Pumpkin and Squash

Cucurbita pepo

Pumpkins and squash, also known as cucurbits, were first cultivated in the Americans and are now grown around the world for their edible fruit and seed. The fruits are good sources of vitamin A and C. From bright orange winter pumpkins to summer’s soft green courgettes, the cucurbit family is an easy vegetable to grow organically.

Growing calendar for pumpkin and squash

Kate Williams

Kate Williams. Photo: Sara Heitlinger


Seed Guardian

I’ve been growing food and gardening for flowers for as long as I can remember. I keep the seeds and I keep plants living their whole life for the animal biodiversity so there’s insects coming...

Where the seeds came from
This is a large variety of winter squash, with delicious yellow flesh. I started growing it about four years ago. I bought the seeds originally from Tamar Organics. I started out with a pack of six because when you buy squash seeds you don’t get many. Since then I’ve been keeping my seeds and getting more and more and more, and been sharing them with friends.

Why I grew it
I wanted a vegetable that could sit through the winter, that you’re like, “Shoot we’ve got to eat tonnes of this at the moment.” These can keep, as long as you keep them in the cool, for months. This one’s four and a half kilos. We’re still eating the soup that I made on Monday, so it’s given us many meals of that.

Kate on Winter Squash

How to grow
I make my own paper pots, fill them with compost and put a seed in, a couple of inches deep. Add water. Squash seeds like heat to propagate, so you need to keep them indoors around twenty degrees. Anything less than that they don’t really like it. I make my own propagator out of a clear plastic box, upside down so the base is the lid… More

Meghan Shine

Meghan Lambert. Photo: Sara Heitlinger


Seed Guardian

I am lucky enough to have a lovely, decent sized garden with a big veg patch and lots of sunshine. I have very little experience gardening. I moved house so now I have this garden....

How to grow
The pumpkin was bigger than a human head. I knew that I needed a lot of space, but I didn’t know how much space I needed. It became this big tangle. It was one of the sunniest spots of the raised bed. From seedling I dug a little hole and planted it there and that was that. It was actually very low maintenance. It became massive very quickly so we hardly even noticed it, the pumpkin itself and went away on holiday in August for 2 weeks and came back and it was big.

Meghan on Pumpkin

We had pumpkin soup for a few days. I fried onions in coconut oil and then added chopped up pumpkin and cinnamon, nutmeg, a bit of salt and a bit of pepper. Fresh coriander. Blend it up. It was good.

How to save seed
When we were preparing the pumpkin to eat I scooped the seeds out, put them in a pot and let them soak overnight, then put them in the strainer. They were still quite slimy and didn’t dry off for ages so then I put them in the oven, on really low temperature to dry them off.

Basilia Gondo

Basilia Gondo. Photo: Sara Heitlinger


Seed Guardian

I’m Basilia Gondo, from Zimbabwe. A mother of five girls and six grandchildren. I am 72 years old. Married. We grow our own food because it’s got the taste we want, the taste which we...

Zimbabwean Pumpkin Recipe
When it’s tender, take the leaves, clean the stalk. Then we cook the leaves together with the flowers. We put peanut butter, or we cook with tomatoes and onion. The pumpkin fruit we cut and cook them, and then we blend with peanut butter and we eat them like a pudding.

Basilia on Zimbabwean Pumpkin