The Great Pumpkin Harvest of Ancient America

The Pumpkin or Squash has to be one of the greatest success stories, originating from ancient Americas where they were likely grown along river beds in a culturally harmonious “Three Sisters” combination with beans and sunflowers, later maize and today sweetcorn.

These traditional pumpkins resembled the swan neck gourds or cucurbits we grow today. The river side location of these ancient allotments would of provided a rich of source of nutrients, friable soil and an almost endless supply of water for the native indians life giving crops.

I can only imagine the significance and importance of vegetable growing to the native tribes and growing families that relied on successful harvest and rejoiced during years of a great pumpkin harvest in ancient Americas.

Grown worldwide as a staple food source and a supply of health benefits of Pumpkin, an essential crop that stores well and is full of vitamin C and good for the heart.


The great Pumpkin harvest may have been the result of a bumper crop. When the weather conditions that year have helped produce a great harvest which is bound to happen from time to time. Caused by an early spring, abundance of pollinators can help produce masses of crops, vegetables and fruit Un-heard of in previous growing seasons.



The Pumpkin, squash, courgettes and gourds are all member’s of the Cucurbitaceae family which includes a large number of edible fruiting annual vines from tropical and sub tropical areas of the World.

The cucurbits love of tropical climates explains why our precious pumpkins, courgettes and gourds are so susceptible to frost. Long term storing of Pumpkins and Squash is what has helped the Pumpkin become part of traditional heritage, having survived the test of time and remains  a favourite with communities worldwide. I will always the vast different images i have in mind of seeing bright orange Pumpkin appear roadside curing in the Autumn sunshine of both Eastern Europe and New Jersey.

Ancient traditions from the Irish/Welsh version of  a Jack ‘O’ Lantern that soon became Americanised and transformed from a hollowed-out potato/turnip to an international recognised Halloween Pumpkin. The burning of fires on poles to light up like the sun and hold back against the imminent darkness and winter became vegetable lanterns. It was later that it was believed to protect from the un-dead during all hallows eve a celtic festival, when in reality all hallows eve was an inviting of the souls of loved ones to break bread and share hospitality with loved ones not scare them away.

Enjoy the photographs from our own great Pumpkin harvest of 2016.


Pumpkin vines can attain several meters and whilst utilising space in your garden or vegetable allotment is a must, use of structure and frames is an essential part of growing a wide range of crops.


Planting Cucurbits along a low wire or picket fence is a great way to utilise a boundary or why not try growing the vigourous vines through some sun loving shrubs in your garden? Not only will the vines use the woody stems to support itself but it will also reward you with the occasional bloom and some brighty coloured fruits decorating your shrub through Autumn. See more about Pumpkins and Cucurbits here >>

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Stephen Pryce-Lea

Head Gardener and International Horticultural Consulatant




“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, when you find it in a Garden it’s like finding Paradise“

iGrowHort – A Head Gardener’s Horticultural Journey of love, life and learning.




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About Head Gardener 291 Articles
Award winning, 40 something year old professional plantsman and horticulturalist with National Trust, private parks and estate management background. My vast plant knowledge and hands on techinical experience, afforded me the opportunity to work in various horticultural landscapes, in the UK, USA & Eastern Europe. Having worked in both garden retail & the design service industry gave me the practical diversity and managerial skill set, required for running a large prestigious gardens and stately homes. I strongly believe knowledge is to be shared and have worked closely with people and staff of all ages and abilities keen to develop their passion for gardening, including groups of children, special needs and adults. I have hosted guided walks, talks and tours for those keen to learn about cultivated and wild plants, garden development, history and design. As an member of the NNCPG and National Trust, I am actively involved in the preservation of several important plant collections both in public and private gardens throughout the UK. “It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, in a garden it’s paradise” Follow @IGrowHort on GardenTags. Stephen is passionate about gardening as Head Gardener with a team of ten staff he manages a prestigious Cheshire country estate of 55 acres, inc wild flower meadows, woodland, organic kitchen and formal gardens. Follow Stephen today”

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