Pumpkins

INTRODUCTION

Pumpkin, locally known as Budho (Luo), Malenge (Kiwahili), Lisiebebe (Luhya), Marenge (Kikuyu), Risoa (Kisii), Ulenge (Kamba) are native to North America. Pumpkins have long-running, bristled stems, large deeply-lobed leaves often containing white blotches and yellow or orange flowers separated into male and female types on the same plant. The fruit is variable in shape and colour but is often white, cream or green, containing about 70% flesh and several large white seeds. The potential of the seeds as a source of vegetable fat and protein has not been fully exploited. Fresh seeds have been reported to be used as a vermifuge, and seed decoctions as diuretic and to reduce fevers.Butternut is a variety that has smooth yellow-orange flesh, is very nutritious and is widely used cooked and mashed as baby food. It originated from South Africa.

PRODUCTION

Varieties Butternut 401, Bugle, Early Butternut F1, Ultra F1, Waltham, Large Cheese, Large Flat Boer
Seed Rate 2 to 4 kg/ha
Fertilizer Rate 100 kgs /ha of Phosphorus and 100 kgs of Nitrogen
Planting Spacing 2-3 m either way for Trailing and 60-120 cm plant to plant, 1 – 1.5m rows apart for bushy types.
Husbandry Pumpkins are grown from seed. Direct seeding of 2 to 3 seeds per hill is common. Pumpkins respond very well to medium to heavy applications of compost or well – decomposed manure. Sole cropping is sometimes used for commercial production. Removal of growing tips (in trailing varieties) to check growth, and the bagging of fruits in paper to protect against fruit fly and other pests is recommended. Fruit setting may be stimulated by manual pollination. The fruit may rot when in contact with moist soil, so often cut grass or leaves are placed beneath the fruit.
Pest & Diseases Pest Name Symptoms Control
Choanephora fruit rot Hairy appearance on the fruit Spray with copper products
Whiteflies and Aphids The bugs on the plant. Spray with insecticides
Maturity Duration 3 -4 Months
Climatic Conditions Pumpkins are grown in the tropics from the lowlands up to 2500 m altitude. They are adapted of 18-27°C. Butternut appreciates part shade in very hot conditions.  They can be cultivated on almost any fertile, well-drained soil with a neutral or slightly acid reaction (pH 5.5 to 7). They are drought-tolerant, requiring relatively little water, and are sensitive to water logging.
Harvesting Ensure the fruit does not touch the soil. Harvesting is done by cutting from the stalk. Ensure a stalk of about 15 cm is left attached to the fruit. Do not pluck.
Post Harvest and Storage Store in a cool dry place. During storage and transportation ensure they are not bruised and also the remaining stalk is not plucked from the fruit.
Growing Regions Central, Eastern, Western and Nyanza under irrigation.
Expected yields 20 to 30 tons/ha

PROCESSING

Processing The seeds are ground into fine flour, used to control tapeworm.

MARKETING

Place Mostly marketed locally in groceries.
Price Kshs 50-60 per kgs

CONSUMPTION

Products and Uses Fruits, leaves and flowers are used as vegetables, and seeds are roasted as a snack food.The fruit and seed decoctions have been reported to be used to reduce fevers, and cure indigestion. The pulp is applied to burns and scalds, inflammation, abscesses and boils. Also used in the treatment of migraine and neuralgia
Nutritional value – per 100 g / % Daily Values Vegetable contains 1% protein and 8% carbohydrates, and the dried seeds contain 23% protein, 21% carbohydrates and up to 50% oil.

FACTS & FIGURES

Pumpkins are considered to be among the most efficient of vegetable crops when evaluated on nutritional yield in relation to land area and labour needed.

BUSINESS CASE

Income Per Hectare: Kshs 1,000,000 (20,000kgs * 50/-)Cost per Hectare: Kshs. 400,000 (40% of Income).

NET:    Kshs. 600,000 (60% of Income).

Break Even Yield (Where Cost=Income): = 8000 kgs per hectare.

Income Frequency: Twice per year.




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