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Does spaghetti grow on trees?

Developed pumpkins

Are these Spaghetti Pumpkins?

Autumn seems to have kicked in a little early this year, which isn’t surprising with the amazing spring we had back in April.

An upshot of the early on-set of cooler evenings, brisk winds and rainshowers has meant that while the courgettes are still going strong in the ‘resting’ part of the compost heap, my Spaghetti Pumpkin plants have already gone over, leaving a clear patch amongst the sweetcorn where they’ve been holding back the weeds all summer.

Close-up of a male pumpkin flower

Show us your anthers! A male pumpkin flower in bloom

In between rain showers, I finally removed the three small pumpkins that the now sorry-looking plants had managed to produce and pulled up the leggy and yellowing foliage for the compost heap.

The plants may be over and the fruit still in need of a few weeks ripening in the porch, but I did document the progress of these plants throughout the season.

Close-up of a female pumpkin flower

Look at the stigmas on that! A female pumpkin flower in bloom

They were very quick to get their roots stuck in and bush up, but very slow to flower and when they did, they only put up male flowers at first. However, I did catch them with some female flowers followed by a few failed attempts at setting fruit. Come August, they finally managed to get their act together and hold onto a couple of decent pumpkins.

Undeveloped pumpkins

'Proto-pumpkins' - cross your fingers and hope they develop

As mentioned in the earlier post ‘Play with your veg!’, the Spaghetti Pumpkin is a bit of an experiment. Having spontaneously arisen from a close encounter between a Cheyenne Bush Pumpkin and the F1 ‘Hasta La Pasta’ Spaghetti Squash in 2009, I wanted to see if the seed of the Spaghetti Pumpkin would come true and produce more of the same spaghetti-type fruits I had last year.

Harvested pumpkins

Spaghetti for tea?

The fruits this year are about the size of a Cheyenne Bush Pumpkin, but while the medium sized one has the classic pumpkin shape, the largest and the smallest both have a more elongated shape, half-way between a pumpkin and a Spaghetti Squash.

The verdict is still to come on whether they actually are Spaghetti Pumpkins and whether spaghetti really can grow on trees (or bushes), as I will allow them to ripen before I use them, but it’s an exciting stage and at least I managed to get three pumpkins when the weather was so determined to beat the plants into submission.

The correct way to cut a pumpkin from the plant

Don't touch that stalk!

EXPERT TIP! Yes, I have a tip for all you pumpkin and squash growers out there. Remember that when you cut your pumpkins and squashes from the plant, never just cut the stalk as you would with a marrow or courgette, but always leave the stalk intact and cut the growing stem either side instead, forming a T-section (I have provided a picture so that you get the idea).

The reasoning behind cutting them like this, is that unlike marrows and courgettes, pumpkins and squashes are great for storing and using throughout the winter. If you cut the stalk, you can encourage rot into your fruit, however, by cutting a T-section the stem and stalk just dries out, leaving your pumpkin/squash to last a lot longer.

So until next time veg fans, leave me a comment via the well-hidden comment link below…

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