How to Grow Pumpkins
Grow your own pumpkins to the peak of perfection, then harvest and store them for use in autumn and winter.
- Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
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When to Start: spring
At Their Best: autumn and winter
Time to Complete: 30 minutes to sow; 1 hour to plant
- pumpkin and squash seeds
- seed soil mix and small pots
- organic matter such as finished compost
Sow and Plant Out
Sow the seeds indoors in spring and keep frost-free until the weather warms. Choose a sunny spot, and enrich the soil with plenty of organic matter before planting. Mulch with straw to seal in moisture and to prevent the fruits lying on wet soil and rotting.
Make a Reservoir for Watering
Pumpkins, squash and zucchinis are thirsty plants that hate dry soil. Plant in a depression in the soil or make a ridge of soil up around them to create a well. Water will then pool around the plant roots and seep into the soil, rather than flowing away.
Harvest and Store
Cool weather can lead to the formation of male, nonfruiting flowers at first, but later female flowers will come. Pumpkins need a long summer to grow and ripen. They are ready to harvest when the stalk starts to crack. Cut with stalk intact, keep the large orange fruits dry for at least 10 days, then store in a cool, dry place.
Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited
Actually a vetch, this cool-weather crop matures in early summer, when other beans are just getting started.