Pumpkins are a vegetable from the Cucurbitaceae family, In Malaysia, the consumption of pumpkins has increased substantially over the last 20 years.
This type of vegetable has various health benefits as they contain many essential nutrients such as potassium, vitamin C, folate, fibre, and phytochemicals. They are used as an interchangeably vegetable with other winter squashes.
In Malaysia, pumpkins are of the Cucurbita moshata and Cucurbita moschata Duchesne species. They are round in shape and have colours ranging from deep yellow to orange. The seeds and pulp can be found inside the pumpkin.
Pumpkins can be harvested after 30 to 90 days of planting, and you can store them for an extended period. They are often left to sun-dry before storing. In addition, they must be kept at a temperature of 10-15° Celsius and a moisture level of 50-70%. In this condition, they can be kept up to six months.
Pumpkins like warm weather, so in tropical places such as Malaysia, they produce all-year-round.
Types of Pumpkins
Pumpkins come in different shapes, sizes, and colours. The most well-known variety is the round orange pumpkin. Other popular varieties include:
Cinderella pumpkins are red-orange pumpkins that have become very popular in recent years for their shape and bright colour.
They are an excellent choice for pies as they are semi-sweet and moist. They are also usually used as decor because of their bright orange colour.
Jumbo pumpkins are big and fat, and they are often part of international pumpkin harvest festivals, where they are packed in and lifted on scales. Jumbo pumpkins are usually not eaten or carved as they don’t have much flavour, and digging the pulp can be a task.
Some of the most well-known jumbo pumpkins are:
- Atlantic Giant
- Big Moon
- Dill’s Atlantic Giant
- Musquee de Provence
- Prize Winner
As mentioned, the most popular type of pumpkins is classic oranges. There are many varieties and hybrids of traditional orange pumpkins which come in various shapes and sizes. Some of them are:
- Autumn Gold
- Big Autumn
- Connecticut Field Pumpkins
- Harvest Moon
- Jumpin’ Jack
- Sugar or Pie Pumpkins
- Winter Luxury
How To Grow Pumpkins
Gardeners love to grow pumpkins because they are inexpensive and can grow well in warm weather. Follow these tips to grow pumpkins:
- Since pumpkins come in different sizes, colours, and shapes, the first step is to choose the pumpkin seeds of your preference.
- Plant the pumpkin seeds in a full-sun area as they usually need at least six hours of sun a day.
- Pumpkins usually mature in 95 to 120 days.
- It is best to plant the seeds in hills as they tend to warm up and drain water quicker than growing them flat on the ground.
- For faster germination, it is essential to prepare the seeds by grinding the seed edges so that moisture can get inside. This also can be achieved by putting the seeds in water for up to two hours to help the seeds sprout faster. After soaking the pumpkin seeds, drain the water, place them in a plastic bag, and then seal it.
- Depending on the pumpkin seeds, you will need 91cm around each plant for bush type pumpkins. And 2.40 to 3.0 meters between plants for the vining type. Remember, vining pumpkins need a lot of space to spread.
- The soil temperature should be at least 21° Celsius.
- Drop 3 to 4 pumpkin seeds 2.50cm deep into the hole.
- Apply water to the plants early in the morning. Keep in mind that excessive moisture can enhance disease and pest issues. Make sure to water slowly and moisten the soil at least 15cm.
- To protect small pumpkins against pests, you can use row covers. Make sure to remove the covers once the pumpkins start to bloom so they can be pollinated.