| Visitor columnist
Pumpkin pie — that’s my favourite. I’ve fond recollections of my Nice Aunt Nita’s futile efforts to bake sufficient pumpkin pies to appease me and my brothers’ appetites throughout Thanksgiving.
As with many households, pumpkin pies are ubiquitous with Thanksgiving and the vacation season. Pumpkins and their use in pies date again to the 1500s. This scrumptious Thanksgiving staple is believed to even be a part of the primary Thanksgiving in 1620, when Pilgrims celebrated a three-day harvest celebration with the Wampanoag tribe.
Many people love rising the meals for our Thanksgiving dinners. Though we are able to develop some pumpkins in Florida, they are often quite finicky — particularly on account of our humid climates. Fortunately, we’ve got a beautiful different: The Seminole pumpkin.
Seminole pumpkins are a cultivated number of the Cucurbita moschata. Different notable kinds of the C. moschata embrace butternut squash and calabaza. Seminole pumpkins supply all kinds of varieties and colours, however all maintain a yummy, pumpkin-like taste, making it a beautiful Florida-alternative to a traditional Thanksgiving dish.
If you want to develop Seminole pumpkins in your yard you shouldn’t have to look too far. Lots of our native non-profits and gardening-enthusiasts would like to share seeds with you.
Though the Seminole pumpkins are robust crops, they don’t like our frosts. In Alachua County, we advocate sowing your pumpkins between February and April. They’ll develop all through the summer season, and you might sow till July. However caterpillars love Seminole pumpkins as soon as our summer season warmth arrives — so put together your soapy water mixtures or Bt, and scout often.
After sowing your Seminole pumpkins, anticipate three to 4 months till they might be harvested. Sow your seeds in areas with 6-Eight hours of solar, however give them area to develop. They’ll unfold roughly 25 toes or extra. It’s possible you’ll give them a construction to vine onto like a trellis or tree. In addition they require cross-pollination to provide fruit. To enhance fruiting and plant vigor, plant different flowering crops close by to draw pollinators and different useful organisms.
Should you harvest your pumpkins means earlier than Thanksgiving, don’t have any fret. They retailer unbelievably nicely. In a dry and well-ventilated area, your Seminole pumpkins can final a complete yr. As soon as we start our Thanksgiving preparations, you should have a tasty Florida cucurbit prepared for a Floridian-twist to an American traditional.
As we go into Thanksgiving — and regardless of the tumultuous yr — we nonetheless have a lot we are able to rejoice and be grateful for. So put together yourselves to show some soil, and plant your batch of Seminole pumpkins in February. Within the meantime, as our Northern pals holler, “hurrah for the pumpkin pie,” allow us to put our personal spin on Lydia Maria Little one’s traditional and holler, “hurrah for the [Seminole] pumpkin pie!”
Have a contented Thanksgiving from UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County and Alachua County’s Grasp Gardener Volunteers.
To be taught extra about sustaining your panorama and the Florida-Pleasant Landscaping Program or vegetable gardening, attain out to UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County’s workplace to talk with a Grasp Gardener Volunteer at 955-2402 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taylor Clem is the Environmental & Group Horticulture Extension Agent for UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County. Contact him at email@example.com or 955-2402.