JIS News

St. Andrew homeowners Gladstone and Emma Hutchinson are reaping success from their backyard gardening project, harvesting pumpkins weighing up to 25 pounds.
A graduate of Knockalva College in 1948, Mr. Hutchinson told JIS News that as far back as he could remember he has always done backyard gardening with moderate success. “I’ve always planted something, calaloo, table tomatoes, corn, okra or bananas,” he said, noting that he recently decided to try his hand at growing pumpkins.
He told JIS News that his first attempts at growing pumpkins were not as successful because then there were problems with technique. “The pumpkins would grow but wouldn’t hold on the vine. They would just drop off after reaching a certain weight even though they were not yet fit,” he recalled.
It was only after talking to a few “country farmers” at the food market downtown and seeking advice from a Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) representative that things started to improve.
“The farmer and the RADA man told me to just put the fruit in a bag and tie it to the fence to secure it so that the weight of the pumpkin would not bear down on the vine,” Mr. Hutchinson explained.
“Now the pumpkins are holding till they are fit,” he said. “The last one I picked I think weighed about 25 pounds. This one that I picked this week weighs nearly 23 pounds and there is another one coming, which looks like it might be bigger,” he proudly told JIS News.
In terms of expanding his backyard garden, Mr. Hutchinson said that he plans to build a greenhouse for the growing of tomatoes and other crops. In the meantime however, he will be sharing his pumpkin crop with his neighbours.
RADA has been encouraging backyard gardening in rural and urban areas to increase the self-reliance of households and improve nutrition.

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