Earth Notes: Is An Orange Halloween Pumpkin Green?

Updated 2023-11-02.
Sow in April, reap in September, get soup and pie and roast seeds too! Oh, and a Halloween lantern. #green #pumpkin #Halloween

Cucurbita maxima, C. moschata, C. argyrosperma, C. ficifolia, C. pepo, aka winter squash(es); on the tip of everyone's tongue, especially when served up as pumpkin pie!

We like growing pumpkins in our tiny garden. Three or four run amok, looking like an alien invasion bearing a riot of huge yellow flowers. Usually three-ish gourds survive the slugs to become pie and Halloween lanterns!
pumpkin yellow flower

(The nasturtiums often get jealous in autumn and scramble over the top. We get a little suburban jungle right up until frosts hit!)

We all have the fun of watching them planted as seeds in about April. Then fighting off cats and sometimes huge Spanish slugs (the only things meaty enough to try chewing the hairy stems). Then as food it's pretty green (while being very orange) as it does not clock up any food miles to reach our plates.

Fruits of the Cucurbita are said to be good sources of nutrients including vitamin A and vitamin C. So healthy veggie nosh to boot.

Jean Ryder advises on growing, recipes and making lanterns below...

How Do I Grow a Pumpkin From Seed?

pumpkin homegrown 14lb 6kg harvested slightly early maturing in kitchen 1 DHD

Plant one seed per pot in April, keep covered and warm (eg in a greenhouse). Plant out in June once frosts have gone and the plants are strong, and are beyond the initial two seed leaves.

pumpkin plants planted out from greenhouse to garden in May

You can surround the seedlings upon planting out in the soil with egg-shells to deter slugs. That or nuclear weapons...

Once a fruit has formed/established on each plant, trim the vine to concentrate the plant's efforts on that one.

Harvest in September, or when the vine has died.

How Do I Cook Pumpkin?

pumpkin homegrown over 4kg Sept 2018 amongst strawberry leaves

(Don't forget the seeds!)

Pie (takes patience, but is worth it!): Pumpkin Pie (Waitrose Food magazine 2015). Starts with 700g of pumpkin (or butternut squash) flesh, takes a couple of hours, and serves eight.

Soup—here's our favourite recipe (the cream is nice): Perfect pumpkin soup.

A deliciously rich pumpkin soup. Pumpkin, carrots and onions are roasted, before being pureed with cooked potato, stock and double cream. Serve with a dollop of cream and crusty bread.

This one starts with 750g of pumpkin, two carrots and two onions, is ready in a couple of hours all told, and serves six.

You can also just roast the flesh, which is delicious and probably the lowest-carbon treat!

Roast the seeds. Mmm, yes: roast pumpkin seeds really are fab!

Maybe for some strange reason you don't have good use for kilo upon kilo of yummy pumpkin on the day that you harvest it. So you can just store the pumpkins in the kitchen as we do. Or you can directly freeze the flesh (roughly cubed) from the gourd.

monster pumpkin 14lb 7kg October 2013 held aloft by little people JR

How Do I Carve Pumpkin?

Slice a lid off, use a metal spoon to scoop out the seeds, extract the flesh if you want, draw your chosen image on front, and then use a sharp knife to cut it out. Put a candle (real or fake battery-operated) inside, and put the pumpkin outside to wow your visitors.

Is Pumpkin Compostable?

All the bits that don't get eaten, and your carved lantern when finished with, will make fine compost bin fodder!

Can Pumpkin Be Art?


pumpkin homegrown 7lb 3kg on the vine DHD
Left: pumpkin homegrown 7lb 3kg on the vine. Right: abstract art pumpkin!

Is Pumpkin Green?

Probably as good family fun goes this is pretty low-carbon, and environmentally benign, and thus green. Even when it's orange.

So maybe we should coin a new joke that runs something like:

What's big and orange and green all over? ... A pumpkin!

Other Cucurbitaceae

courgette from 16WW garden 20220710 still hot on kitchen counter
pumpkins homegrown four 12kg total 20191011 on kitchen counter cropped tweaked 2 DHD pumpkins homegrown three on kitchen counter 2018


  • 2023-09-24: the first (~1.3kg) pumpkin is in this year. (We subsequently harvested another two, similar in size, the three weighing in at: 1.252kg, 1.313kg, 1.851kg.) 2023-11-01: mmmmmm pumpkin soup!
  • 2022-09: the very hot weather may have done in our pumpkins this year: we have one gourd that is not much bigger than a beefy beef tomato, and the vine long since withered! (Eaten in a risotto 2022-10-09.)
  • 2021-09: two small pumpkins (~3kg total?) and two small squashes so far this year!
  • 2019-10-06: one already in (2.76kg), three stupidly orange lurking outside still! 2019-10-11: last three in at 3.05kg, 2.85kg, 3.13kg for a total of 11.79kg.
  • 2018-08-31: another three pumpkins this year, first two 1.7kg and 3.1kg, one still on the vine. 2018-09-27 third one harvested and weighs in at 4.5kg.
  • Pumpkin Vine Care and Maintenance.
  • Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Pumpkins.
  • Homegrown pumpkin photos.
  • Perfect pumpkin soup.
  • Pumpkin Pie.
  • Pumpkin yellow flower.
  • Pumpkin in kitchen.