Florida Native Pumpkin

click image for plant care document, courtesy of The Edible Plant Project.

Florida has it’s very own native pumpkin, the Seminole Pumpkin, rich in both history and flavor. The Florida Indians grew them by planting seeds at the base of trees and then climbing the tree to harvest. This saved a lot of useable garden space, helped prevent rot and kept some of the wildlife from sharing in the harvest. Part of the state’s vibrant history, these pumpkins are now an endangered species. “Chassahowitska,” means “hanging pumpkin” in Creek, though you won’t see any of these gourds hanging along the banks of the Chaz today.

As a native, it’s well suited to be an easy garden plant. Needing little to no fertilizer, it’s a reliable performer in the summer heat and humidity and also relatively pest and disease free. They need 2-4 months to grow, so for our area it would have been planted a few months ago, yet S. FL gardeners could plant now. Another bonus is that their thick rind allows for them to keep well in storage up to a full year! Like other gourds, cross-pollination can cause a mix breed plant, if you replant seed next year. So if you want to save seed, grow this variety alone. Summer vegetable gardens are rather limited here, but this plant was made for it.

 
You can find heirloom seeds online and here are two trusted vendors: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange     Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

 

You can learn about growing this and other pumpkins in Florida at this IFAS link.

 

StAugustine.com posted an article on the background of this fantastic plant here. It is a great read.

 

>>>>       HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!     <<<<

 

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