Pumpkins come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colours. Pumpkins are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. Pumpkin seeds are rich in fibre and magnesium and may help prevent breast cancer. Here is a write-up about, All About Pumpkins: Nutrition, selecting, growing.
Nutrition Facts of a Pumpkin
A cup of pumpkin, cut into 1-inch cubes, offers the following nutrients:
- 30 calories
- 1.2g protein
- 0g fat
- 7.5g carbohydrates
- 0.6g fibre
- 3.2g sugars
- 24.4mg calcium
- 0.99mg iron
- 394mg potassium
- 1.16mg salt
On the vitamins and minerals side, pumpkin has an impressive amount of vitamin A, with 9,870 international units (IU) per cup
Pumpkin also is a good source of vitamin C and potassium. Like vitamin A, vitamin C keeps the immune system humming and plays a particular role in helping wounds heal and protecting cells from damage.
How to Select a Pumpkin from the Market.
- Choose pumpkins that do not have any soft spots or bruises as these indicate rotting on the inside.
- Look out for a firm, dark green stem, and avoid those that look brownish, mushy, or dried out. Avoid pumpkins with a dried-out stem so you know they won’t fall off or start to rot.
- Just like watermelons the best pumpkins to pick have a deep, hollow sound when you tap them. To test for a good one, hold the pumpkin with one hand, place your ear next to the pumpkin, and knock on its side with the knuckles of your other hand. If you hear an echoing, hollow sound, it’s a good one. The louder the sound, the better the pumpkin.
- Check for the firmness of the pumpkin by giving the skin a gentle poke with your fingernail. If it springs right back or doesn’t give at all, you know you’ve found one at its peak. Then, check it for soft spots, especially where the pumpkin is touching the ground. If the flesh feels spongy when you press it with a finger, move on to another pumpkin, stat.
How to grow pumpkins in Uganda
grow your pumpkins well in fertile soils with good drainage. If the soil is not fertile, consider putting compost manure in the holes where you will plant the seeds.
Dig a hole 3ft deep then plant seeds (at least four) in the hole. The seeds will germinate between seven to 14 days.
Mulching the area around the stem of the plant will help it to retain water. Do not plant pumpkins on land with trees as this would create shadows in the garden, which are not good for pumpkin growth. These shadows, which come from shielding the sunlight, will make pumpkins become less tasty.
Avoid spraying fertilisers directly on pumpkin fruits as this would make them less tasty and very watery inside.
Since the pumpkin vines suppress weed growth, the few weeds in the garden should just be uprooted by hand. Using a hoe might damage the vines. Weeding should be performed when the crop and weeds are young to reduce crop damage and allow the use of hoeing. Removal of large weeds with extensive root systems may damage crop roots or vines.
Pumpkins should be harvested at three to four months when they are mature. Fruit colour can aid in harvest decisions. Many pumpkins have different characteristic colours at maturity. Know the species and/or variety you are growing to know what colour it should have at maturity. For example, many pumpkin varieties will have a bright orange colour at maturity, but, depending on the variety, the colour can be green, white, red or brown.