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April 15, 2012

Why I grow Seminole (native American) hanging pumpkins in my tropical organic garden

After hearing about the Seminole hanging pumpkins, I became convinced that I would enjoy growing them in my tropical organic garden. Among my various motivators were its long shelf life, taste, practicality and historical interest.

I was impressed by the unusually long shelf life that Seminole hanging pumpkins are purported to have. It is said that, thanks to their exceptionally tough shell, Seminole hanging pumpkins can remain unspolit for as long as a year.

I am always happy to learn about edible flowers that could be added to my salads. It was therefore delightful to know that this pumpkin's flowers are edible. I have found this to be typical of pumpkins with which I am familiar. However, Seminole hanging pumpkins are differentiated from other types of pumpkin on the basis of taste. Specifically, Seminole hanging pumpkins are widely considered to be the sweetest pumpkin.

Regarding appropriate times to harvest, I generally believe that it is best to wait until nature is ready to deliver fruits, ie when they are fully ripe. However, I love the option that I have with Seminole hanging pumpkins. The fruit may be removed prematurely to allow it to ripen otherwise if natural ripening is unfeasible (or not preferred for whatever reason). The greatest foreseeable factor that may encourage me to harvest Seminole hanging pumpkins when they are still quite green is the risk of pest damage.

Quite apart from these interesting benefits of growing seminole hanging pumpkins, I find the history of this species very interesting. Seminole hanging pumpkins were almost made extinct by European who tried to destroy this crop as a means of starving the Seminole Native American communities.

I do recognize however that, although this plant is native to Florida where the Seminole native americans lived, I might encounter some challenges in the hot tropics. Specifically, Seminole hanging pumpkins are known to produce better in cooler months and slow down production in hotter Summer months in Florida.

In light of that, I have already determined my workaround - a microclimate that exists between two closely spaced structures. The structures block both East and West sunlight. Further, a fence that runs between the structures can make a great trellis.

Overall, I think that this plant will be fun and productive.


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