How to Grow Pumpkins

Grow your own pumpkins to the peak of perfection, then harvest and store them for use in autumn and winter.

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Pumpkins Mature All Summer DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

When to Start: spring
At Their Best: autumn and winter
Time to Complete: 30 minutes to sow; 1 hour to plant

Materials Needed:

  • pumpkin and squash seeds
  • seed soil mix and small pots
  • organic matter such as finished compost
  • straw

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.

Mulching a Pumpkin PlantEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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.

Water Reservoir for Pumpkin PlantsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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.

Lady Pumpkin FlowerEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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