Pumpkins have more vitamin A than any other vegetable and they’re loaded with fiber and vitamin C. Although we tend to think of pumpkins as Halloween decorations, the Pilgrims relied on them for food.
- Pumpkins are a type of winter squash. They are harvested in late fall and can be stored through the winter. They have a hard shell that protects them from rot.
- Pumpkins came from The Americas. It is said that Christopher Columbus took pumpkin seeds back to Europe. American Indians planted them with beans and corn (The Three Sisters).
- Dogs love pumpkin puree. Offer this delicious, healthy treat any time, but especially if your dog has an upset stomach.
- Pumpkins are related to watermelon, cucumbers, and zucchini. They’re technically a fruit, not a vegetable.
- Pumpkins come in many sizes, shapes, and colors. They can be short and squat or large and round. Although traditional jack-o-Lanterns are orange, pumpkins can be white, green, brown, light orange, striped, or even purple.
- Americans tend to use pumpkins mostly for decoration or in baked goods. Native Americans added the blossoms to stews, dried the pumpkin flesh for flour during the winter, and used the shells for bowls.
- The tradition of carving jack-o-lanterns started in Ireland, where farmers would carve faces in turnips to scare evil spirits away during the Celtic holiday, Samhain.
- The Three Sisters: a method of planting corn, beans, and squash together. Each plant offers some benefit to the others.
- Puree: a food that has been mashed
- Celtic: a culture originating in Europe, particularly in the British Isles.
Questions and Answers
Question: Are pumpkins hard to grow?
Answer: Pumpkins are fun to grow, but they do take lots of room in the garden and they need plenty of sunlight. Some gardeners grow small Cinderella or sugar pumpkins. Others grow giant pumpkins, such as ‘Big Moon.’ These giant pumpkins can grow to weigh 250 pounds or more.
What’s the secret to growing giant pumpkins? Watch this video to find out.
Visit a pumpkin farm to learn about this crop.