Pumpkin antics

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?

9 Responses to “Pumpkin antics”

  1. narf77 Says:

    My pumpkins didn’t do well this year. I had a lot of fruit forming, growing to about the size of a tennis ball and then turning yellow and rotting and falling off the vines. Most of the pumpkin vines that grew came from those big yellow pumpkins that Stevie-boy has been buying me from the grocers so it might be that they are not all that viable. Some have grown, but they are all grey skinned. I had a few pumpkins grow from some that grew last year and that obviously rotted under the mass of vegetation that was Sanctuary last year. This year it’s tomatoes that have gone feral. I have promised myself that I will learn to stake and prune tomatoes next year! I have powdery on my zukes and am seriously considering not planting them next year. 3 years in a row, they have succumbed to both powdery and blossom end rot. Let us know how your pumpkins grow. Those weird looking ones from near the chook yard look most interesting. They aren’t spaghetti squash are they?


    • foodnstuff Says:

      Not spaghetti squash…..I’ve never grown it. They’re Grey pumpkins alright, identical to the one on the hugel mound which was from sown seed. They all got mould before the fruits properly developed and so didn’t develop fully. That Naranka Gold is so pretty!

      Liked by 1 person

      • narf77 Says:

        Going to have to buy one now (if we can get them here in Tassie that is) and give them a go :). My pumpkins that survived are all grey when the seeds they came from were from a yellow skinned pumpkin. Unless they yellow up as they get towards the end of ripening? Who would know…it’s an adventure growing things in compost, that’s the fun of it! 😉


  2. rabidlittlehippy Says:

    Buttercup and gold nugget pumpkins grow on compact bushes too. There are several zucchini-bush style pumpkins and we have 1 in a small border garden which is great. 🙂 Love your little pumpkins though. They look great. 🙂 Mine are going gangbusters here and I think I have about 15 pumpkins with more coming on. I hope for a frost free autumn (April 25th like last year would work just fine) so they all get massive and ripen up nicely. 🙂 I’ve got Lumina (white skin), potkin (quite yellow atm and yellow stems too), buttercup (compact), butternut and another that is either bink banana or some French named one but it’s just flowering now. 😀


  3. fergie51 Says:

    I’m so glad for you! I don’t think I’m going to get 1 decent pumpkin this year and I haven’t had to buy pumpkin for at least 12 years. Not happy about that! I just don’t think we’ve had enough consistent heat. I personally don’t mind that! Can’t have it all ways. 🙂


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