'Watermelon seeds' grow into prize-winning pumpkin


Lisa Jordan, Bailee Haughton, 5, and her sister Mila, 7, with the giant pumpkin they grew. PHOTO:...
Lisa Jordan, Bailee Haughton, 5, and her sister Mila, 7, with the giant pumpkin they grew. PHOTO: JOHN COSGROVE
Looking forward to a juicy watermelon treat through the summer, Sefton's Lisa Jordan bought a packet of seeds from a market.

However, as the plants began to grow Lisa’s watermelon seedlings began producing yellow fruit — pumpkins.

‘‘Initially I was a bit confused when yellow pumpkins, not green watermelons started appearing,’’ says Lisa.

‘‘So we just left them alone and neglected them, we didn’t even water them and forgot about them until one started growing big.’’

Their large rotund yellow pumpkin won the biggest pumpkin prize at last Saturday’s Amberley Farmers’ Market’s Pumpkin Pageant Day.

Organised by Natalie Absalom, the TimeBank Hurunui and Connect Hurunui co-ordinator, the Pumpkin Pageant attracted a wide variety of pumpkins in the various categories from large to small and oddest to the best decorated.

There were orange and grey, black and dark green ones, plus butternuts big and small on show at the market.

Many of the stallholders at the market also embraced the theme of the pageant, decorating their tables with pumpkins.

One of the oddest pumpkins on show was a Triamble grown by Glenmark Lions member Alistair Malcolm.

The uniquely shaped grey pumpkin, officially named the Heirloom Triangular Ironbark Pumpkin or Triamble, is known for its thick sweet orange flesh, which is said to be perfect for baking.

Alistair says he grew his first Triamble when he was just 15 on a small patch of land his father, a market gardener, had let him use out the back of the property.

‘‘You don’t see them nowadays, people just don’t grow them anymore due to their ugly shape, but they do taste very nice,’’ says Alistair.

Alistair has worked for many years helping the Glenmark Lions grow pumpkins on his property to sell as fundraisers.

‘‘We have over the past 10 years, grown and sold more than 100 tonnes of pumpkins, and the crop is one of our biggest fundraisers each year.’’

Alistair’s Triamble won a first and a second at the pageant.

Natalie Absalom says she already has some great ideas for next year's Pumpkin Pageant at the Amberley Farmers’ Market.

A large basketful of donated pumpkins was later delivered to the Inspire Pantry Foodbank in Amberley.