Pumpkins always make me think of autumn, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. I love all these times of the year and look forward to harvesting pumpkin seeds for next year’s crop of pumpkins. My first experience with raising pumpkins didn’t turn out very well. I have since learned how to successfully get them to grow and thought I’d pass on 5 tips on growing pumpkins to you.
Pumpkins love sunshine and they need at least 6 hours of it each day. The seeds can be planted as soon as the days have temperatures up in the lower 70s. People who live in colder areas might need to start the seeds indoors first, in order to provide enough growing time for the plant. Most pumpkin plants need between 110 to 140 days to fully mature.
Pumpkin seeds are planted on little hills of dirt and each mound should be 10 feet apart. This will give the vines plenty of room to spread out and produce a lot of pumpkins. One vine can grow to be 30 feet long and the leaves on these vines are huge.
Pumpkins like rich soil, but it’s hard to know if yours is rich enough. Usually if there are weeds growing in the area you are thinking of planting your pumpkin seeds, then there is plenty of nutrients for a pumpkin plant to grow. Adding some fish emulsion to the soil can’t hurt either. It’s kind of stinky, but the pumpkin plant will love it.
80 to 90 percent of a pumpkin is water. This said; make sure to give your pumpkin plant plenty to drink. Once the leaves start to grow bigger, they will shade the ground along the vine and help conserve water for the plant. If you are planting pumpkin seeds in sandy soil, then they will need a lot more watering than soil with large amounts of clay.
Frost is one of the biggest hazards to a new pumpkin plant. It can be difficult to judge when the danger of frost has completely cleared, despite weather predictions. Besides frost, other pests of pumpkins include; moles, gophers, snails, beetles, aphids, and mildew. Depending on your pest, finding a remedy as quickly as possible is the best way to protect your plant.
While some people might be able to simply poke a pumpkin seed into the ground and have a successful plant emerge, I find that following these 5 tips is the best way to ensure that your plant will actually grow properly. Have you been successful with growing pumpkins? What do you think is the most important aspect of raising pumpkins that gardeners should know?
Top Photo Credit: Batikart
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