Pumpkins are one of the easiest vegetable to grow either in garden or in a container. The best part about growing pumpkins is, you can use them in many ways like you can pickle them or bake them or even decorate your home with on Halloween.
However, they do not require long growing season, so you can plant them by late may in northern location to early June in extremely southern states. Check out different ways of growing pumpkins as well as how to care them, how to harvest and store them in this article.
Varieties Of Pumpkins To Plant:
They are different varieties of pumpkins which comes in different sizes and the larger the pumpkin the more time it will take to reach its full growth. Additionally, larger pumpkins will have larger vines too.
Have a look on some varieties of pumpkins listed below:
- Large Pumpkins:
Generally, large pumpkins range from 15-20 pounds and are great for Halloween. The most popular varieties include big tom, happy jack, Cinderella and jump kin jack.
- Medium Pumpkins:
Medium pumpkins range from eight to 10 pounds and they can be used for baking, decorating etc. the most popular varieties include autumn gold, jack o latern.
- Small Pumpkins:
Small pumpkins range from two to five pounds and often used in baking. The most popular varieties include small sugar, baby bear, and baby pam.
How To Plant Pumpkins:
For growing pumpkins, you must aware of two things. Firstly pumpkins require more than 75 days to grow completely and maintain ideal temperature of 70-95 degree Fahrenheit. Secondly, they need plenty of room and full sun while growing, because their vines can reach anywhere from 50-100 feet per plant.
- Planting Pumpkins In A Row:
If you have a great garden to fill up the space, then pumpkins are great choice. It’s always best to grow pumpkins from seeds and if you live in colder climates start them indoors a month before the last spring frost.
When you plant the pumpkin, transplant them in a row and make sure they are foot apart from each other. When the plants reach to three inches, then you’ll begin to thin them out. You should have one plant in every three feet in a row and use scissors to cut down the other plants.
- Planting Pumpkins In a Container Or Bucket:
This method works perfect for the people who don’t have enough space but love to grow pumpkins. Take a container or a bucket which is wide enough and make sure they have drainage holes in the bottom.
Fill them with nutrient rich soil which is well drained, when the soil is in the place transplant your pumpkin plant or sow seeds in the dirt.
One 10 gallon container or bucket can hold two transplants and if they are seeds, plant 4 one inch deep in the soil. When the plant reaches to three inches tall, cut off two plants using scissors.
Caring For Pumpkin Plants:
Pumpkin needs ton of water, so water them once in a week and make sure the roots of the plants are thoroughly watered. Water them only on sunny days and avoid the foliage of the pumpkin plant or pumpkins themselves being wet for longer time’s results in root rot.
Mulching is quite important to grow healthy pumpkins. Placing mulch around the plants will keep weeds at bay and also makes it easier for the plant to retain moisture.
Pumpkins are heavy feeders, so when the pumpkins reach a foot it’s vital to give them a boost of fertilizer which is high in nitrogen. However, right before the pumpkins begin to blossom you should apply liquid fertilizer which is high in phosphorous for healthy harvest.
Don’t be afraid to prune the vines of the pumpkin, but be sure the vines you’re pruning already have pumpkins. When you prune the vines, it means you’re stopping energy from going in to vine growth towards the fruit.
- Place A Cardboard:
In the growing stage after producing, the pumpkins are grounded because of their weight. So place a cardboard under the pumpkin as it grows, it can stop moisture from coming in direct contact with pumpkin from the ground.
- Invite Pollinators In To Your Garden:
Pumpkins produce both male and female flowers, so planting lot of plants and flowers bees love around your property will help in pollinating.
Pests and Diseases Of Pumpkins:
- Powdery Mildew
- Squash bugs and cucumber beetles
Harvesting And Storing Pumpkins:
- Harvest pumpkins when they are mature and do not pick them off from the vines until they reached to desired size and shape.
- Pumpkin is ripening when its skin turning in to deep solid color. When you thump the pumpkin with finger or just press your nail in to pumpkin if it resists puncture then it is ripe.
- Harvest pumpkins on a dry day after the plants died back and the skins are hard. To harvest them, cut the fruit from the vine carefully with a sharp knife or scissor and handle them gently.
- Pumpkins need to be cured in the sun for about a week to toughen the skin, then store it in a cool, dry bed room or cellar which is around 55 degree Fahrenheit.
- You can save the seeds which can last more than 6 years.