I save seed from the fruits of vegetables and herbs and so do others.
Early last year I enjoyed eating a wedge of Robyn and Andrew’s Golden Nugget pumpkins and around that time accepted pumpkin seed from them. When I germinated those seeds at the end of last year I had visions of gorgeous bright orange balls across the straw in my gardens. However, what I planted grew and grew and then some. When I sent photos to Robyn she laughed and said no – those seeds were not from smallish Golden Nuggets. Instead I was growing a French heirloom variety known as Rouge Vif d’Entampes, and the pumpkins would be large!
Their seed had originally been purchased from ‘Seed Freaks’, a Huon-based company producing open-pollinated organically grown seeds from pumpkins grown in 2020. I was informed that the blurb on the seed packet stated these pumpkins were ‘The model for Cinderella’s carriage and that this French heirloom grows well in a cooler climate and produces large fruits which are full flavoured, good for roasts/soups’.
I googled to find out more. This cucurbita maxima is known as the ‘Cinderella’ pumpkin because of its stunning, bright-orange colour and shape – it looks like the carriage in the fairy tale that takes the girl to the ball where she meets her prince. Etampes is an ancient commune near Paris, and the pumpkins were said to be popular in Paris’s Central Market in the 1880s. Rouge Vif d’Etampes pumpkin seeds were first offered commercially in America by W. Atlee Burpee in 1883. And now here they are in Tasmania.
While “Rouge vif” translates as “vivid red”, my pumpkins are a soft orange colour with a flattish shape looking something like a cheese wheel. Apparently the maximum size of the fruits average 10–15 lb or 9kg (20lb) depending on which source of information you read. Well surprise, surprise – something in my soil and mulching practices has produced monsters roughly three times that weight! Yesterday I picked the smallest one of many and that pumpkin weighed 16Kgs. Yes 16Kgs. I weighed it three times to be sure.
Curious to see whether I picked the pumpkin too early, and to generally see what the interior looked like, I cut into this beauty. Gold! Gold! Gold!
And lots of seeds. Anyone want to collect some from me?