Pumpkin Time in Pops!

Pumpkins and people of all shapes and sizes participated in the inaugural Pumpkin Competition hosted by the Mpophomeni Conservation Group in the Community Garden recently. Nkululeko Mdladla compiled this account of the day.

rr pumpkin mpop may 2015 049

The first ever pumpkin competition in Mpophomeni was held on a beautiful autumn afternoon. Ntombenhle Mtambo was so happy to see all the competitors coming with their pumpkins to enter the competition – she had this amazing smile on her face as she welcomed them.

r pumpkin on head 040

I have never heard of such a competition before.  Money is not always a prize – today the prizes were organic fertiliser, seeds, frost protection and flower pots to grow their seeds in, sponsored by Hopewells Supplies and TWK in Howick.

r pumpkin comp 056

Lucia Buthelezi, who not only grows vegetables in her garden, but is also part of Silungiseleni Senior Citizen Project, won the prize for the tastiest looking pumpkin. She commented “I just came from church, hungry and tired but I did not allow my hungriness to stop me from coming to this competition that I heard about. I went home picked up my pumpkin and came to see this lovely garden.”

r pumpkin journey of water 098

Ntombenhle gave everyone a tour of the garden, showing them the permaculture way of doing things. “I heard that the Mpophomeni Conservation Group go house to house doing gardens, please come to my house also,” pleaded Lucia, “what you are doing is amazing.”

r pumpkin tasting nasturtiums 101

Sihle Ngcobo, who brought along his Gogo’s pumpkin, laughed “I am very happy that I have also won something.  When I saw other pumpkins they were very huge compared to mine, and I thought I do not stand a chance. I even thought of going back home with my little pumpkin. I am happy to win the prize of weirdest pumpkin, next year I am taking the largest pumpkin prize.”

r pump weird mpop may 2015 066

Jabulani Nene was one of the judges. “I thought Ester’s pumpkin was the most beautiful. It was round and orange.” he said, adding “This was a very good event for our community. I think this garden is amazing and now I am thinking of starting one at home.”

r pump mpop may 2015 061

Winners in the various categories were (from left): Nokuthula Mjwara for the biggest, Lucia Buthelezi for the tastiest looking, Ester Ntuli for the most beautiful,  Tutu Zuma for the funniest (held here by Sbonelo Zuma), Sihle Ngcobo for the weirdest (and least likely to be edible!), Khetelo Mtambo for the smallest.

r pumpkin wnners 081

Hloni Sikhakane came out from Howick for the event and got stuck in helping to water plants and harvest veggies. “This is the first time I have been in a garden like this. It is wonderful, I am really enjoying it and would like to be part of MCG.” She took home an armful of fresh produce.

r pumpkin hloni

Lucia Buthelezi was absolutely delighted with her prize “I have never had my own compost or pots, I should have brought my other pumpkins too!” Everyone went home with some garden produce too – spinach, cabbage and brinjals.

r pumpkin comp with Thulani 009

“It was a fun filled day. I was very happy to see all the competitors excited about their prizes,” said Lindiwe Mkhize of MCG. Penz Malinga, who initiated and organised the event added “I was so pleased that the Gogo’s, teenagers and even a four year old entered the competition. Many passers-by were wishing they had not already feasted on the pumpkins they had grown.”

r pump tutu

I was very happy to spend my Sunday afternoon in the garden, at the competition. I hope there will another pumpkin harvest day next year, with even more people entering.

r pump mpop may 2015 071

MCG plan more events like this one to celebrate good home grown food. On August 14th Winter’s Best Produce, and on January 8th Summer Greens and an Imifino cooking contest.

r i love veg mpop may 2015 045

If you get your cabbages and beetroot planted soon they will definitely be ready for the Winter Celebration. Don’t delay, get out in the garden today!

4 thoughts on “Pumpkin Time in Pops!

  1. Brilliant encouragement. It has been a stimulation in village-life from way back – in my schooldays, I read about the vegetable competitions which were a highlight of English Life – and even the Pig Raising competitions made waves each year and caused a lot of spirited local activity – read P.G.Wodehouse, and Bertie’s exploits, for a detailed description


  2. I love it!! Keep up these fantastic events as they bring an instant smile to all. It’s great to hear good news and positive stories.


  3. What a wonderful idea Penz, well done! And what a great response from the growers of large, small & funny pumpkins and appreciating good eating habits! Such a happy blog. It has left me smiling – thanks! Liz


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s