Lady Godiva (naked seed) Pumpkins

Last summer I grew a few Lady Godiva squash (cucurbita pepo) plants in the orchard, trying to take advantage of some of the extra sun while the trees are still small.

This particular variety of squash is interesting to me as the plant produces a pumpkin up to 20lbs in size that contains seeds without the usual thick hull. They are classified as a naked-seeded or hull-less type pumpkin. This variety was released in the US in 1972 and was developed by Allen Stoner. I believed this variety was developed using the Styrian hull-less pumpkin types that were bred in Austria, intended for oil extraction from the seeds.

As the name implies, the great thing about this variety is that without the thick white hull, the seeds are ready to eat in their raw state (after a quick rinse, if you prefer) or can be toasted and eaten. Very tasty!

The pumpkins off of my plants were quite small, a couple pounds or less, but fully developed. My soil is fit for growing trees rather than vegetables at this point, so I’m not surprised at the small size. Our melons were the same way last year. As our beds mature and more organic matter builds in the soil (you can only go up from zero!), the size and yields will improve. Even so, the outer skin on the pumpkins that I harvested in October was quite tough. The pumpkins lasted at room temp storage until they started to show signs of softening this week. Not a bad storage life. Here are a couple pics of one of the pumpkins and the seeds inside:

Some of the seeds were starting to sprout, so I separated out the seeds that appeared dormant (a few hundred) and will replant some more of these this summer. If the number of seeds scales up with the size of the pumpkins, I think these will be a valuable addition to the homestead. I can envision opening up several of these pumpkins a week through the winter for the seeds to be eaten by us and the squash meat to be given either cooked or raw to livestock or our local herd/flock of deer/turkey.


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