At this time of year, with Halloween just around the corner, the focus tends to be on how you can grow your own Halloween jack-o-lantern next year (although this year, apparently, we’re not faced with the pumpkin shortage we had last year, and the cool kids are carving Halloween pineapples anyway).
For those of you with the space and inclination to grow giant vegetables, you can take inspiration from the largest pumpkin grown outdoors in the UK, which was grown at RHS Hyde Hall in Essex, and weighed in at 605kg (1,333.8lb).
Smithsonian Magazine has also shared The Secret to Growing the World’s Largest Pumpkin, so you’re all set if you want to give it a go. But the one thing no one considers when discussing these monstrous berries* is whether they’re nice to eat.
(Tendrils is wall-to-wall tangents this week, because I have also just discovered that Viburnum edule is known as the squashberry in Newfoundland, and that The Haida Indians considered these berries food for supernatural beings. They’d be difficult to carve for Halloween lanterns, though.)
Right, where was I…? Oh yes, eating pumpkins. Well the giant ones are OK, I suppose, but in terms of culinary delight I think mini pumpkins have got the edge, especially if you don’t have a large family that enjoys soup. The berries are so delightful that I’m considering changing my 2017 garden plan to incorporate a mini pumpkin plant – perhaps Jack Be Little from Victoriana Nursery Gardens, or the climbing Munchkin from Sarah Raven. The Physic Blogger has been talking about how to cook Baby Bear, alongside a Twitter campaign to remind people that #pumpkinsarefood.
A new study has found that every every kilogram of pumpkin (and any other vegetables) you grow yourself reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 2 kilograms, compared to buying veg from the shop. It’s not quite that simple, of course, and it wasn’t quite so complimentary about home composting compared to municipal efforts, but as telling the truth seems to be out of fashion at the moment, we’ll gloss over that last part 😉
On a worldwide scale, there’s stronger evidence that agroecology can feed the world and save the planet, now that we know that
Whilst we may not to be able to affect global agricultural policy on a short time scale, there are two things we can do to help the planet this week. The first is to ensure we eat the innards of our pumpkin, or whichever hapless fruit or vegetable we’re using for our Halloween lantern. The second, of course, is to resolve to grow our own next year 🙂
Happy weekend everybody! I hope it affords you some time out in the garden.
This blog post was written by Emma Cooper and was published on The Unconventional Gardener website. If you're reading it elsewhere you may want to navigate away from plagiarised content.