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Adrian what are you doing on 5th October as it’s our town Pumpkin Parade? Which means of course that we have to prepare ourselves a Pumpkin. Guess what I have here – 2 for us to get started on. Oh no, I can see that I am now threatened with another challenge from Adrian – whose will be the best? Little does he know that I have been practicing!

Carving a pumpkin

We started by cutting off the top and scooping out the flesh – now for the difficult part we have to carve a scary face. A little tricky but great fun. To finish it off we need a candle to put inside, top back on and hey presto – looking pretty good!

A good thing about all this is that we also get to make Pumpkin soup with the flesh that we scraped out. Or maybe we could make some bread or muffins. It is a very versatile and healthy vegetable and there are so many recipes to choose from.

We associate it with Halloween which is from the late 1800s and the carved pumpkins were known as ‘Jack-o-lantern’. Years ago the English used beets and the Scottish and Irish used turnips and potatoes for the Jack-o-lanterns which were a symbol of celebrating harvest. The vegetables were later changed to pumpkins when it was found that these were what the Americans used.

Nowadays it is quite a celebration for the kids who dress up in scary costumes, carry a lighted pumpkin and go knocking on neighbours doors (accompanied by parents) trick or treating with a bag to collect sweets. (I think Adrian and I will give that a miss – maybe I’ll buy him a bar of chocolate for his effort).

Grow your own pumpkin and be ready for next year then you can ‘carve your own’.

See our website for Pumpkin ‘Atlantic Giant’ (Cucurbita maxima) which is cultivated as a giant pumpkin! Growing giant pumpkins is great fun and many have achieved a mention in the national press. The world record, a fruit weighing 767 kg is currently in Americans hands. To obtain very large fruits, grow only one fruit per plant and give it plenty of water, compost and fertiliser. Good luck!

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