Growing PumpkinsIt is that time of year to plant those pumpkins for fall harvest.

Linked is an interesting article from the Old Farmer’s Almanac; Growing Pumpkins – Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Pumpkins.

Below is a quick breakdown of the pumpkin varieties.
Miniature pumpkins:

‘Jack Be Little’ miniature pumpkin variety, perfect for a holiday table. Vine variety. Days to maturity: 90 to 100 days. ‘We-B-Little’ is an All-America Selection winner, and ‘Munchkin’ is another great miniature pumpkin. Miniature pumpkins are very productive and easy to grow, sometimes producing up to a dozen fruits per plant.

Pumpkins for carving:

‘Autumn Gold’ great for carving, decorating. All-America Selection winner. Vine variety. Excellent for Jack-o-Lanterns. Days to maturity are generally 100 to 120 days.

Giant pumpkins:

‘Dill’s Atlantic Giant’ jumbo variety can grow to 200 pounds. Great for those who want to grow a giant pumpkin. Vine will spread to 25 feet, so space is a must. Days to maturity are 130 to 160 days, so plant early! Thin to the best one or two plants. Feed heavily but keep cultivation shallow. Remove first 2 or 3 female flowers after the plants start to bloom so that the plants grow larger with more leaf surface before setting fruit. Allow a single fruit to develop and pick off all female flowers that develop after this fruit has set on the plant. Take care that the vine doesn’t root down near the joints to avoid breakage.

Perfect pumpkins for pies:

‘Sugar Treat’ semi-bush hybrid. Ideal for cooking and baking. Days to maturity are generally 100 to 120 days. ‘Hijinks’ and ‘Baby Bear’ are both All-America Selection winners and have sweet flesh for pumpkin pie. ‘Cinderella’s Carriage’ is also perfect for pies or soups. ‘Peanut Pumpkin’ also produces very sweet flesh and can be great in pumpkin pie or pumpkin puree.

Pumpkin Growers

Many pumpkin growers I’ve talked to in the last couple of years like the lawn and garden test package.  (Cost $25.00 analysis and recommendations) It is a complete soil test which looks at your soil nutrients and gives pumpkin growers the information they need to help with appropriate fertilizer and nutrient application. Get your results in 3 days.

Also, I’ve also noticed that some pumpkin growers are also looking at plant tissue analysis by sending in pumpkin leaves for analysis of nitrogen levels to ensure pumpkins are getting the appropriate nutrients from the soil. (Cost $24.00 analysis and recommendations)

So what does it take to grow pumpkins? I found this article in the Farmer’s Almanac. Check out some, (I left out some tips) of these pumpkin tips in the Farmers Almanac.

  • Pumpkins do best when the seeds are directly planted in the ground.
  • Minimum soil temperature for germination is 70ºF.
  • Pick a site with full sun (to light shade).
  • Pumpkins are big greedy feeders. They prefer very rich soil that is well-drained and not too soggy.
  • Mix lots of compost and aged manure into the planting site before you sow seeds or transplant.
  • Select a site with lots of space for the sprawling vines. Vine varieties need 50 to 100 square feet per hill.
  • You can also grow pumpkins in big 5 to 10-gallon buckets! Or, try miniature varieties.
  • Plant the seeds 1 inch deep into the hills (4 to 5 seeds per hill). Space hills 4 to 8 feet apart.
  • When the plants are 2 to 3 inches tall; thin to 2 to 3 plants per hill by snipping off unwanted plants without disturbing the roots of the remaining ones.
  • Use row covers to protect plants early in the season and to prevent insect problems.
  • Pumpkins are very thirsty plants and need lots of water. Water one inch per week. Water deeply, especially during fruit set.
  • When watering: Try to keep foliage and fruit dry unless it’s a sunny day. Dampness will make rot more likely.
  • Add mulch around your pumpkins to keep in moisture, suppress weeds, and discourage pests.
  • Pumpkins need lots of nutrients. A regular treatment of manure or compost mixed with water will sustain good growth.
  • Fertilize on a regular basis. Use a high nitrogen formula in early plant growth.
  • Fertilize when plants are about one foot tall, just before vines begin to run.
  • Bees are essential for pollination, so be mindful when using insecticides to kill pests.
  • Gardeners who are looking for a “prize for size” pumpkin might select the two or three prime candidates and remove all other fruit and vines.

Picture Source: Pixabay