The pumpkin harvest is finally complete. It has been a gradual process over the last two months, as the different varieties have matured at different times.
Here is a lovely little selection of the pumpkins grown this year.
It is important to allow pumpkins to fully ripen before harvest, especially if you intend to store them for longer than a few weeks, or if you want to save seeds from them.
Here a few signs to look for when pumpkins are ready for harvest.
The whole plant is dead and dry
The stem is dry and brown
The tendril closest to the pumpkin is dry and brown
As usual I grew a few different varieties this season, some tried and true and some were new varieties. It's nice to experiment a little each year and try a different variety or two.
The Australian Butter Pumpkin was a tried and true variety that I've grown for the last four seasons. It's a medium to large pumpkin that keeps well and has a great texture and sweet flavour.
Blue Ballet is another tried and true variety that produces a large number of small pumpkins with a lovely texture and flavour, but can sometimes be a little thin fleshed. These are among the first to ripen, in late March this year.
Buttercup was a new variety I tried this year. It was also among the first to mature, and also produced a large crop of small pumpkins. However, the flavour is a little bland and the texture a little floury. I probably won't grow them again.
The Styrian Hulless is one I grow each year but not for the flesh. This a variety that produces a large number of medium sized pumpkins which a quite thin fleshed but full of green hulless pumpkin seeds or pepitas. The flesh is pale, a little stringy and very bland but can still be used for cakes or roasting with lots of herbs for added flavour. This was also one of the first to mature.
The Bohemian pumpkin produces medium sized, beautiful pumpkins which vary quite a bit in shape. Each plant produced two pumpkins. These were ready to harvest a month after the early pumpkins, and they have a wonderful smooth texture with a mild sweet flavour.
Triamble is an old, rediscovered Australian heirloom variety that I've grown for the last few years. It's a medium to large variety that keeps well, has a great smooth texture and sweet flavour that improves with storage. Each plant produces about three pumpkins.
The Waltham Butternut Pumpkin is a pretty well known variety which I grow each year. Most people are familiar with the smooth texture and sweet nutty flavour of this variety. They store well and produce about three pumpkins per plant.
Jarrahdale is another well known Australia variety. It's got great flavour and texture if grown properly to maturity. This was the last to mature in my garden, and in fact didn't even get to fully mature before the first frost arrived at the very end of April. The plant was still growing strong and even growing immature fruit when the frost burnt all the leaves. I won't be growing it again as I think this a variety better suited the north of the country where the growing season is longer.
Jarrahdale still growing and flowering enthusiastically in April, oblivious to the imminent first frost...