Some of the more hip readers amongst you may be aware of a heavy rock band called The Smashing Pumpkins. Well, here in the gardens at Chartwell we have a pretty heavy pumpkin of our own on display right now! (Does that qualify for tenuous link of the year so far?) But just how heavy is this corpulent cucurbit? Well, for now that is for us to know and for our visitors to try and find out! We are running a fun competition at the moment to for anyone to have a go at guessing the weight of our largest pumpkin of the season, one of our Atlantic Giant varieties. The closest guess submitted either in the ballot box next to the display or via email to our Kitchen Gardener Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org by October 25th gets to take our portly pumpkin home in time to carve it for Halloween. Get your estimating heads on and give it a go…
I’ll give you a clue: it’s not as heavy as the World’s largest ever pumpkin which weighed in at a whopping 821.24kg! And as I’ve already told you that it’s of the Atlantic Giant variety, you might find some more information on how big they can grow by clicking here.
Our competition pumpkin is just part of a display of some of this year’s pumpkins, squashes and gourds that you can currently find in the kitchen garden within Chuchill’s walled garden. You will be able to spot squash varieties such as ‘Turks Turban’, ‘Blue Kiri’ and ‘Golden Hubbard’ but with Halloween approaching it will be the pumpkins that will be garnering most attention.
Pumpkins, like other squash, are native to North and Central America with the oldest recorded seeds dating between 7000 and 5500 BC, found in Mexico. The distinctive colour of pumpkins is derived from the orange pigments abundant in them. The main nutrients are lutein and both alpha and beta carotene, the latter of which generates vitamin A in the body. The word pumpkin originates from the word ‘pepon’ which is Greek for ‘large melon’. The French adapted this word to ‘pompon’, which the British changed to ‘pumpion’ and later American colonists changed that to the word we use today.
Make sure you get down to Chartwell and see our display while you can and while you’re there have a go at guessing the weight of our chunky champion. Who knows, maybe you could have the biggest carved Halloween pumpkin in your neighbourhood if you win! Just make sure the suspension on your car is strong enough to transport it home!