Nigel Colborn says plant pumpkins for their delicious meat, not just pumpkin lanterns

You can tell it's the time of mild fertility – pumpkins are stacked with plastic skeletons and nasty sweets for sale.

Most of the gorgeous orange fruits become pumpkin lanterns – fun for the kids, but dumped on November 1st. The best part of the pumpkin, its nutritious flesh, is usually thrown away with the seeds. It's a shocking waste because both are tasty and nutritious.

The meat can be added to soups or stews, mixed into curries, or used for sweet pumpkin pie. The roasted seeds are also crispy and tasty.

Pumpkins belong to the cucumber, cucurbitaceae family, along with winter squashes, zucchini, and melons.

Winter squashes are less well known, but easy to grow, nutritious and tasty. Like pumpkins, they are allowed to fully ripen on the plants.

Nigel Colborn said the best part of the pumpkin is its nutritious meat, which is usually thrown away with the seeds. (File photo)

Their durable skins seal the tender meat and protect it from mold and putrefaction, while maintaining the moisture content.

The best known is the butternut squash, which is available almost all year round. Although they look exotic, they are easy to grow and productive. You only need good soil and a sunny location.

Winter squashes will last forever if they have flawless skin and are kept dry and cool. For pumpkins that you have grown yourself, first use those with damaged skin.


This isn't the season for pumpkin sowing, but it's an excellent time to order seeds for next year. Try a few varieties.

They will not sow them until spring, but they will be kept.

Seeds can be sown in a greenhouse between mid-March and late April. The young plants are pulled out at the end of May when the risk of frost is minimal. From May you can also sow pumpkins, zucchini and zucchini directly into the soil.

Winter gourds, like bone marrow, need fertile, well-drained, but moist soil. The young plants must also be protected from cool winds.

The pumpkin meat, which is usually dumped on November 1st, can be added to soups or stews, mixed into curries, or used for sweet pumpkin pie. (File photo)

The pumpkin meat, which is usually dumped on November 1st, can be added to soups or stews, mixed into curries, or used for sweet pumpkin pie. (File photo)

Some pumpkins and gourds develop long, creeping stems. These take up space to spread, but you can often arrange them as they develop.

Small to medium-sized pumpkins can be trained over an arch or pergola. I saw them being trained alongside fancy squashes and curious Italian tromboncino zucchini. But these are summer fruits that were collected at a young age and are not too heavy.

Winter gourds can be quite heavy, so they need support.


The name Squash comes from the Indian term Askutasquash and means "edible green thing that is eaten raw". They come in many shapes and sizes, from giant pumpkins to small acorn squashes.

Flavors can be boring and textures threadbare, but good pumpkin varieties are delicious.

Acorn squash, for example, is a market hater's dream. Usually halved and hollowed out, they are best baked with a piece of butter in the hole where the seeds were. You can spoon out the meat like with an avocado and enjoy the rich, nutty taste.

Some people even add sugar or honey to the acorn squash. The pumpkin variety Honey Bear has enough flavor for itself. Honey Boat is even sweeter.

The pumpkins are up to 20 cm long and weigh about 500 g. As with butternut squash, the shells are edible when cooked.

Squash Festival is a trailing variety, the fruits of which also have a sweet, nutty taste.

Winter gourds last a long time. But by the end of June, baby zucchini and baby patty squash will be ready, and these are much more appealing.

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