HOWDEN PUMPKIN (C. pepo) Not everyone can grow this fine open-pollinated American variety, but if you can, you are in for a real treat! John Howden developed this pumpkin in the 1970s. Howden is the perfect jack-o-lantern pumpkin. Perfect form, perfect color, medium to large, 10-15 lb. deep orange fruit with shallow ribbing and a nice strong stem "handle." The 10 foot vines produce 4-6 pumpkins per plant. If you have the room, this is a great one for the home garden. 115 days. 10 seeds.
GROW TIPS: Best sown directly into hills in the garden, but can be started in small pots and transplanted when soil is warm, giving you a jump on the low grow season requirement.
ABOUT PUMPKIN: Most pumpkins fall into the category of Cucurbita pepo (jack-o-lantern types). Many large fruited types are Cucurbita maxima and are irregular in size and shape. Other pie pumpkins are Cucurbita moschata and excellent for processing. If you are saving seeds, do not grow hybrids and do not grow more than one variety of the three types or cross-pollination can occur. Soil should be well-drained with a pH of 6.0-6.5 and at least 60 degrees. Seeds will rot otherwise. Plant in hills, which will also help warm the soil. Plant 6-8 seeds per 2' hill 1" deep and gently tamp soil. Do not over-fertilize with nitrogen as this will encourage vine growth instead of fruit but do provide plenty of rich compost. Because they have deep roots, water one inch per week and allow it to soak deeply into the soil. Water in the morning, so leaves dry by evening. The first flowers that appear will be male, whose function it is to provide pollen for bees who then pollinate the female plants. The male flowers simply drop off (gather them up quickly and batter them up for a tasty treat). The female flowers will be swollen at their base. If they appear before the males, they will not go to fruition.
PUMPKIN SEEDS are a nutritious snack! Just clean and gently roast with a little light oil and salt or eat raw (many prefer this way). Subtly sweet and nutty with a malleable, chewy texture, the roasted seeds from inside your Halloween pumpkin are one of the most nutritious and flavorful seeds around. While pumpkin seeds are available year round, they are the freshest in the fall when pumpkins are in season. The healing properties of pumpkin seeds have recently been investigated with respect to osteoporosis, bladder function, arthritis, prostate health, kidney stones, cancer and depression. They lower cholesterol, are anti-inflammatory and a rich source of minerals, protein and mono-unsaturated fat. Snack on a quarter-cup of pumpkin seeds and you will receive 46.1% of the daily value for magnesium, 28.7% of the DV for iron, 52.0% of the DV for manganese, 24.0% of the DV for copper, 16.9% of the DV for protein, and 17.1% of the DV for zinc.