my kitty is a mulching machine, big pumpkin harvest & saving the seeds two ways (one is yummy)

Posted by on Jun 25, 2016 in Home | 22 Comments

One of my cats is cray cray. Fletch is a Bengal cross rescue cat named after Irwin Fletcher (Chevy Chase Fletch). He does lots of weird stuff. It might be the wild Asian leopard bit coming out. Fletch tears pumpkin leaves off the vine or should I say, SHREDS THEM VIOLENTLY. One day I was in the garden and heard loud tearing sounds behind me – Fletch was at it. Even if I’m inside at the back of the house, I can hear him doing it from outside. Creepy! He has done a hell of a lot of work considering I harvested 19 Jap (or Kent) pumpkins (Cucubita spp.) from a vine that took over 3 garden beds. In permaculture, we talk about ‘chop and drop’ mulching, Fletch has now coined the phrase ‘chew and drop’. Who knew Fletch would become a feline mulching machine? Whoever said the domestic cat had no function in nature? Clearly Fletch has been working his little kitty butt off in my closed backyard system.

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P U M P K I N   S E E D S   F O R   P L A N T I N G

If you have been growing some awesome pumpkins or you’re about to eat one, save the seeds! Seed can be saved one month after harvesting. If you buy pumpkins, the best bet you have of growing ones similar to your original pumpkin is to use seeds from open-pollinated and heirloom varieties. So try buying a pumpkin from a farmers market and ask the farmer.

1. Scrap the seeds from your favourite pumpkin with a big spoon.
2. Clean the seeds by separating them from the pulp then rinse well in a colander under water until they are completely clean.
3. Make sure they are dry and spread them in a single layer on a tray lined with baking paper. Place them in a cool, dry and dark location for about 3 weeks.
4. Keep them in a labeled envelope and plant when ready.

Sow seed in soil with a few handfuls of compost. Pumpkins love full sun, regular watering and fertile, well-drained soil. Being ground cover plants, they can take up heaps of space-be warned! They can also be grown all year round in tropical and sub-tropical climates. Native and honey bees are the usual pollinators so make sure you plant lots of flowers in your garden to attract them and they’ll do the hard work for you.

Pumpkins usually take 70-120 days to mature. I harvest when the vine around them starts to die and when they sound hollow when tapped. Cut them off of the vine with as much stalk as possible. Also try eating pumpkin leaf tips (throw them in a stir fry) as removing them also helps to contain the plants so they don’t take over! After harvesting, vines and leaves can be used for composting.

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P U M P K I N   S E E D S   F O R   E A T I N G

Pumpkin seeds are very high in magnesium, rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidants, fibre and a rich source of zinc.

s p i c y   p u m p k i n   s e e d s

1 cup pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
Pinch of hot chilli powder
Sea salt

1. Clean and rinse your pumpkin seeds (as above). Make sure they are pretty dry.
2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
3. Spread out the seeds on the tray and roast for 12 minutes or until lightly roasted.
4. While they’re still warm, place seeds in a large bowl then add the olive oil and toss. Add the spices, sea salt and toss again. A tasty snack with a few drinks or yummy with avo and toast!

1a

22 Comments

  1. Tandy | Lavender and Lime
    June 25, 2016

    Wow, your harvest was amazing. Love that your cat is helping your garden grow so well 😀

    Reply
  2. Lorraine @Not Quite Nigella
    June 26, 2016

    I’ve always thrown these away but wondered what to do with them! 😀 Thanks Jem!

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      June 26, 2016

      No worries Lorraine. Just put them aside every time you use pumpkin and you’ll gather a collection!

      Reply
  3. Function 9
    June 26, 2016

    Never knew you could do so much with pumpkin seeds. Your kitty does look a bit cray cray haha.

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      June 26, 2016

      LOL this picture shows his inner cray cray, the light and the dark 🙂

      Reply
  4. Sam Rutherford
    June 27, 2016

    You have a very cute cat Jem even though he may be crazy! I’m thinking I could buy pumpkin seeds and do the recipe if need be. I know that’s not the point but it could help with more seeds.

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      June 27, 2016

      Thanks Sam, he is definitely very cute but very naughty. You could definitely buy some seeds, you can do whatever you want! The fact that we can get multiple uses out of our produce as well as preventing waste is a beautiful thing 🙂

      Reply
  5. Nagi@RecipeTinEats
    June 30, 2016

    Nice harvest! Those pumpkins are amazing! And love that your cat helps you. 😀

    Reply
  6. Sherry m
    July 2, 2016

    What a funny cat you have Jem. We house sat for friends for a year. They had a huge garden with lots of pumpkins sprouting up everywhere. We didn’t do anything to them. And they grew like topsy. Love pepitas!

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      July 2, 2016

      Exactly Sherry, I can’t take responsibility for half of these pumpkins, most of the time they just pop up. I think there were a few seeds in my compost. They are unstoppable once they start growing!

      Reply
  7. emma
    July 2, 2016

    I love me some pumpkin seeds (esp spicy ones, yum). Your harvest looks very healthy too.

    And your kitty is adorable in that crazy way only cats can be!

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      July 2, 2016

      Thanks Emma. That’s it, cats are a special kind of cray cray!

      Reply
  8. e / dig in hobart
    July 11, 2016

    beautiful pumpkin harvest – and go kitty! all that work he is doing must be so helpful in the garden! who knew?

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      July 11, 2016

      Who knew is right lol? We all have to pull our weight around here 🙂

      Reply
  9. Gourmet Getaways
    July 21, 2016

    WOW!
    I have never known a cat to do that. Definitely CRAY CRAY!
    I love your pumpkin harvest.
    My dad has been bringing me pumpkins from his garden. I love having fresh produce.
    Keep well xx

    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      July 21, 2016

      Cray cray is the diagnosis! Endless pumpkins is such a wonderful thing and so versatile. I love how you can use them in so many sweet and savory dishes.

      Reply
  10. Ngeun
    July 25, 2016

    Wonderful post Jem, thanks! Lol @ Fletch, would hate to be a mouse in your garden. I recently collected pumpkin seeds from the shop and planted some, a few have grown in pots, not sure what type they are now. Jem, would you know, if I have two or more types of pumpkin growing, would they pollinate and hybridize each other (and give different fruits)? How about growing different nasturtium (flower) varieties? Thanks very much for your time Jem. 😊

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      July 25, 2016

      Hey Ngeun, LOL anything that moves can get pretty much get in trouble with Fletch! If you have planted open-pollinated pumpkin seeds and have a couple of different varieties in your garden, it is possible that they could naturally cross-pollinate. I have heard many weird and wonderful stories 🙂 However, this would not happen if they are hybrid seeds. This is also possible with nasturtiums if they are from open-pollinated, non-hybrid seeds.

      Reply
  11. Ngeun
    July 26, 2016

    Thank you Jem, that really helps. The pumpkin seeds are from ‘typical’ store bought pumpkins (Kent & Butternut), so I’ll just wait and see. I researched more after posting my comment (sorry, should have done before) and saw some of the groovy pumpkin crosses. Also, it seems that the second nasturtium I’m planting is a different species so it’s unlikely they’ll cross polinate. Again, I’ll wait and see. 🙂

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      July 26, 2016

      No worries Ngeun, sorry I’m not more help without knowing what type of seeds they are. As you said, just wait and see. There’s a lot of that in gardening but that’s the fun part 🙂

      Reply

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