Back in the December update I wrote about a couple of unknown plants that had germinated in compost in a pot beside the new chook run. I’ve reproduced that part of the post below :
When I built the new chook run, I put a couple of large tubs on either side of the doorway. I filled them with compost and left them until I’d decided what to plant in them. In the meantime a couple of pumpkins germinated in one of the tubs. It wasn’t what I would have planted, as there’s not much room for them to run rampant as they usually do, but I let them grow on anyway.
They’ve turned out to be a couple of oddballs. They’re not running everywhere, but growing in a clump like a zucchini :
They’ve flowered already and a couple of fruits are forming (I did my thing with the paintbrush) :
There’s a robust central stem and the new flower buds are in a tight cluster. It certainly looks like a zucchini :
They can’t possibly be zucchinis because I eat all my zucchinis before they go to seed. There would never be any zucchini seed in the compost. They’re not like any other pumpkin I’ve grown. If they came from the compost, it must be something I’ve bought. I normally only buy Butternuts and the occasional Kent. And then I remembered.
I’d bought a variety from Coles I’d never heard of, called Naranka Gold. It had bright orange flesh and was beautiful roasted. I’d Googled it at the time and found it had been specially developed and grown for Coles. They say it’s a cross between a Chilean variety and the Kent. I’d saved seed but some would have ended up in the worm farm and ultimately in the compost.
I hadn’t sown any of that seed this season, so I got it out and sowed some in a large tub. It will be interesting to see if that’s what’s in the chook house tub. I hope so, the flavour was exceptional.
That was then. This is now.
Well, those couldn’t-be-zucchinis weren’t zucchinis after all. One of the pumpkins I’d planted on a hugelkulture mound was a Grey variety. It produced a pumpkin just like the two in the tub :
So they were pumpkins after all and they came from the compost (they’re small and not grey because they didn’t develop properly).
But….the interesting thing was the seed I’d sown of the Naranka Gold variety bought from Coles. This is what it produced :
How pretty is that?
It even has yellow stems :
I’m sure the colours aren’t due to a nutrient deficiency, because I sowed a couple more seeds in another spot and they were the same (they haven’t done well because it was a dry spot).
The other thing worth noticing is that there’s not a single spot of downy mildew on the leaves. All my zucchinis and other pumpkins were covered in it and they’ve been pulled out. These seeds were planted late in the season, but even so, the plants have been subject to the same weather conditions as the early-planted ones and I would have expected these to have succumbed too. Interesting, eh?
Flower buds are starting to appear in the leaf axils on the stem, but I don’t have much hope that they’ll actually develop into pumpkins this late in the season.
I have a little bit of seed left. I’ll certainly be sowing it again next season and I’ll be keeping an eye out in Coles for more of this variety.
Excellent flavour, attractive plants and maybe mildew resistant. What more could you want in a pumpkin?