Connect with us

Thai Life

Gardening: Phuket, some call it “fuk thong’

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Halloween, the eve of All Hallows Day, has come and gone. Long ago, my family spent a year in California, where the kids made lanterns with ghoulish faces and scary costumes for the evening house-to-house visitations.

Here in Phuket, there has been no “trick-or-treating”, no Jack-o’-lanterns, no pumpkin pie, no monster pumpkins. Incidentally, the world record weight for a pumpkin – held by Swiss Beni Meier – is an astounding 1,054.01 kilograms.

Nonetheless, pumpkins are a fact of life here. They thrive everywhere in Thailand’s climate. Often cut into sections with their bright orange flesh offering a vivid contrast to the dull, warty, wrinkled shell, they offer a presence in every food store and fresh market.

The fruit features in pumpkin soup, is cooked with prawns in Vietnam, can be fried with eggs and is an enriching addition to mashed potato, salad or nam prik.

Good for you ? You bet… But then, name me an edible fruit, herb or vegetable that is not healthy. If we all ate more of this natural stuff – and the recommended minimum is six portions a day – then we would all benefit.

So what’s beneficial about pumpkins ? Fiber for a start. They contain, as do most fruits of the earth, lots of natural fiber, the stuff that helps to keep your innards in good working order. And if you cook some of the dense, fleshy shell along with the flesh , the level of fiber will increase hugely.

In fact every bit of curcurbita pepo, a member of the vast squash family, is edible. In parts of America even the flowers are cooked, in Kenya the leaves. As a snack, the small flat seeds are a useful substitute for sunflower seeds.

The seeds are even a possible prophylactic against diabetes, one of the curses of a modern civilization hooked on sugar. Fed to affected rats, the seeds reduced glucose in their blood and lowered dangerous cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

The orange flesh, moreover, is a good source of lutein and both A and B carotene, which the body is able to convert into vitamin A. This vitamin, so effective as an anti-oxidant, also helps to improve our immune function and keeps our eyes and skin in good order. Also available in carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes and apricots, it occurs in most members of the squash genus, but in none so liberally as in pumpkins.

If you want to grow these monsters, remember a few basic rules. Like marrows from temperate climes, they are vines that snake along the ground and consequently require lots of room – at least 10 meters.

Plant the seeds a few centimeters deep in good soil – it will need to retain water – and the seedlings should sprout after seven to 10 days. Water heavily whenever the soil gets dry or when the leaves show signs of distress. A pumpkin is more than 80 per cent water, so it needs plenty of it.

When the yellow blooms appear, they will be of both sexes. Distinguished by a bulb at the base of the flower, the female flowers require pollination. Normally this is performed by insects and especially bees, but since they are in such short supply, it may be necessary to hand pollinate by using a fine brush and mingling the pollen. The female flowers will die within a few hours if fertilization has not taken place.

The whole growth cycle may take in excess of a 100 days, but the smaller tropical varieties should mature more speedily.

When a pumpkin is ready for the table, cut the stem as far from the fruit as you can – maybe six inches. This procedure will help to preserve it. Left without a stem, it will rot away. That is, if you leave it that long…

Catch Patrick online here Sunday morning next week, when he explores the world of the sexually ambiguous papaya.

If you have a question or a garden that you would like featured, email: Further information about this gardening series and Patrick’s other work can be accessed here.

— Patrick Campbell


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)32 mins ago

Bangkok restrictions lifted on 8 categories, including swimming

Patong2 hours ago

Tar balls spreading in Phuket hit Patong Beach

Phuket3 hours ago

Officials predict 600,000 tourists to Phuket following reopening

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Phuket3 hours ago

Technician electrocuted to death while trying to fix jacuzzi

Pattaya4 hours ago

Pattaya pushes for August 1 Sealed Route reopening plan

Thailand4 hours ago

Mother alleges that Doctor mistakenly gave her 10 year old sleeping pills

Bangkok4 hours ago

1 million Sinopharm doses arrive today

Tourism5 hours ago

Full reopening guidelines for Phuket and Samui

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

Covid UPDATE: 3,682 new cases, 20 covid-related deaths, provincial totals

Thailand6 hours ago

Poll shows schools, students, parents, “not ready” for online learning

Chon Buri6 hours ago

Man returns lost parakeet, gets rewarded with BBQ

Thai Life7 hours ago

Thai Lion predicts football matches, other abilities currently unknown

Tourism7 hours ago

Reopening details for Phuket, Samui and beyond laid out

Coronavirus (Covid-19)9 hours ago

Multiple Chiang Rai schools to close after infections found

Thailand9 hours ago

Woman falls off building on Pattaya’s Walking Street

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8