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Decorative pumpkin Little Red Riding Hood is an annual melon crop. It has unique characteristics, is resistant to diseases, pests and drought, does not require special cultivation techniques. Its fruits are used for culinary or decorative purposes.
Description of the variety
The Red Riding Hood variety was bred by the American breeder L. Burbank from the seeds of a Chilean pumpkin, shaped like an oak acorn. After many years of hard work, an unpretentious plant was obtained, resistant to droughts, diseases and pests. Due to the visual similarity of the fruits with an oriental headdress, the derived subgroup was named turbid.
The brightest representative of the subspecies is a mushroom-shaped pumpkin called Little Red Riding Hood. The variety is considered decorative: its compact bush, thin lashes, grow up to 2.5 - 4 m, weave well and cling to the proposed support. The crown of the plant is dense, saturated, dark green. The leaf plate is small, rounded. The culture forms a large number of thin lateral shoots.
The variety is classified as early maturing. The growing season begins in June. Large, funnel-shaped yellow flowers on slender stems bloom on the pumpkin. By the end of June, fruits begin to form.
Description of fruits
The shape and color of the pumpkin are distinctive features of the Red Riding Hood variety. In appearance, the fruits are similar to a large mushroom with a red, orange, brownish rounded cap and a thick white, milky or white-green base.
Ripe pumpkin weighs from 200 g to 2 kg. Large turbid varieties are rarely found, with fruits 10 - 20 cm in diameter, growing up to 4 kg.
The flesh of young pumpkins is crumbly, its thickness can reach 7 - 10 cm. The variety has a pleasant melon aroma and sweetness. After ripening, its peel hardens, the pulp becomes watery, bitter. Such fruits are used for decoration.
Decorative pumpkin Little Red Riding Hood has a high yield. Subject to the rules of agricultural technology and favorable growth conditions, up to 20 fruits can be harvested from one bush per season.
Important! Ripe fruits can be stored for over a year.
The Red Riding Hood variety is cold-resistant. Sprouted seeds can be sown in early spring, immediately after frost, without waiting for deep heating of the soil. In the presence of mulch and covering material, young shoots are not afraid of recurrent frosts.
The varietal feature of the Red Riding Hood is the high germination capacity of seeds and their long shelf life. Pumpkin seeds remain viable for 7 years.
Another advantage of the variety is its drought resistance. The plant easily tolerates dry periods with high air temperatures, without the need for additional watering.
Pest and disease resistance
Ornamental pumpkin is susceptible to the same diseases as large table varieties. However, a feature of Red Riding Hood is increased immunity. On plants, there are practically no aphids, slugs and spider mites. Powdery mildew is not terrible for pumpkin.
With proper storage of seeds and preventive measures, insecticide treatment will not be required before planting.
Advantages and disadvantages
Gardeners note that, in addition to its unique appearance, the mushroom-shaped ornamental pumpkin variety has significant advantages:
- frost resistance;
- high immunity to diseases, pests;
- drought resistance;
- high productivity;
- fast growth;
- early maturity;
- long shelf life of ripe fruits.
In addition, the plant is suitable for vertical cultivation. Scourges easily climb to a height of 2.5 m, form dense thickets. A decorative pumpkin is planted to decorate verandas, gazebos, arched walkways.
Of the minuses, the bitter taste of ripe pumpkin is noted, as well as watery pulp and dense rind. Young fruits of the Red Riding Hood variety have no flaws in taste.
Is it possible to eat pumpkin Little Red Riding Hood
Only unripe, "dairy" fruits are suitable for cooking. The decorative mushroom pumpkin is used both raw and boiled, baked or steamed. The young pulp tastes tender, with a sweet, melon aroma.
A variety of salads are prepared from the fruits of the Red Riding Hood variety; they can be boiled, fried, salted, stewed, added to cereals or mashed potatoes.
Nutritionists say that orange pumpkin pulp is saturated with keratin, enriches the body with useful vitamins and microelements.
Important! Young fruits do not have a bitter tart taste characteristic of table varieties, which allows them to be used for baby food.
Application of decorative pumpkin
Craftsmen make unusual decor items, household utensils, and use them to create autumn compositions and children's creativity from mature pumpkin of the Red Riding Hood variety, collected and properly dried in a timely manner.
Caskets, pots, cups, candlesticks, and festive lanterns are cut from fruits of an unusual shape.
Lacquer and acrylic paints fit well on hard, dried peel.
The decorative pumpkin variety Red Riding Hood is one of the most unpretentious to care for. For planting, it is worth choosing light, unshaded areas with loose, fertile soil. It is desirable that the soil environment is neutral or slightly acidic.
Little Red Riding Hood can be sown outdoors at the end of April. The variety is not afraid of frost and a sharp drop in temperature. The seeds are pre-germinated by placing them in cheesecloth for 2 days, periodically moistened with warm water. Planting with non-germinated material is possible, but seedlings will appear much later.
They grow pumpkin of the Red Riding Hood variety and seedlings:
- In late February - early May, the seeds are immersed in the nutrient composition for 2 - 3 days. You can buy it at any gardening store.
- The hatched seeds are placed in peat pots with a fertile substrate.
- After it is covered with polyethylene, put in a warm place with diffused light.
- When the first shoots appear, the covering material is removed.
- 2 weeks before planting on open ground, young shoots begin to harden: they are left on the veranda with an open window, and taken out for 15 - 30 minutes outside.
- Comprehensive organic approvals must be added to the prepared well before planting.
- The distance between neighboring plants planted in open ground should be at least half a meter so that there is room for the growth and development of side shoots.
- If the average daily temperature is below 15 degrees, the seedlings are protected with a covering material.
Important! Saplings of the Red Riding Hood variety do not dive.
Despite the fact that the variety is unpretentious, the pumpkin responds well to the introduction of complex fertilizers. Shoots, foliage and fruits of the plant develop best on a "dung bed": 10 square meters. m of soil, 50 kg of mullein are introduced. Organic fertilizing during the flowering period is mandatory.
For the Red Riding Hood variety, timely high-quality watering is desirable, as the soil dries. It is preferable to use warm, settled water. With a lack of moisture, the lashes of the culture become thinner, the leaves turn yellow, the ovaries dry out, fall off, and the fruits are bitter, too small, pale.
If you want to create a hedge or a green wall for the Red Riding Hood pumpkin, you need to provide a stable support. To do this, use wooden, metal, plastic trellises. In addition, whips are thrown over fences, walls, or verandah bars.
To stimulate the growth of lateral processes, the main lash is pinched when its length reaches 1 m. This procedure is mandatory to obtain a decorative look of a pumpkin bush.
Ripe fruits are harvested at the end of August - September, when the stalk becomes stiff, brown and hard.
For storage for decorative purposes, the pumpkin is washed in a baking soda solution or rubbed with alcohol, placed in a warm, well-ventilated room. The seeds are not removed. After about 1 - 2 months, Little Red Riding Hood will be suitable for creating compositions.
Decorative pumpkin variety Red Riding Hood is an unusual decoration for a personal plot. Curly lashes with dense foliage and miniature mushroom fruits will decorate a veranda, arch or gazebo, disguise an unsightly wall or fence. Pumpkin belongs to unpretentious crops, grows quickly, is not susceptible to drought and frost. In addition, the young fruits of the pumpkin Little Red Riding Hood will help diversify the diet and get a portion of the necessary vitamins, and the ripe fruits will decorate the house.
Lapteva Olga Nikolaevna, 38 years old, Samara
Last year, for the first time we bought seeds of ornamental pumpkin. We chose the Red Riding Hood variety. There were 3 seeds in the package. They planted it immediately on the site at the end of May, did not start to deal with seedlings. The place was not chosen on purpose: where it was free (near the fence), it was sown there. The seeds sprouted quickly, after a month and a half the whips had already closed the fence. They did not expect a big harvest, they did not take much care: they planted it for beauty. As a result, we collected 12, 15 and 17 pumpkins. Everything, like a selection, looks like mushrooms: the caps are red, with green veins, the legs are light beige. All the neighbors were surprised, asked to share the seeds.
Ivleva Maria Petrovna, 65 years old, Volgograd
For many years, every year I have been planting the Red Riding Hood pumpkin in my dacha. I really like the taste of it. The main thing is to have time to collect the pumpkin on time, while their skin is soft. The pulp is sweet, crumbly, sugary: I add it to salad, carcass, make pumpkin pies. If the pumpkin outgrows it is also okay. I distribute it to relatives, friends, neighbors. The grandchildren build handicrafts from pumpkins, wear them to school.