~ Golden Nugget Pumpkins ~
We love growing Golden Nugget pumpkins because they are quick to mature and shorten the hungry gap. Thankfully Golden Nuggets are a big win in this department and we aren’t waiting for the larger pumpkin varieties to mature. The Golden Nuggets are a staple in our cooler climate garden where the growing season isn’t as long and of course they are an early variety and fast to mature in a warm climate garden.
Golden Nuggets are also a great space saver, each plant growing to approximately 1m x 1.5m, which is a lot less space than their cousins, the bigger varieties who will take over your veggie patch.
We always plant our Golden Nugget pumpkin seedlings about 1.2metres apart in the raised garden beds in our Kitchen Garden, the leaves are big and spread out. Leaving this much room allows for good ventilation between the plants and we get less mould issues/diseases & pests. This year we have a new garden bed that runs along the northern wall of our hothouse. The wall providing a great heat bank and a few Golden Nugget pumpkin plants grown amongst some zucchini and squash plants are the first to harvest.
Golden Nugget pumpkin plants have such a short growing time frame, better to give them optimal growing conditions and harvest many pumpkins off a few healthy plants growing abundantly that fit the space well then cramming in several plants with poor air circulation that encourages diseases/pests, resulting in fewer pumpkins to harvest.
We plant the larger pumpkin varieties in our food hedges and Quince Orchard, the plants can sprawl as much as they like there and we make sure when we empty the dirty duck bath water it doesn’t go directly on the plants or developing pumpkins for hygiene reasons.
Mulching and Watering.
Mulch approximately 10cm thick over the whole garden bed where you are going to plant your Golden Nugget seedlings, separate the mulch, dig a little hole and plant the golden nugget pumpkin seedlings when they are approximately 15cm tall with well established leaves. Keep the mulch about 5cm away from the base of the seedling to prevent rot.
Always water around the base of the plant. In the mornings from time to time during the hot weather I spray the leaves to freshen them up and rehydrate them. Spraying the leaves in the morning gives the leaves time to dry out. Spraying the leaves in the late afternoon makes them susceptible to leaf mould when the cool of the evening sets in and the leaves remain damp.
We only hand water, and I like it that way. It gives me a chance to be in the garden, and be in touch directly with what is going on. Observation is such an important part of gardening.
A great veg for kids to grow.
Golden nugget pumpkins are a fast maturing vegetable which makes it ideal for kids to grow. They can keep an eye on the pumpkins, be in charge of watering them and see quick growing and harvesting results. When Lil was little she would carry her little Golden Nugget pumpkins inside to the kitchen, to her they were such precious cargo.
Golden Nuggets in the Kitchen:
The Golden Nugget pumpkins have such soft skin if we chop them up straight away. The skin only hardens if you leave them sitting.
We don’t peel the skin off because of it being soft and easy to eat.
As soon as they are harvested I like to have our Golden Nugget pumpkins chopped up, cooked or stored away within a day or two.
They are easier to manage than larger thick skinned pumpkin varieties, even with my injured hand I can chop up one or two for the soup pot or roasting dish and don’t have to wait for Michael to come home from work and do it for me.
The pumpkins don’t sit in storage, susceptible to being forgotten about, rotting or attracting vermin, instead they go straight into the kitchen and prepped for dinner or for meals in the freezer.
While the skin is still soft and the nugget pumpkins easy to cut up I make double & triple batches of recipes for the freezer that have pumpkin in it. eg. curries, pasta sauce, soup. We also make up portion sizes of boiled pumpkin for the Pumpkin Spice Cake that Lil and Michael always makes me for my birthday in Wintertime.
The pumpkins also get deseeded & chopped up into wedges to go into zip lock bags with other root vegetables, so easy to grab a bag out and roast for dinner. By the end of the growing season there is not a Golden Nugget pumpkin to be found unless you look in the freezer.
Two birds one stone, we have restocked the freezer with home made meals and the Golden Nugget pumpkins are harvested and stored to our best advantage.
Collecting seeds to grow next year.
Choose a Golden Nugget pumpkin that is one of the first to ripen, is a good size, shape, blemish free and would win you 1stprize at the local show. The plant the pumpkin comes from should be healthy, have a good amount of flowers developing and other pumpkins growing on it.
Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop the seeds out, separate the seeds from the fleshy bit the seeds nestle in.
Now for the seeds choose large, smooth, plump seeds that are clean, have no knife marks, chips or scratches in them. Spread the seed out on a piece of paper towel so they don’t touch. Write the name of the seeds on the paper towel. Leave in a cool, dry spot out of direct sunlight until the seeds have dried out then shift to labelled paper bags. Zucchini’s and pumpkins have similar looking seed, be sure to label everything well. Speaking from experience!
Happy gardening and garden planning if you are in the Northern Hemisphere.
Sending Light and Love, Jude x
Growing Golden Nugget Pumpkins
January 31, 2022