Let’s learn how to grow pumpkins
When I was young, the age where you learn A for apple, K for kings, and P for pumpkins, I came across some green pumpkins under the sprawling vines with flowers in my Grandmother’s garden.
I wanted to harvest green mini pumpkins before turning them into a giant yellow pumpkin. My sweet grandma plucked a pumpkin from the long vines and I placed the pumpkin on my head and marched towards grandma’s kitchen to make pumpkin pie.
The kitchen was filled with a few pumpkins hanging on the rope basket, some elongated shaped pumpkins above the unused dosa dhava, oddly watery pumpkin in the basket, and some wild giant pumpkins with ponytails near the window in the corner of the kitchen.
I hide my little green pumpkin under my shirt as soon as the monster giant pumpkins seem to attack with its white laser light.
‘Haha! You got the pumpkin belly before even tasting one’ exclaimed grandma. We both giggled. She made Pumpkin pie narrating the story of her pumpkin vines around the garden, where the pumpkin cried and cried for its food.
She provides them as they requested. That’s how the vine growth was incredible, producing miniature pumpkins, mini pumpkins, giant pumpkins, and lot more pumpkins.
Later on, having the feast of pumpkin pie, grandma took a magic box from the secret shelf in the kitchen. The box contained magic spelled ashes and pumpkin seeds. Do you want to hear the magic spell? It is ‘ pumpkin seeds, vines, flowers, pumpkins! Pumpkins!’.
With my super memory power, let me tell you my grandmother’s version of how to grow pumpkins.
Want to style your own Halloween pumpkins, which will be big suitable to get your head in there having big eyes, sharp teeth, and a little nose that grown from your garden? No worries, we got your back.
To have your giant pumpkin be ready on the Halloween month of October, get the carefully selected pumpkin seeds, good soil ready to sow in the growing season, mid-July.
Growing pumpkins is one kind of beautiful hobby. Let the pumpkins grow in your garden.
In this article, we help you to grow your pumpkins as native agriculturalists do. Without getting your plant attacked by the eaters- pumpkins pests like winter squash, animals, who might dig a hole before you make one with your sharp knife.
Let’s plant pumpkins and harvest pumpkins in great size, and have our jack o lanterns ready.
But before that, how about checking up on a few interesting pumpkin facts?
Facts About Pumpkins:
# This plant produces both male flowers (without the bulb-like structure near the stem) and female flowers (with a bulb-like structure near the stem). The male flowers happen to appear first.
# There are hundreds of species and varieties of pumpkins, from miniature pumpkins long pumpkins to sugar pumpkins.
# The amino acids in pumpkins will give you a good sleep.
# The antioxidants in pumpkins will help in the process of healing inflammation. Why wait! chew or drink your pumpkins.
# While we may think of pumpkin as a vegetable, it is, in reality, a fruit since it comes from the flowers of its plants.
# There are around 500 seeds in one pumpkin.
# The largest species of Pumpkins are the Atlantic Giants.
# One can eat up all the parts of a pumpkin, including the stem, leaves, skin, and flower. No part goes to waste.
# The orange color of the pumpkin is due to the presence of Beta Carotene. Once consumed from pumpkins, Beta Carotene converts into Vitamin A, which helps support our immune system and great for eye and skin health.
# Pumpkin seeds are nutritious as well. The seeds are low in calories and high in iron and protein content.
# Pumpkins were originally from Mexico and Central America.
# Today, pumpkins are cultivated and grown in all parts of the world except Antarctica.
# The state of Illinois is the biggest producer of pumpkins, growing over 12,000 acres of pumpkins annually.
# The title of “Pumpkin capital of the world” goes to Morton, Illinois.
# In the United States, over 1.5 billion pumpkins are grown on an average each year.
# The world’s heaviest pumpkin weighs 2,624 lbs. This gigantic wonder was grown by Belgian Mathias Willemijns in 2016.
# America’s favorite dessert is Pumpkin pie.
Before starting with your pumpkin growing session, take a look at a few FAQs to understand pumpkins better:
1. Which is the best pumpkin to plant?
As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of varieties of pumpkins. Depending on your space, you can decide which variety would be suitable to grow.
Pumpkins generally take a lot of space, and if you do have enough ample space in your garden, you can consider growing the pie variety or the ornament pumpkins.
However, if you have a much smaller space, you can go for either the Winter Luxury or the Long Island Cheese variety.
2. Is it difficult to grow pumpkins?
Some might say it is challenging to grow pumpkins because of the long growing season, but pumpkin plants are quite simple to look after and maintain once you get them going.
3. Which month is best for growing pumpkins?
One thing to remember about pumpkins is that- they like it HOT!
The best time would be from the end of May to the middle of June. They grow faster during the warm weather.
4. How long does it take to grow a pumpkin?
There are a wide variety of pumpkins. Vines start to bear fruits within 90-120 days.
5. How to make jack o lanterns?
Cut the stem part in a circle shape of your great pumpkin. Then with a spoon, clear the inner part of the pumpkin.
Choose a side to cut a face. After the cut, insert the lights or candles inside the pumpkin stomach. Your jack o lantern is ready.
Pumpkin Planting and Growing
Pumpkin vines and their nature
Pumpkins grow, spreading around the ground like a creeper. Pumpkins require full sun support till it attains their full maturity. If planted outdoors, you can see your happy pumpkins getting their sunbathe on a sunny day.
The larger leaves will make their larger meal with adequate sunlight and water. This plant needs to be kept hydrated. Overwatering will also lead to spoiling the plant.
The pumpkin should be cut with their stem attached, protecting them from getting spoiled and making their shelves longer, around seven months.
Growing pumpkins giant in size got a dwarf plan, growing pumpkins require:
Take a soil test. Fertile soil with a 6-6.8 soil ph is required. The land should be flat to get adequate sunlight and water. If the land is a slope, the water will run off, an unsuitable condition for its growth.
Don’t own flat land; try growing pumpkins in raised beds or heavy cardboard.
Add organic manure to the soil for better growth of the plants—organic mature like- cow dung, compost manure.
Buy a carefully selected organic pumpkin seeds packet to sow.
To warm up the soil, build a small mound, and in the center of the mound, place 2-3 pumpkin seeds about 3 inches deep.
Cover the seeds well with soil and water them after planting.
Controlling weed is a must-do step on the pumpkin seedlings stage. It can be controlled by mulching which is also a boom for keeping the soil moist.
For pest control, use neems solution or peppermint solution. It saves plants from pumpkin pests like squash bugs, squash vine borers, cucumber beetles, and winter squash.
Growing pumpkins need your help, a small haircut- remove the unhealthy vine and dead pumpkin leaves and find happy sprawling vines in your garden. And remove the vine, fruit, flowers affected by powdery mildew.
Manure till fruit-bearing:
Applying manure is important since pumpkin plants are heavy feeders. For manure, add Panchagavya after diluting water to the plants once a week. On the flowering stage, add ash around the plants to get potassium.
Once you find female blossoms, it’s time for pollination. More bees mean pollination. But this stage may fail to occur. Hand pollination would be the option to carry out.
Once you find plant-setting fruit and find pumpkins turning golden yellow in the vine, cut them with one inch of the stem with your sharp knife. The first pumpkin patch is always memorable.
Store the harvest pumpkins at room temperature.
To collect and preserve the seeds to grow pumpkins for the next cultivation, here are the steps to follow:
The best way to preserve seeds for next year is to watch this video to understand better.
Pumpkins grow in the vine; on that, leave the perfect pumpkin fruit in the vine. Let the pumpkin ripe in the vine itself.
After it gets fully ripened, carefully take the seeds on a sunny day or at a full sun time place the seeds spread in a sheet of paper or cotton cloth to get dried. In the early evening, take the dried seeds and place them at room temperature. Repeat this process for a couple of weeks or days until it gets dried.
Store them in a box or knot them in a cotton cloth. You can also add wood ashes and store them to preserve them.
Thus, your seed packet is ready to grow pumpkins in the next growing season, mid-May to mid-July.
Pumpkins 101 Nutrition benefits
Let us see the nutritional benefits of pumpkins and their parts.
They are rich in nutrition. Having or adding a spoon of pumpkin seeds in the desserts you made or on morning cereals will give you the needed antioxidants, zinc, magnesium, protein, healthy fat, and other clusters of nutrients.
Male pumpkin flowers:
The yellow pumpkin flowers are rich in vitamin B9, which will help in eye-sight and build strong bones. Dry the pumpkin flowers and powder them and consume them by adding in boiled water or milk
Rich in iron, calcium, fiber, and other effective nutrients. Improve immunity and digestion. A green soup in the early evening
Superfood pumpkins help weight loss as they contain more nutrition, holding fewer calories. A small number of pumpkins as juice, salad, or pie will fill your whole tummy.
The rich yellow-orange pumpkins are dense with potassium, which helps in keeping the blood pressure level low. If you are battling hypertension, battle with the weapon pumpkin and win.
Try making roasted pumpkins by slicing them. This snack won’t disappoint you like other fruit plants.
To make things simpler for you, here is a quick step by step guide on how to grow pumpkins:
#1. Plant the seeds:
Pumpkins like it hot, hence the seeds do not germinate well in the cold soil. This is why it is best to sow them indoors first.
For that, use a 9cm pot per seed, giving them ample space to grow.
#2. Make the soil ready
When planting the seeds, add moist compost to the pots. Try to use compost that contains perlite, and it will help the soil absorb maximum air and moisture.
#3. Time for germination
The next step is to place your pots in a bright sunny area. The temperature should be over 20°C for around 3-7 days.
#4. Take your seedlings outside
When the soil is no colder, and the frost has passed, it is time to plant your seedlings outside.
Build a small mound in your choice of garden soil, and plant the seed 1 inch deep.
#5. Raise off the ground
As your pumpkins start to grow, you might need to raise them off the ground to prevent them from damaging or rotting.
#6. Provide them the much-needed care
Pumpkins are thirsty and hungry plants, so feed them with high potassium liquids from time to time.
#7. Time to harvest
Right before you begin harvesting, check whether they are ready or not. They should be bright orange, and the vines and stems should be dried out.
Once it looks ready, take a pair of shears, cut through the stem, and leave out a few inches on the pumpkin.
After that, it is all about storage.
So, that’s it. This is how you grow pumpkins.
Harvest pumpkins and enjoy a pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, or pumpkin soup in your flavor. Try adding pumpkin seeds, pumpkin leaves, and pumpkin flowers to your meal as a food supplement.
Now you know how to grow pumpkins, so why are you waiting? Grow pumpkins in a fun way, make a peaceful fight with pests like winter squashes in the way of producing your baby pumpkins from danger, and even make jack o lanterns with your kids.
Happy Photoshoot in the field of vines and pumpkins will bloom happiness and makes it memorable.
Hurry up! And have pumpkins.