Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween. These hardy gourds make a great addition to your vegetable patch. And when the fall season comes along, you won’t need to buy pumpkins at the store to get carving for your Halloween display. From pumpkin pies to pumpkin soups – they’re versatile and delicious. But how do you grow them in your garden and what’s the right pumpkin planting time?
You can’t plant a pumpkin without seeds. You’ve got two options here: You can either remove seeds from a fresh pumpkin that you recently bought, or you could purchase seeds from a garden store. When you’re using store-bought seeds, there are lots of varieties to choose from. You can check online or get advice from the garden center staff about which one matches your needs best. For example, if you plan on carving pumpkins, you want to choose a variety like a Jack-o’-lantern.
If you’re reusing the seeds from a pumpkin you’ve recently carved, make sure that you rinse the seeds and separate them. Then allow them to air dry. You can store them in a dark, cool space until you’re ready to put them into the ground.
It’s usually safer to plant store-bought seeds as the chances of them turning out the way you want are higher than storing your own seeds.
You should pick a spot with plenty of sunlight and soil that won’t remain too wet after it rains. Remember that pumpkins are large vegetables which means it’s best to choose a location where there’s enough room for them to grow. Space out the seeds according to the recommendations listed on the packaging. For larger pumpkin varieties, it’s usually five feet, whereas smaller plants can go at a three-feet distance. Depending on the variety you choose it can take around 100 days for the pumpkins to grow. The best pumpkin planting time is between May and July. So, if you want them ready in time for Halloween, plant them during July.
Pumpkins are thirsty plants, but overwatering can quickly kill them. It’s best to water them regularly, especially during the summer months. About once a week should suffice, but you can water more often if the weather is very hot and the soil is dry. It’s best to water less when it rains. When you plant a pumpkin, adding fertilizer to your garden bed can also help your pumpkins grow faster.
Pumpkins take between 75 to 100 days to grow. You’ll know when the gourds are ready when they turn the desired color. They should be harvested before there’s any frost because the cold weather could damage the plant.
Common pests that love your pumpkins just as much as you do include beetles and borers. You can cover your crops with garden fabric when you plant them and them take off the cover once they start to flower. Some pumpkin varieties are more prone to mildew than others. It’s best to check for hardier varieties if that is a concern.
When it’s time to harvest and store your pumpkins, wear gloves because the vines are prickly. Use shears to cut them at the stem, but leave enough stem if you plan on carving the pumpkin for Halloween.
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