Pumpkins & Stop Confining Seed-grown Trees

What do you know about pumpkins; and, please, please stop confining seed-grown trees to only those which were originally grown in the same area!
by Art Drysdale
by Art Drysdale


Art Drysdale, a life-long resident of Toronto and a horticulturist well known all across Canada, is now a resident of Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo. He has reno-vated an old home and has a new garden there. His radio gardening vignettes are heard in south-western Ontario over radio station Easy 101 FM out of Tillsonburg at 2 PM weekdays.

Art also has his own website at

October 2, 2016

Above, Hijinks pumpkin; Baby Bear Pumpkin; Cinderilla’s Carriage pumpkin; and Wee-B-Little pumpkin. Below, Munchkin pumpkin; Jarrahdale pumpkin; and Galeux d’Eysines pumpkin; Pepitas pumpkin; and Super Moon pumpkin. All information and pictures courtesy All-America Selections.




Native to North America, pumpkins are a type of winter squash, genus Cucurbita, that are a category all their own, species pepo or maxima (latter species is for the really big pumpkins). At this time of year, the market is filled with many different types of pumpkins besides the basic orange globe. If you see an unusual one at your market, try it for a different look in your fall decorations or as a completely different culinary taste treat. By the way, did you know pumpkins are technically a fruit, not a vegetable?

Looking for pumpkins that are petite, round and have a sweeter flesh, perfect for pie making? Try Hijinks and Baby Bear both All-America Selections Winners. These pumpkins are petite and round and have a sweeter flesh, perfect for pie making and baking. Their smaller size makes them the go-to choice for younger children when pumpkin picking because they are "Just my size!"

Cinderella's Carriage is a recent All-America Selections Winner and was hybridized from the French heirloom Cinderella that dates back to the 1800s. The flesh is dense, mildly sweet (good for use in pies and soups) and the shape is said to have inspired the pumpkin shaped coach in the fairy tale of the same name.

Jarrahdale pumpkin—this lovely, decorative pumpkin with stunning blue-green skin is an heirloom from New Zealand. It's a medium-sized fruit with mild, sweet aromatic golden-yellow flesh.

Peanut pumpkins—don’t be put off by the look! Those warty-looking growths are actually sugar secretions over a light pink skin which mean this type of pumpkin has one of the sweetest non-fibrous flesh of all pumpkins so it produces a smooth, creamy and deliciously delicate and fluffy puree. Galeux d’Eysines is one variety to try—I’ve already seen this one in a market here in Parksville!

Every year, it seems that new novelty pumpkins can be found in the market. This year, you'll find two new AAS Winners to add to the list: Pepitas Pumpkin and Super Moon. Pepitas pumpkins are a decorative orange and green and named for its hulless or naked seeds (pepitas) that lack the tough outer hull making them easy to eat after slow-roasting. Super Moon, a new white pumpkin on the market, can grow up to 50 lbs (Cucurbita maxima as referenced above!)!

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The rest of this item really continues on from the one from last week which dealt with whether trees such as Norway maples ought to be “banned” from municipal and other government organizations’ plantings because of some of their “bad habits”.

Tony DiGiovanni, executive director of the trade organization, Landscape Ontario, was writing in the July/August issue of their magazine (by the same name) Landscape Ontario.

“Another policy that does not make sense to me is ‘seed zones.’ The idea is that only plants propagated from a specific seed zone should be planted within that zone. Perhaps this makes sense in forestry, but it is difficult to see the benefit in an urban setting—especially when most of the plants have come from other locations. I would love to see the science supporting this approach. Let’s start the debate.

“One defining characteristic of nature is movement. Plant seeds have evolved ingenious ways of spreading, including hitch-hiking on humans and animals in a grand effort to cover as much ground as possible. Why do we, as humans, believe we should assign arbitrary zones and constrict how plants spread? Even without artificial seed zones, plants have managed to spread way beyond their original boundaries.

“The book Ginkgo biloba A Global Treasure; From Biology to Medicine chronicles the existence of ginkgo fossils in northern Alberta. This probably means that ginkgo existed thousands of years ago in a location that can no longer support any tree cover.

“The horticulture industry is based on spreading plants as far as they can go. This has resulted in a rich diversity of plants enhancing lives and the environment. Some introduced plants have caused economic and environmental damage. Most have not.

“I am an equal opportunity plants person, Native plants should be encouraged, so should non-natives. Invasive plants should be discouraged except in areas where nothing else will grow.

“There is a popular saying in horticultural circles, ‘right plant, right place.’ In my view this is the right principle when choosing plants.”


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