Starting, Growing and Harvesting Pumpkins From The Home Veggie Garden
Growing pumpkins for Halloween or Thanksgiving pies is pretty basic
Remember that this is just a big squash plant and you'll be fine.
For good size fruit, start the seed indoors in 4 inch pots in the first
week of May. Plant 2 seeds per pot and thin to the most vigorous. Keep
the soil temperatures at 70F to germinate and then grow on at 60F for
thick sturdy stems. Feed lightly with half strength fish food emulsion
on a weekly basis.
Transplant into a sunny spot leaving approximately five to eight feet
between plants. A big pumpkin will require a 15 foot diameter circle to
grow in. Never let them wilt or stop growing as this will check the
size of the fruit. They love compost so you can overfeed them. In the
spring before planting, work as much as you can into the basic planting
area and then be prepared for a weekly fish emulsion and/or compost tea
feeding every week during the growing season.
Pumpkin 'Borde Galeux d'Eysines a very warty heirloom pumpkin with amazing firm flesh and great taste
Don't Wet Leaves
Try not to wet the leaves when you water this plant; you may run into
mildew problems if the leaves are kept wet.
A pumpkin will keep producing fruit right up to frost because it
produces both male and female flowers on each vine. If you want really
large fruit, the trick is to wait until you see the fruit reaching the
size of baseballs on regular plants (volleyballs on giant varieties)
and then leave only three fruit closest to the vine planting spot –
cutting off any fruit that are developed further out on the vines. Do
not disturb the leaves, we need them to produce energy for the main
plant and the three fruit you'll leave. If you want to produce the
biggest fruit possible, only leave one pumpkin on each vine. Remove all
flowers as they grow and prune off any fruit you miss.
Harvest the fruit when the skins are bright orange and hard. Do harvest
before a hard frost as this will degrade the skin and it will start to
rot. If there is no hard frost, the fruit can be left on the vine right
up to Halloween.
Leave a few inches of stem on the pumpkin if you're going to try to
If you are not interested in huge pumpkins, then you can direct sow the
seed at the end of May when the ground warms up. Plant two seeds to the
foot and thin out to one plant (the strongest) every two feet apart in
the row. If you are growing in hills of four to five feet in diameter,
go with two plants per hill. Grow them as above for good success.
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