeds directly in the soil. Pumpkins are very sensitive to cold. Make sure the temperature is ideal before sowing.
Plant seeds in rows or “pumpkin hills” which are the size of small pitcher mounds. With hills, the land will warm more quickly and the seeds will sprout quickly. This also helps with drainage and pest control.
Prepare the hills in advance with old manure dug deep into the soil (12 to 15 inches).
Plant the seeds 1 inch deep (4 to 5 seeds per mound). Space mounds 4 to 8 feet apart.
Your plants should develop in less than a week and sprout within 5 to 10 days. When the plants are 2 to 3 inches tall, thin to 2 to 3 plants per hill by snipping off unwanted plants.
WATERING: Pumpkins are thirsty plants and need lot of water. Water one litre per week.
PESTS: The pumpkins that are attacked by pests may show the following signs – Plants show brown blotches or stunted and distorted growth, honeydew substance, white powdery spots on leaves, deformed (bumps) and discolored fruit and leaves, etc. Common pests that attack this crop are Squash bugs, Cucumber beetles, Aphids, Squash Vine Borer, Powdery Mildew, Anthracnose.
SOIL: They prefer very rich soil that is well-drained and not too soggy. The ideal pumpkin plant soil should have a pH range of 5.5-7.5.
SPOT: Choose a spot that receives plenty of sunlight to light shade
TEMPERATURE: Seeds will germinate at 15°C (60°F), but they germinate best at 29-32°C (85°F-90°F)
HOW TO HARVEST
A pumpkin ripens when its skin turns a rich, strong colour (orange for most varieties)
When you thumb the pumpkin, the rind will feel heavy and it will sound empty. Press your nail into the pumpkin’s skin; if it resists puncture, it is fully ripe.
Handle pumpkins very gently or they may bruise.
To harvest the pumpkin, cut the fruit off the vine carefully with a sharp knife or with the help of pruners, do not pull. Be certain not to trim too close to the pumpkin.
If you get a lot of vines and flowers but no pumpkins, you need more bees in your garden to pollinate the flowers.
Seeds can last for 6 years.