Scientific Name: Cucurbita pepo

Bahasa Indonesia: Labu

Batak: Jelok

Basic Information: The pumpkin belongs to the family Cucurbitaceae. Pumpkin plants are short lived annual or perennial vines with branching tendrils and broad lobed leaves. The plant produces large yellow or orange flowers and a pepo fruit known as a pumpkin. Pumpkins are considered a berry with a thick rind and can range greatly in size, anywhere from a few ounces to over 34 kg. The skin of the pumpkin is usually ribbed and range in color from green, grey, yellow, or red. Pumpkin plants are capable of reaching 15 meters in length if the vines are able to root. They are believed to have originated in Mexico or South America.

Health Benefits:

  1. Reduces the Risk of Chronic Diseases – the antioxidants found in pumpkins can neutralize free radicals and stop them from damaging your cells.
  2. Boosts Immunity – high levels of vitamin A strengthens your immune system, high levels of vitamin C increase white blood cell production, and vitamin E, iron, and folate all contribute to a stronger immune system as well.
  3. Protects your Eyesight – high sources of vitamins are found to significantly lower risk of cataracts and prevent free radicals from damaging your eye cells, while lutein and zeaxanthin levels also help lower risks of macular degeneration and cataracts.
  4. Promotes Weight Loss – pumpkins are packed with nutrients and yet are under 50 calories per cup, making them a nutrient dense food and a good source of fiber which help suppress your appetite.
  5. Lowers Cancer Risk – high levels of carotenoids found in pumpkins function as antioxidants and are linked to lower risks of stomach, throat, pancreas, and breast cancers.
  6. Benefits Heart Health – pumpkins are a good source of potassium, vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants, which have been linked to heart health benefits.
  7. Promotes Healthy Skin – pumpkins are high in beta-carotene, which can act as a natural sunblock. In addition, it contains vitamins C and E, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which help keep your skin strong and healthy.
  8. Easy to add to your Diet – pumpkins can be easily roasted, pureed, or baked and the seeds are also edible and highly nutritious.

Fun Facts:

  • Pumpkins are commonly viewed as a vegetable (and nutritionally more similar to vegetables), but scientifically are considered fruits because they contain seeds
  • It is said that Christopher Columbus carried pumpkin seeds back with him to Europe to be used to feed pigs rather than humans
  • The heaviest pumpkin weighed 1,190.49 kg and was grown by Mathias Willemijins from Belgium

How to raise pumkin?

(Information from google bard)
Growing pumpkins can be a fun and rewarding experience, and with a little care and attention, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of these large, versatile gourds. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to grow pumpkins:
  1. Choose the Right Location and Time: Pumpkins thrive in warm, sunny locations with well-drained, fertile soil. They are sensitive to frost, so it’s best to plant them after the last frost in your area, typically in late spring or early summer.

  2. Prepare the Soil: Enrich your soil with organic matter, such as compost or aged manure, to improve drainage, nutrient content, and water retention. Work the organic matter into the top 6-12 inches of soil.

  3. Planting Pumpkin Seeds: Purchase pumpkin seeds from a reputable source, selecting varieties that are suitable for your climate and growing conditions. Sow seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost, or directly outdoors when soil temperatures reach 65-75°F.

    For indoor sowing, fill seed trays with seed starting mix and sow seeds 1 inch deep. Water the trays thoroughly and place them in a warm, sunny location. For outdoor sowing, make hills 6-8 inches tall and 6-10 feet apart, depending on the pumpkin variety. Sow 2-3 seeds per hill and cover them with soil.

  4. Thinning and Caring for Seedlings: Once seedlings emerge and have two sets of true leaves, thin them to one plant per hill. Remove the weaker seedlings to give the remaining plants space to grow and develop.

  5. Watering and Mulching: Pumpkins are thirsty plants, so water them regularly, especially during hot, dry periods. Provide deep watering, allowing the soil to soak deeply but not become soggy. Mulching around the plants with organic material, such as straw or shredded leaves, helps conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.

  6. Fertilizing: Fertilize pumpkins regularly throughout the growing season to provide them with essential nutrients for healthy growth and fruit production. Use a balanced fertilizer or one specifically formulated for pumpkins. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer label for application rates and timing.

  7. Pollination: Pumpkins are monoecious, meaning they have separate male and female flowers on the same plant. Male flowers produce pollen, while female flowers produce fruit. Pollination is essential for fruit set. You can help pollination by hand-pollinating the female flowers with pollen from the male flowers.

  8. Pests and Diseases: Keep an eye out for common pumpkin pests, such as aphids, squash bugs, and cucumber beetles. Treat infestations with organic pest control methods if necessary. Be mindful of diseases like powdery mildew and squash mosaic virus. Practice good garden hygiene and rotate crops to prevent disease spread.

  9. Harvesting Pumpkins: Pumpkins are ready to harvest when they reach their mature color, the rind is hard, and the stem is dry and brown. Cut the pumpkins from the vine with a sharp knife, leaving 2-3 inches of stem attached. Handle pumpkins gently to avoid bruising.

  10. Storing Pumpkins: Store pumpkins in a cool, dry place with good air circulation. Proper storage can extend the shelf life of pumpkins for several months.