There is no better place to see a wonderful array of autumn pumpkins than at the large heritage garden of Babylonstoren near Paarl. Every spring they plant a great variety of pumpkin seeds including Turks Turban, Flat White Boer, Dill’s Atlantic Giant, Big Moon, Queensland Blue and Halloween.
Many of these varieties are currently on show in the 70 metre undulating shade house known as the ‘Puff Adder’, which curves through and around a grove of huge eucalyptus trees.
While not many of us have gardens large enough to grow these ancient and nutritious vegetables, it is worth considering growing another member of this family i.e. gem squash, which can be trained up a wooden or metal tripod. Instead of trailing over metres of ground, the tendrils can be trained to climb vertically, increasing airflow and assisting all-round ripening.
Even if you aren’t able to grow your own pumpkins or butternuts, enjoy those now available at local markets to make delicious soups, cinnamon pumpkin or butternut fritters, roast veggies, bredies and atchars to enjoy and boost your vitamins and antioxidants before the onset of winter!
Contributor:Leonie Twentyman Jones
Photos: Margaret Richards