Pumpkins are a warm season vegetables belonging to the genus “Cucurbita”. The gourd fruit grows on vines and is mainly grown for its culinary elements
Common varieties of Pumpkins grown in Uganda
There are over 7 varieties of pumpkin grown in Uganda, they include sweet cream,Bala,Dulu,Onziga,Sunfish,Sugar pie, and Anderina.
Soil requirements for growing Pumpkins
Pumpkins do well in loamy soils with a good drainage and a high humus percentage. The soils should not be water logged as the plant can easily rot off.
How to Propagate Pumpkins on your Farm
Grow your pumpkins from seeds. They should take about 5 days from sowing to emerge.It’s best to plant your pumpkins on moulds, though even a flat surface can work. Plant seeds 1 inch deep at a rate of 4 to 5 seeds per hill and 5 to 6 ft between hills. When seedlings are well established thine each hill to leave at most 2 plants per hill. Go ahead to space 4ft between hills and 8 ft between rows. Prune vines early in the season to discourage random growth and out of control patch. Keep pumpkin plants free of weeds by hoeing and shallow cultivation. Irrigate your plantings if there happens to be extended dry periods. Watch out for powdery mildew which causes a dusty white mould on the plant, cucumber beetles as these mainly attack seedlings and the vines at their tender age.
How Best to Harvest Pumpkins in Africa
It takes about 100 to 120 days for a given pumpkin variety to reach maturity. Pumpkins are hand harvested at their mature stage. Multiple harvests are so common because individual fruits are pollinated at different time’s. Harvest your pumpkin fruits whenever you see their deep solid color i.e. most color vary between orange and green, and when the rind is also hard.
About the Pumpkin Market in Uganda
Demand for pumpkin is constant, and a farmer can market their grown pumpkins in national markets lie Nakasero, Owino, road side stalls, and even at the supermarket vegetable shelves, hotels and restaurants.
Quick Tips for growing Pumpkins in Uganda
Open up the land you are going to use for planting. Clear up the land and heap up soils to make ridges. At a spacing of 4ft between hills and 8 ft set up hills in arrow. On the crest on the ridge open up a hole 1 inch deep, then sow seeds at a rate of 4 to 5 seeds. Cover the seeds gently with soil and lightly water. After about 10 days the seeds will have established so go ahead to prune. Weed your pumpkins to prevent competition for growth nutrients. Often you should spray the pumpkins with pesticides and fungicides to keep off pests and diseases.