Pumpkin, the name closely associated with Halloween, refers to a gourd-like squash of the genus Cucurbita. Pumpkins are believed to have originated in North America, though no concrete evidence is available regarding the same. However, pumpkin-related seeds, the oldest evidence of their existence, have been found in Mexico, dating back to somewhere between 7000 and 5500 BC. One of the best qualities of pumpkin is that it can be used in a variety of dishes, right from pies to cheesecake to soup. Apart from that, it can also be carved into outrageous faces, especially for Halloween. In the following lines, we have provided some tips that will help you in planting pumpkins.
How to Plant Pumpkins
- Bypass Pruners
- Compost Makers
- Floating Row Covers
- Garden Spades
- Garden Trowels
- Pumpkin Seeds Or Seedlings
- Seaweed Extract
- You can either buy pumpkin plants from the local nursery or grow the seeds indoors. In the latter case, start at least three weeks before the last expected frost.
- You can also plant pumpkin seeds directly in the garden, after the soil temperature reaches 60 degrees F.
- Next, you need to decide on the area in which you will plant pumpkin. The particular site should get full sun and have soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8.
- Pumpkin plants require soil that is light and rich and at the same time, drains well. In order to get the right combination, add in large amounts of compost and well-cured manure to the soil.
- Till the pumpkin patches, making sure that they are deep and wide. This is because, in case of pumpkins, the roots and vines can spread as far as 15 feet, in all directions.
- When you feel that there is no danger of frost, transfer the sapling to the garden.
- Plant the saplings in hills, while making sure to set them at least at the same depth as they had in the pots. As for the spacing, the general requirement is 5 feet between plants, in each direction.
- Once plants are established in the soil, it is time to mulch them with organic matter. This helps conserve moisture and also deters weeds.
- In order to protect the plants from chilly winds, make use of cloches or floating row covers.
- As far as watering is concerned, give plants 1 to 2 inches of water a week, especially when they're blooming and setting fruit.
- Every 2 to 3 weeks, feed the plants with compost tea or seaweed extract.
- Once fruits start appearing, pinch back the vines. This will limit their growth.
- Every once in a while, rotate the pumpkins. This will ensure that they remain symmetrical. However, move them only a little at a time, so as to avoid breaking the brittle vines.
- In order to prevent rotting of large pumpkins, place boards under them.
- After the vines have shriveled and died, harvest orange pumpkins. This should be done before the first hard freeze.
- White pumpkins should be harvested when their skins are still streaked with green.