How To Grow Pumpkins For Both Consuming And Decoration

There are only a few plants and vegetables which can be used for multiple things. I don’t mean the potatoes that can be cooked or fried, but vegetables which have actual different usages.

One such vegetable is our orange star of the day. I’ll show you how to grow pumpkins, so you can either carve them or make soup.

So, the whole process might seem familiar to some, and while it shares some actions with watermelons and squashes, it is different enough for me to write this article. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it simple, short and understandable, as always.

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Common Knowledge About Pumpkins

Pumpkin

Readers from all over the world will recognize this vegetable without a problem. Those of you from North America will recognize it as the inevitable part of celebrating the Thanksgiving and carving during Halloween, but still, there are some things which need to be said. Here they are.

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    Pumpkins originate from North America
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    The eldest ever found was in Mexico and dates between 7000 and 5500 BC
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    Its name comes from Greek πέπων (pepon) which means “large melon.”
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    Most significant cultivars can reach a weight of over 75lb
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    There aren’t particular demands when it comes to soil; it just needs good nutritive and draining features
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    Regarding sun, pumpkins will need a lot of it, although some shade can be tolerated
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    There’s a rock band called “The Smashing Pumpkins”

So, as we can see, this vegetable has an immersive influence all over the globe. Somehow, it fits even the name of the band, because I can’t imagine it being called “Hellish carrots”. Nonetheless, they are easy to grow overall, but there are some concerns you need to fulfill, to be successful.

Required Tools And Materials

Seeds

When it comes to tools, there aren’t any extravagant requirements here. Just the basic ones, which you already have in your shed. However, with materials, the story is somewhat different. But, let’s list all of them first, shall we?

  • Gloves
  • Seeds
  • Shovel
  • Fertilizer (two kinds, but more on that later)
  • Climbing trellis (not necessary)

These are all the tools and materials which are needed for successful growing of pumpkins. You will note that I have said about the trellis that it is not necessary. This is the case primarily because of your preference. You can do whatever you like, but I will describe that in more detail later.

Preparing The Soil

Prepare soil

As I said in my introduction, pumpkins love proper feeding and need a lot of it. Also, the sun is of utmost importance to them, so these two will have to be taken into consideration first.

When you think of where the pumpkins will grow, note that they need a lot of space. And I mean it, A LOT. Therefore, see which part of your garden will be able to provide you 50-100 square feet per plant.

The sun coverage is also essential, so in case you don’t know which part of the garden has the most of it, observe the area for a few days, to get the better picture. Also, while you are assessing sun coverage, see if the trellis would fit the landscape if you intend on using one.

Since pumpkins are heavy feeders, you will have to infuse several inches of compost and manure. Don’t save on this, since you can’t go wrong if you add some more. As of pH value, just take a look around you. If all other plants and vegetables are growing nicely, don’t bother measuring it with pH meter.

All of those preparations require a few weeks so that you can start as soon as the soil thaws. Naturally, you won’t start the seeds outdoors, but we will have to go a few weeks back in time.

Planting The Seeds

Seedling

In case that you are living in a warm area, where there are more than 80-100 frost-free days, you can sow the seeds directly to the soil. However, if not, you will have to start them indoors earlier, and transplant later.

The procedure on this one is rather simple. Take the trellis, and plant a seed or two per call and water daily. The temperature of the soil should be at least 70ºF. So, keep it warm, and water enough for the soil to be moist, but not damp. After about three or four weeks, you can transplant them to the garden, if the conditions are right.

As I said, pumpkins need a lot of space, so make sure that there is at least 5-8 feet spacing between seedlings. Right after moving, give the plants a generous watering, which will help them to overcome the transplantation shock.

This is when the decision has to be made. If you want to go with the trellis, keep in mind that you will have to provide support for very heavy fruits. There are several ways to deal with this, and the best ones are described in my article about growing watermelons in pots. Keep in mind that the construction has to be strong enough to carry a lot of weight.

Care, Pests, And Diseases

Pest

When it comes to caring about pumpkins, there are two factors to watch about; watering and fertilizing. The first one is rather simple. Provide at least an inch of water per week, and they should do fine. Also, adding mulch will prevent weeds and the loss of water due to evaporation.

Fertilizing is a bit more complicated, as you will need two kinds of nutrients. During growing season, accent those fertilizers rich in nitrogen. Just before the flowers appear, switch to those with higher phosphorus. This will provide the best results.

The most common diseases which attack the pumpkin are Powdery Mildew and Anthracnose. These two appear when the foliage is wet, so avoid this situation at all costs. Installing a dripping system might be the best solution.

As for pests, expect the usual; aphids, squash bugs, and cucumber beetles love to feast on lush vines and leaves. For squash bugs, plant nasturtium, and it will keep them away. Also, removing eggs by hand is the most effective way of disposing of them. This flower is also useful in repelling cucumber beetles, while aphids can be sprayed away with water.

Conclusion

So, we’re at the end. I hope that you enjoyed the ride and that you know how to grow pumpkins. If you decide to give them a go, keep in mind that every food you grow is far better than the one bought, so enjoy!

As always, if you have thoughts, opinions or ideas, feel free to share them in the comment section below.

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