We have just passed the Halloween celebrations and we all still have in mind the big round orange pumpkins, carved to reproduce a smiling and flamboyant face. But these aren’t the only pumpkins grown. The most common in our gardens are Cucurbita Maxima (round) and Cucurbita Mochata (long), which are the classic winter pumpkins widely used in gastronomy and nutrition (see also the Pumpkin tab in the vegetable garden section).
However, there are also varieties used for ornamental purposes, derived from Maxima, Mochata and cucurbita Lagenaria (have the shape of a flask) that already in Roman times was used, once dry, as a container for wine, water or salt by legionnaires or pilgrims. Among the natives of the Amazon, this type of pumpkin is used to make musical instruments (maracas) for tribal rituals or as a container for objects.
The plants of the different varieties and those obtained from crosses over the years, are all united by a similar structure: superficial branched roots, creeping or climbing stem, very voluminous opposite leaves characterized by long petioles. They have showy yellow unisexual flowers, that is, only male and female, but both present on the same plant. They give rise to a fruit, called Peponides, which differs in various characteristics within the different varieties:
– shape of the fruit (round or elongated)
– fruit size (large or small)
– skin surface (wrinkled, grooved, smooth)
– skin color (from green to dark orange, both uniform and melange)
– colour of the flesh (yellow-green, orange)
We want to remember that the name Pumpkin is believed to derive from the Latin “cocutia” ie “head”, then transformed over the centuries into “cocuzza”, “cozucca” and finally Pumpkin. In the various regions it also has various names: Suca (Piedmont), Zuca (Veneto), Zucchet (Emilia), Cozucca (Tuscany), Cocuzza (Abruzzo), Cocozzenella (Campania), Cucuzzara (Calabria) and Cocuzza di Spagna (Sicily).
The cultivation of ornamental varieties had been practiced for some time, as a marginal activity of the garden, in Lombardy and Emilia, where they also used artificial devices (tying the fruit in growth) to amplify the extravagance of the forms.
Lately there is a rapid spread of ornamental pumpkins, there are over 300 different types, especially because they are an elegant and colorful decorative element for compositions and table centerpieces in the autumn-winter period and the Christmas holidays. In fact, there are more and more flower shops and furniture stores that offer these “vegetables” as an alternative to cut flowers.
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An example of the ornamental diffusion of Cucurbita is given by the classic orange pumpkin lit by a candle for Halloween, a tradition imported from the Celtic culture, which, however, finds ample confirmation in the peasant tradition of northern Italy (Veneto).
Let’s now take a quick look at the main types of ornamental pumpkins:
– Klein bicolor: small pumpkins (8-12 cm in diameter) in the shape of a flask with the lower part variegated green and the upper part yellow-gold.
– Klein birne bicolor: small pumpkins (8-12 cm in diameter) in the shape of a pear with the lower part uniform green and the upper part yellow.
– Cou-tors Hative: small pumpkins (20 cm long) in the shape of a small swan with an intense orange colour.
– Baby boo: small pumpkins (10 cm in diameter) in the shape of a small white ribbed ball with smooth skin.
– Turban or mini turban: small pumpkins with top covering in various colours (white, yellow, red and green).
– Kleine orangen: small orange-shaped pumpkins with orange and smooth skin.
– Kleine Warzen: small pumpkins (10-15 cm in diameter) in the shape of a ball with a multicoloured, twisted skin.
– Ten commandments: small pumpkins in the shape of a crown, with protuberances more or less long and curved in different combinations of colors.
– Trombetta d’albenga: climbing pumpkin in the shape of a small club
– Sicilian snake pergola: snake-shaped
– Fisherman’s flask: pumpkin with waterproof skin used in the past as a container for liquids
– Berretta piacentina and Marina di Chioggia: suitable in gastronomy for tortelli and risottos
– Atlantic giant and Big Max: giant orange pumpkins
Ornamental Pumpkins: Cultivation of ornamental pumpkins
IL Crop cycle of these plants is annual and they adapt to cultivation throughout Italy. They require fresh, deep and well-drained soils so as not to have rotten roots or collars (point between stem and roots). The temperature must be above 5-7 ° C, optimal for the summer of 25-30 ° C. In spring, April-May, after carefully preparing the soil of the garden (spading, mineral and organic fertilization, hoeing and final refinement with the rake) is sown.
You can use seeds from the previous year or past years (they remain active for 3-4 years) by placing 2-3 in holes spaced 2m x 1m, at a depth of 3-4 cm. The holes are placed very far from each other because the pumpkin plant develops very quickly and occupies the space available. After a couple of weeks the seedlings will be born and when they are stamped will be kept only 1 per hole (the most developed and robust).
During the course of cultivation, weeds should be eradicated, watered during the warmer periods and fertilised periodically. These plants are very sensitive to fungal diseases, for this reason you should be careful not to over-wet them at the time of irrigation and perform periodic treatments with fungicides cover (the classic copper) after particularly wet periods.
After 130-150 days you get the fruits ready to be harvested, so from September you can start to harvest the first productions. Once harvested, the fruits can embellish and brighten up our homes in pots, terracotta bowls, ceramic baskets and glass centrepieces for a period of 2-4 months.
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- Ornamental pumpkins are not cultivated for food purposes but to obtain a decorative product. Questo non signif
visita : zucche ornamentali