Introduction of Pumpkin: – Pumpkin is a popular vegetable rainy season crop in India. The pumpkin belongs to “Cucurbitace” family and is grown extensively during kharif season (monsoon) and summer season throughout India, for immature and tenser fruits. India is the second largest country producing pumpkin in the world after China. Pumpkin fruits are consumed in daily cooking and also used in sweets preparation. The fruit juice, young stems, flowers and leaves have many medicinal properties.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin: – Some of the health benefits of pumpkin are listed below: –
• Pumpkin has Rich source of Vitamin ‘A’ and Potassium.
• Pumpkin has good antioxidant properties.
• Pumpkin may Boost Eye Vision.
• Pumpkin may aid in sleep better.
• Pumpkin may lower blood Pressure.
Local names of pumpkin in India: – Gummadi Kaya (Telugu), Possanikai (Tamil),Kumbalakai (Kannada), Mathanga (Malayalam), Lal bhopala (Marathi), Kaddu (Hindi), Kollaano velo (Gujarati).
Commercial varieties of pumpkin in India: – Below listed are some of the commercial varieties of Pumpkin: –
• Arka Suryamukhi
• Ambili
• Arka Chandan
• Saras
• Suvarna,
• Sooraj
Climate required for Pumpkin farming: – Pumpkin needs min temperature of 18 C at early stage of it is growth. Ideal temperature range is 25 to 25 C for its cultivation. It adapts wide range of rainfall conditions and it also tolerates low temperatures.
Best season for pumpkin farming: – Pumpkin can be grown during time period of January to March & September to December. Sowing can also be started after the first few showers during May to June for the rain fed crop.
Soil requirement and its preparation in Pumpkin farming: – It thrives well in wide variety of soils but sandy loam soil with good organic matter is best suited. Soil with good drainage and the ph range of 6 to 7 is ideal for Pumpkin cultivation. The field should be leveled to fine tilth, well drained, fertile (can make adding organic compost or Farm Yard Manure (FMY). The selected main field should also have an assured water source.
Seed rate in Pumpkin farming: – Seed rate in pumpkin farming is 1.0 to 1.5 kg per one hectare.
Preparation of main land in pumpkin farming: – Dig pits of 60cm diameter and 30 to 45 cm depth and maintain a spacing of 4.5 meter X 2.0 meter. Well rotten Farm Yard Manure (FMY) and fertilizers should be mixed with topsoil in the pit.
Sowing of Pumpkin seeds: – 4 or 5 seeds are to be sown per pit. Destroy any unhealthy or damaged plants after two weeks and retain 3 plants per pit.
Manures and Fertilizers in Pumpkin farming: – Apply farm yard manure FYM at 20 to 25 ton/ha as basal dose along with half dose of 35 kg of N and should be kg of P205 and K20 (25 kg/ha). The remaining doses of 35 kg of N should be applied in two equal split doses at the time of plantation and at the time of full blooming.
Weed control in pumpkin farming: – Raking of the soil at the time of fertilizer application and conducting 2 to 3 hand weeding are required to keep field weed free. Earthling up should be during monsoon (rainy season).
Irrigation in Pumpkin farming: – The irrigation should be given in open field as per the requirement of the plants. During the initial stages of pumpkin plant growth, irrigation at an interval of 3 to 4 days. Irrigation on alternate days during flowering and fruiting will return in high quality fruits.
Pests and Diseases in pumpkin farming: – Epilachna beetle, fruit flies and red pumpkin beetle are main pests in pumpkin plantation. They can be controlled as in case of bitter gourd. Powdery mildew, downy mildew, and mosaic are main diseases in pumpkin farming.
Harvesting of pumpkin: – Pumpkins will be ready for harvesting when the stems connecting the fruit to vine begin to shrivel. Can harvest the fruits when they are in deep solid color and the rind is hard. Destroy any unhealthy fruit from the vine, use sharp knife for harvesting with care.
Yield of Pumpkin: – The pumpkin yield mainly depends on plant management and the variety of fruit. An average yield of pumpkin can be expected up to 35 ton/ha/.
Marketing of pumpkin: – They can be transported to local markets.
Bottom line: – Pumpkin farming has good potential of profits, provided sufficient management care is taken.