The Architecture of Pumpkins

Grant Lucas Architect: Blog and Website Redirect

Redirected from a Grant Lucas Architect site? It finally came time to retire my old websites and Blog and replace these with this more modern and mobile and social media friendly site. I have re-included many of my old and informative web pages about Residential Architecture and the Planning, Approval and Building processes in this new streamlined site. I apologize for the inconvenience if you had previously tabbed a specific page and are now redirected back to my new main page…. it may be necessary to scroll and look around a bit to find what you want.

I retired most of my old Blog posts, but kept this one below about “The Architecture of Pumpkins” as it still sums up my Residential Architectural Practice.

The Architecture of Pumpkins

Collecting Your Own Pumpkin Seed

I have grown plants from seed my whole life. I first discovered the joy of raising my own plants from seed as a young child, when I collected and saved pumpkin seeds while watching my mother prepare the evening meal. I would wash them and dry them on a piece of paper towel and then seal them in an envelope with a label on them describing the contents. I would pester mum to buy a different type of pumpkin every time we went to the greengrocer and spent hours just looking at the magnificent specimens the green-grocer would place in the window as displays.  Pumpkin, squash, trombone, marrow… it didn’t matter to me, as they were just the most amazing looking vegetables I had ever seen.

How to raise Pumpkins

In Spring I planted these saved seeds out into small pots and waited for the show. Within a week the seeds emerge from the soil, each pushed out on the apex of 2 emergent seedling leaves. As the leaves expand the empty seed husk falls away. After about 2 weeks a central mature leaf emerges centrally to the first two leaves. This will eventually become the leading stem of the vine, with leaves forming alternately down its length. If the central bud from this is removed when the vine is about 2 meters long it will encourage lateral stems to grow from the main leader. Pumpkins have both male and female flowers. Laterals not only provide more foliage but also have more female flowers.  My morning task would be to pick a male flower, pare back the leaves to expose the bright yellow dusty center and dab the pollen onto the female flowers. Each day the baby pumpkin fruit will grow visibly bigger until it achieves full size. Although the fruit doesn’t get any larger after around 3 weeks, the fruit is still ripening and the seeds will not be ready for another month or so.

Store your Pumpkins

If you want to store your pumpkins you need to leave them on the vine until the end of Autumn to ensure that the skin hardens. Pumpkin is about 50 cents a kilo in summer at harvest time, but by the end of winter is about $4 a kilo…. so it is worth the wait. Roasts are best in winter, so resist the temptation to eat your pumpkins immediately & just leave them in a dry, dark airy place and they will last many months. When you are preparing that special roast from your prize pumpkin, save a few seeds  and continue the cycle through to the next season. By selecting the best fruit for seed collection you will ensure a better resultant crop the next year. It is a tricky job getting any vegetable from the garden to the table…. you will battle snails and millepedes, slater bugs, aphids and mildew, birds and rats and the kids next door. To maximise your chances of success always select seeds from the best parent plants, as the chances are that their seed will pass on these traits.

Pumpkin Seed and Architecture

My Adelaide Architectural practice has a lot to do with the processes I cultivated as a young child. My parents grew up in the Great depression when frugality was the norm. They taught me that if you could do something yourself you should and if you could reuse something you would. This mindset lead me to collect those first pumpkin seeds rather than throw them away.

The world has turned on its head in recent years. The advent of the GFC and global warming has made economic caution and recycling both practical and necessary. Suddenly my old fashioned attitudes and values are mainstream.   Growing pumpkins as a child taught me patience.  It taught me to recognise the beauty in even the simplest of things. It taught me to look for detail and it taught me problem solving and research skills. Learning about the ecology and the web of life in a classroom is not the same as experiencing it in the garden. I loved growing vegetables as a child and collecting pumpkin seed was my first step in a lifetime journey

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