As the economy situation declines, individuals can still come with ways to enhance their lifestyle.
Small scale farming is being currently encouraged.
Many feel it is too hard to engage in or maybe there is no land space to farm on but you will require no less than a 3 meters x 3 meters space or even a small say custard plastic container with rich loamy soil to carry out the planting of pumpkin seeds.
Pumpkin seeds can be eaten whole by boiling and the leaves used for several soups including egusi soup. It is called Ugu in Igbo land, Iroko in Yoruba land and Umeke in Edo.
You can enrich the soil by using organic manure, no need to spend money on expensive fertilizer.
Organic fertilizer can be obtained from the droppings of chicken which you can get from poultry. The poultry caretakers are more than willing to give you the droppings when you ask for it and for this small-scale farming you do not require a very large quantity.
Pumpkin seeds can be gotten from any market, especially in the southern area. Currently three numbers of pumpkin seeds costs no less than 100 Naira. Yes… that cheap…
Let us assume you have obtained the following;
- Good soil
- Open space of say 3 m x 3 m or a plastic container
- Pumpkin seeds
The next steps will guide you on how to carry out the planting.
- Dry the pumpkin seeds for 5 days after removing the juicy parts around it. This method is carried out if the seeds are obtained fresh. However if they are obtained dried the process of drying can be skipped.
- Note this step; the seed is planted one foot apart by turning the exposed part of the seed upward (I call it the eye) and the other side in the soil. The part with the eye faces upward.
- Place the seed into the soil; it should not be too deep.
- Ensure there is adequate water in the soil.
- It should germinate within five days under the right condition.
- When it germinates, get a stick of say 1 m – 2 m height and placed it close to the germinated pumpkin seeds so it will climb around the stick. This is because the plant tends to do better when it climbs around an object than when it is left alone.
- Voila, you can enjoy your fresh and organic plant. You could even decide to grow the seeds again if you wish. The plant produces seeds after a period of about 3 months. However you can start harvesting after a month.
Guess what! There are also many health benefits of pumpkin, they include;
– liver protecting effects
– Antibacterial effects
– The leaves are rich in iron and play a key role in the cure of anemia, (my mother used to mix the leaf extract with milk)
– They are also noted for lactating properties and are in high demand for nursing mothers.
– It has a hypoglycemic (sugar reducing) effect. It is good for diabetics
– Increases Blood Volume and Boost Immune System