Spooky season is upon us, everywhere you look the leaves are yellowing and starting to fall, people have decorated their front gardens with witches, ghosts and the Halloween favourite – the pumpkin! And what better way to celebrate fall than to grow your own pumpkin plant and harvesting them next year. Pumpkins are a wonderful seasonal vegetable not only used to spice up your Halloween decor but also for scrumptious dishes straight from your kitchen.
Naturally, you would want your pumpkins to be ready in early October so knowing when to plant pumpkins is very important. There are many types of pumpkins available, some are particularly good for pumpkin pie whilst others are more suited to become jack-o-lanterns at Halloween.
We’ve put together a quick pumpkin profile for 5 different types of pumpkin commonly grown.
Different Types of Pumpkins
- Jack Of All Trades. Colour: Orange skin with pale orange flesh. Perfect For: Carving at Halloween
- Crown Prince. Colour: Grey skin with deep orange flesh. Perfect For: Eating – roasted or in soups
- Hundred Weight. Colour: Orange with deep orange flesh. Perfect For: Pumpkin pies
- Baby Boo. Colour: White with white flesh. Perfect For: Halloween decorations
- Fairytale. Colour: Orange with mahogany orange flesh. Perfect For Cooking – great in curries and roasted squash recipes
Whilst each pumpkin is grown slightly differently, this guide will teach you the basics of how to grow pumpkins of all varieties. For specifics please research your chosen seed carefully.
Growing pumpkins is incredibly rewarding, it is definitely worth the wait when Fall arrives to see such beautiful orange squash growing in your garden. Knowing how to grow pumpkins successfully can be difficult, this step-by-step guide will aim to cover all the need-to-know information surrounding pumpkin growing.
How to Plant Pumpkin Seeds?
The first thing to consider when growing pumpkins is when the best time to plant pumpkins is. Pumpkins are very sensitive to the cold and cannot survive frosts. So be sure to plant your pumpkins after the last hard frost has passed. We recommend planting your pumpkin plant between late May and early July to ensure your pumpkins are ready to harvest by Fall.
Step 1. Choosing Your Side
It is very important to ensure you sow your pumpkin seeds in a spot that has lots of access to sunlight, preferably the chosen location will be in full direct sunlight at least 10-12 hours per day.
Pumpkins also require a fair amount of space, so make sure you don’t sow your pumpkin seeds near other plants.
Step 2. Growing Pumpkins from Seeds
Firstly you need to make sure the soil is warm enough, add some compost or mulch to enrich the soil’s nutrients for better germination in your pumpkin plant. Plant 2-3 pumpkin seeds approximately 3cm deep and cover with plastic wrap for the first two weeks.
Once your pumpkin plant has germinated and seedlings have started to show, you can remove the plastic wrap and care for your pumpkin plant by watering regularly each week. If you see any fruits rotting, simply remove them and wait for more fruits to grow in their place.
It is best to remove a few of the smaller fruits if you are looking to harvest larger ones once Fall arrives. By removing smaller fruits you are allowing your plant to focus its energy on growing 1 or 2 larger fruits.
Although pumpkins are very thirsty plants, it is best to keep the fruits and vines as dry as possible, so be sure to water directly onto the soil.
Step 3. How & When to Harvest Pumpkins
Pumpkins usually take around 4 months to be ready for harvest so if you have planted your seeds in May/June then they will be perfectly ready by Fall. You can check your pumpkins are ready for harvest by listening for hollow sounds once tapped. The skin should be hard and the stem cracking.
Remove your fruits with a sharp knife or pruning shears, cutting around 10 cm of the stem to help your pumpkin survive longer out of the ground. Store your pumpkin in warm dry conditions.
Some of you may be wondering how to grow giant pumpkins, in order to do this, you must choose the correct type of pumpkin, follow the sowing and care guides for your pumpkin and regularly add mulch or fertiliser to really provide the optimum growing conditions for your pumpkin plant.
Growing Pumpkins in Containers
Whilst it is sometimes possible to start the growth in pots, growing pumpkins in containers is not advised. They love to spread out and eat up the soil, their vines are long and plenty of space is the best way to ensure you have a rich harvest by Fall.
So the top 3 things to remember when growing pumpkins are:
- Water (although be sure to protect your pumpkin from heavy rainfall!)
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