Growing stuff on hot concrete – gardening in tropical Penang – the skypumpkin – 2014 Update


I compost the remains of fruit and vegetables, and this supplies nutrients to the soil, and also some plants come up from the seeds in the compost. Most of such plants do not survive long, but occasionally something does.  Sometimes passionfruit do, papaya very often do, and recently a vine has been prolifically growing, presumably from seeds from the compost.

The vine spread first on the ground, and then started climbing, and quickly grew around the passion fruit vines, and up high. Then big yellow flowers appeared.  They dropped off after a few days.

2013-05-26 11.48.46s

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Later a small green vegetable started growing, with a flower on top of it.  It is like a small courgette or pumpkin.

2013-06-22 11.46.14s

2013-06-23 10.05.39s

I couldn’t pick it as it was firmly attached to the vine. Eventually, after a few days it turned yellow, and then a day later yellow/brown, and it could easily be picked. But by that time it seemed to be already decomposing inside – so no longer suitable for eating.

2013-06-28 16.58.21s

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So we cut them off while green, and tried eating a little – we didn’t want to poison ourselves.  The taste is like a rich courgette.  We didn’t get sick.

with teaspoon

with teaspoon

We have no idea what it is, and whatever it grew from is not what we composted. Perhaps it is the natural form of something we eat, and has reverted to type.



Eventually it turned out these were pumpkins.  There were at least two varieties, and they sometimes grew to skypumkin size and then turned brown, and sometimes grew into full sized pumpkins.  They were delicious.  Being thick skinned nothing attacked them, and once it became apparent that a pumpkin would grow to full size it was just a matter of waiting until it seemed to be full size, and then change colour to a bit more tan colour for the green ones. Then pick it, and put in the fridge for a couple of weeks to make it sweeter. Put the seeds into the compost while cutting the pumpkin. So far I have had about 15 pumpkins.  There are no more flowers, or baby pumpkins growing, so it may be the end, but then the vines are still healthy, so perhaps not.  And there are three tiny new pumpkin plants that have recently appeared out of the compost.

ready to harvest

ready to harvest

harvested five today!

harvested five today!

three baby plants January 2014

three baby plants January 2014



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