C. moschata. The deeply cut lobes and ribs of this gorgeous French heirloom distinguish it as one of the most decorative of all winter squash. Musquee d'Hiver de Provence also happens to have very rich, sweet, deep orange, finely flavoured flesh that is never watery. The seeds can be roasted, and the cured fruits will keep into the following spring. Give this remarkable pumpkin room to grow and very fertile soil, and it will return the favour with 20 lb fruits with thick walls and incredible storage potential. When ripe, the fruits change from dark green to a buff like salmon colour.
Matures in 120 days. (Open-pollinated seeds)
Size: 2g (approx. 10 seeds)
Easy, but these big plants require lots of room.
Season & Zone
Season: Warm season
Direct sow or transplant in late spring when soil warms up. For transplants, start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks after the last frost date. Try to get the plants into the ground no later than the summer solstice. Optimal soil temperature for germination: 25-35°C (68-95°F). Seeds should sprout in 7-14 days.
Sow seeds 2cm (1″) deep. Sow 3 seeds in each spot you want a plant to grow and thin to the strongest plant. Space plants at a minimum of 90-120cm (36-48″) apart in rows 120-180cm (48-72″) apart. If starting transplants indoors, consider using the 12-cell plug inserts.
Days to Maturity
From transplant date.
Ideal pH: 6.0-6.8. These big plants need lots of food. Choose a sunny spot with fertile, well-draining soil. Dig in a generous quantity of finished compost and/or composted manure. Dig in 1 cup of complete organic fertilizer under each plant. All pumpkins grow male flowers first, then the female flowers are produced. The female flowers have tiny fruits at the base of the petals and require pollination by bees, mostly. Incomplete pollination is common at the beginning of the season, and results in small fruits that are misshapen at the flower end. Discard these damaged fruits before they rot.
Like other winter squash, pumpkins are mature when they have coloured up well and their stems are crisp. For the best sugar content, cut the stem about 4cm (2″) or so from the body of the fruit. If the weather is dry, allow the pumpkins to cure in the field for 10 days, or in a warm room for 4-5 days. Bring pumpkins in under cover before rain.
In optimal conditions at least 80% of seeds will germinate. Usual seed life: 2 years. Per 100′ row: 60 seeds
Diseases & Pests
Powdery Mildew: An airborne fungal disease that causes white spots on the leaves at the end of the season. Several home-sprays are said to be somewhat effective. Spray any of the following at 7-10 day intervals. 1tsp baking soda and 1 quart of water with a squirt of dish soap, or 1 part milk to 9 parts of water. You can add a little kelp based fertilizer to the mix. Resistant varieties get the mildew just a few days later than the other varieties.
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