Fluted pumpkin is by far the most popular and one of the most nutritious vegetables, it is common and commonly eaten in West Africa, especially in the southern part of Nigeria, it is known by many names such as ugu, ikong-ubong, fluted gourd and fluted pumpkin.
This vegetable serves as very big foods or delicacies to many types of animals,both domestic and wild animals like rabbit, goat, Grass-cutter, Rat, Squirrel, Sheep etc.
When rotten, is it a very big manure to fertile the soil for farming.
In this article, I will be writing a full information about this awesome vegetable known as pumpkin and it’s Farming process.
Here we go!.
PREPARATION OF PUMPKIN FOR FARMING
Farming of pumpkin is one of the easiest and it is a nice Agricultural crop to farm, this is because this crop does not require much stress and work force or hard task like many other crops out there as you only cultivate your crop, do little weeding and harvest your crop in a short while. Enough said, let’s dive into the preparation of farming fluted pumpkin.
Before ever anyone can think of venturing into any form of farming, either in big way or in medium way, first of all you must need land! If you want to do it in a very small scale that you can only feed yourself with it, you might not need large land, you might do it in a can filled with loomy soil in your backyard or passage, am not talking about that now!
Back to topic!. After you might have made available good land with enough soil nutrients in it, clear the land with either manual with Cutlass, rake or hoe or mechanically with tractors, depending on the size of the land. Make sure to rake it very well so as to remove any stone or nylon or tin in the soil as pumpkin does not like encountering those things in the ground.
After clearing the land, take green leaves (compost) or fowl,goat or even pig dungs and spread it on the land and leave it there for at least 1 or 2 weeks before you farm your pumpkin,so as to allow rain to mix the manure with the sand properly.
You are through with land preparation, it’s time to prepare your pumpkin seeds for farming.
You need to buy the seeds either in your local market or here online and have them delivered to you.
By the time you buy the pumpkin seeds, it must still be fresh and is never germinating yet, so you need to help it germinate! how? just place the seeds on a tray, leave them under hot sun for about 2 days, by this time, it must be dry, this shows that your pumpkin seeds are ready to germinate sooner when placed in good germinating condition.
PLANTING PUMPKIN SEEDS
Now you have gotten your seeds and done the necessary drying under the sun for 2 days, it is time to plant.
Go to the farmland you prepared to farm the pumpkin, plough the land with a hoe or a shovel or any tool applicable to you.
Do it about 5-6 inches deep down and give a space of 4 feet gap,as this vegetable do grow almost uncontrollably everywhere around it when it sprout, this is to give them enough space.
Now plant your pumpkin seeds 2 or 3 in one hole, look for the edge of the seeds where it looks like it will sprout from and place that part faced down in the ground,cover with sand of 1 inch and you are done.
After 10 days, it will sprout and start growing and when it does, go and bring tree branches, dig the ground near the vegetables and place the branches in it so that the pumpkin will climb on them and grow taller and wider on them.
Another method for planting this vegetable is to do a bed for it!. What do I mean by bed?, it is a kind of big or fat wide ridge made for vegetables like fluted pumpkin to be planted on.
This method is by far more taskful and stressful than the former above because you need to do the bed by diggging the ground to form them (beds).
When the beds are through, place manure (organic) on top of them and leave it for a week before you plant your pumpkin seeds.
Just open the beds surfaces with hands for about 5 or 6 inches and place your seed in them, then cover with earth of about 1 inch, give a gap of 3 to 4 feet and leave them to germinate.
After they have germinated, build a kind of small table hut on top of the beds so as to enable the pumpkin to climb on them and grow there ( This method is easier when it comes to harvesting).
For both methods above, do make sure you water them at least once a day or have a good irrigation system. This is applicable if you are farming in dry season. And also avoid water-logging your pumpkin farm as it may wash away the soil nutrients, this is why it is preferable to do this type of farming in between the month of April or May as rainfall is minimal in those months.
WEEDING PUMPKIN FARM/PEST CONTROL
Just like weed and pest do affect almost all crops, pumpkin is not exempted! Although weed does not fatally affect flute pumpkin, but pests do! and weed aids in breeding both pest and diseases to this crop.
At about 3 weeks of planting pumpkin seeds, and it’s sprout, weed might begin to sprout up from many angles and you will need to control them immediately by removing them, although fluted pumpkin grow very fast and will out grow any weed, but they will be absorbing the soil nutrients meant for the crop and will breed pest and diseases.
In the case of pest infections like caterpillar, go and buy an insecticide for it and spray in you farm.
HARVESTING PUMPKIN FARM
Pumpkin unlike any other crop or vegetable is very fast in growth and this is why it is very profitable to farm. It has made many farmers millionaires because of it’s fast nature growth and quick selling and high demand.
Once the seeds sprout, within 3 to 4 weeks, it is ready to start harvesting.
fluted pumpkin leaf is very unique that you as the harvester or farmer need to be very careful or you kill the whole pumpkin crop which am sure you don’t want to do!.
Take a kitchen knife or any sharp tool to the farm, look carefully at the pumpkin,trace and cut the new branches of pumpkins that sprout out from the main pumpkin leave that goes to the ground. Avoid cutting the main ones that goes to the ground, if not, all of them will just die in an hour or so.
Also avoid cutting the ones that are bearing fruits, If possible don’t even harvest those ones that looks like they are bearing fruits, as those fruits are costly when matured and you can get the seeds to plant next time from those fruits.
After harvest, the next step is storage.
This crop is a high perishable crop as it could only last for a day or 2 once you have harvested it before it dries, so storage is a very necessary need.
It is highly advisable to harvest only when you want to supply them to the market or dealers or when you want to consume them immediately so that they can still be fresh and good.
The next storage alternative is to freeze them in a refrigerator for a short while, as keeping them long in a refrigerator is not very good at times.
USES OF PUMPKIN
There are many uses of pumpkin as it is one of the most soughted vegetable in the whole world and very nutritional. The uses are classified below.
FOOD: Food is one of the main uses of pumpkin, this vegetable is loved by everything on Earth! what do I mean, both human, animals and even crops/plants do eat it.
Humans use is for various delicacies like cooking of various soups like water leaf soup, Ugu soup, etc. It is used for making drinks at home and the seed is a very nice food when it is cooked very well.
Animals also have it as food, like I mentioned above earlier, animals like Rabbits, Grass-cutter, Goats, Sheep, infact almost all animals do eat it including insects like grasshopper, caterpillar etc.
In crops and plants,the pumpkin leaf serves as a very good booster of soil nutrients when it decay and this aids the overall growth of crops and plants.
MEDICINAL: Pumpkin is one of the most medicinal vegetables ever! this vegetable have the tendency of curing many diseases and preventing them like it boost the immune system with it’s numerous vitamins, it increases the blood count in the body, its seed contains lots of calcium which aids both the teeth and the bones, it has sulfur, carotene, fiber etc.
In igboland, many people use both the leaf and the seed to prepare Medicine which cure all kinds of sickness and diseases for both man and animals.
Also the stem in the ground can be used as poison for house pests like rat.
INDUSTRIAL: The pumpkin is used by many body cream industries to produce many creams and body lotions.
It is used to produce a cooking oil known as vegetable oil which is very nice and tasty.
Sometimes it is used to manufacture Animal feed like chicken feed, pig and fish feed etc.
I hope that this article helped you to gain more knowledge about fluted pumpkin and how it is farmed. If it does, please make sure to share on social networks and ask me any question via my email
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