Pumpkins and squashes

  • 10 Replies
  • 5703 Views
*

Alisdair

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
Pumpkins and squashes
« on: October 30, 2011, 11:17:44 AM »
Pumpkins and summer and winter squashes are traditional mediterranean-climate staples.
Which varieties to members find most rewarding for taste?
And are members able to ripen any varieties without supplementary water before the really hot weather sets in?
We grow quite a few here in the UK, and set up a display for people on the lane past our house to enjoy (we're particularly fond of the way the various Hubbard varieties look so like plump little animals or birds, as in the second picture). Photos taken on this wet morning, as it's Hallowe'en.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

pamela

  • Sr. Member
Re: Pumpkins and squashes
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2011, 03:42:24 PM »
As lifelong pumpkin eaters (pumpkins are as important in the New Zealand diet from babyhood as are potatoes) we find that the sweetest and best pumpkins are the green skinned Hokkaido variety sometimes called Kabocha. We also enjoyed a variety called 'Ironbark' although I have never seen them in the UK. Pumpkins are the most delicious, healthy and underrated (in the UK) vegetable.  In our early days on arriving in London we would traipse up to Norfolk once a year in November and get a sackful from an organic farmer and eke them out over the year.  Then, they were not available for human consumption only for animal fodder.  We get great pumpkins here in Spain.  I bought one yesterday.
Jávea, Costa Blanca, Spain
Min temp 5c max temp 38c  Rainfall 550 mm 

"Who passes by sees the leaves;
 Who asks, sees the roots."
     - Charcoal Seller, Madagascar

*

Alisdair

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
Re: Pumpkins and squashes
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2011, 05:51:00 PM »
Thanks for the tip, Pamela. We do grow Kabocha and like it a lot. Have never tried Ironbark (which from its name must be a brilliant keeper).
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

*

John

  • Hero Member
Re: Pumpkins and squashes
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2011, 09:22:03 AM »
We occasionally eat pumkin, mostly in soups though I am not over keen personally! I seem to remember the best in a tasing we did a few years ago was a blue (grey) skinned variety, probably Australian. This topic has allowed me to slip in a favourite topic of mine Begonia. Not really acceptable in true med terms but I can use it to mention that it is a very close relative of the Cucurbitaceae. If you look at the female flowers the stigmas are very similar in both families.
The first one is a colour match for your pumpkins Begonia 'Glowing Embers' a new very floriferous tuberous cultivar which produces lots af male flowers. . Followed by a female flower on the quite hardy Begonia chitoensis. This one shows the stigma well.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 09:24:21 AM by John »
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

*

Alisdair

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
Re: Pumpkins and squashes
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2011, 09:33:59 AM »
John, I had to laugh, trust you to find a way of mentioning begonias under Pumpkins!
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

*

John

  • Hero Member
Re: Pumpkins and squashes
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2011, 09:47:44 AM »
I'm just worried about how much soup you will have to eat!
Don't think that this will be the only connection to Begonias!!!!!!
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

Re: Pumpkins and squashes
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2011, 08:50:40 AM »
Pamela, thanks for the Ironbark suggestion - always glad to add another tasty pumpkin to our list. I've been trying to track down Ironbark seed and have found some on e-bay. I just wanted to check with you if the ones you liked were green and knobbly on the outside and golden yellow on the inside. We've found two lots of pics one of which is smooth and grey rather than knobbly. Will hold my breath before putting in a bid for some seed! 
Helena
I garden and have a wholesale hardy cyclamen nursery in south east England. Also garden on the Mani peninsular in southern Greece and to a lesser extent in south-west France. Am an MGS and Cyclamen Society member, and have been involved with the journal for the latter for nigh on 20 years.

pamela

  • Sr. Member
Re: Pumpkins and squashes
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2011, 04:06:51 PM »
Helena ..the ones we ate when we were young were smooth and grey.  You may have one in your picture of pumpkins. Its at about 1 o'clock directly underneath a small orange one. Strangely the Ironbark pumpkin when cooked had a paper thin skin which one could peel off.  It had a delicious flavour always very sweet and as children we loved it.
Jávea, Costa Blanca, Spain
Min temp 5c max temp 38c  Rainfall 550 mm 

"Who passes by sees the leaves;
 Who asks, sees the roots."
     - Charcoal Seller, Madagascar

*

John

  • Hero Member
Re: Pumpkins and squashes
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2011, 05:48:28 PM »
Here we go again!!!!!!!
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

*

Alisdair

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
Re: Pumpkins and squashes
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2011, 07:00:57 PM »
Naughty boy, if you'd checked for Digimarc you'd have seen the copyright notice said Restricted Use, Do Not Copy - but forgiven!  (just having fun, gently hoisting you with your own petard...  ;) )
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 08:03:09 PM by Alisdair »
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

Re: Pumpkins and squashes
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2011, 08:15:34 AM »
Pamela, thanks for the Ironbark description (the smoother grey-skinned one came up when I googled Irohnbar so we'll try and track seed of that down). The one-o'clock pumpkin is called Crown Prince, a favourite of our pumpkin-rather-than-potatoes neighbour who says it has the best taste. Perhaps it's an Ironbark in disguise!

And, John, I love our "disguised" chickens - could be our Christmas card this year!!

I garden and have a wholesale hardy cyclamen nursery in south east England. Also garden on the Mani peninsular in southern Greece and to a lesser extent in south-west France. Am an MGS and Cyclamen Society member, and have been involved with the journal for the latter for nigh on 20 years.