Pumpkin greens

Part of our pumpkin management is to pinch off the growing tips once a runner has reached a certain length.  This forces them to put out additional branches, providing  more sites for flower production.  We then use the tips as a vegetable, either steamed or stir-fried.

Fresh pumpkin growing tip

However every year we have self-sown pumpkins coming up in garden beds or anywhere else that we use our compost.

“Rogue” pumpkin seedlings

Until now we have just weeded these out, though sometimes we move them to where they can usefully grow or pot them up to give to friends.  This morning I was doing something else in the garden and my eye was caught by the sight of a fresh, bright green new pumpkin leaf.

New pumpkin leaf

Curious, I picked it and ate it.  Delicious!  Fresh, sweet, full of flavour.  Wow.  I would not have suspected that a leaf that size would be tender and sweet.  We now have a new vegetable, and wherever possible the volunteer seedlings will be left in place for a while so we can harvest the young leaves.

We have a new variation on pinching the tips off the pumpkin vines to promote flowering.  Meg McGowan suggested restricting each vine to one square metre – she finds it promotes much more productivity.  We are trying it this pumpkin season.

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