Every fall, people head to the pumpkin patch to select the perfect pumpkins for carving that spooky face. Save yourself the drive and grow your own pumpkins. A pumpkin patch is an attractive addition to a home garden and it gives the kids something to get excited about when they return to school. Here are some tips for growing the best pumpkins to use in and around your home.
You will need:
• Pumpkin seeds
• Nail file
• Warm water
• Sealable plastic bag
• Soil thermometer
• Garden hoe
• Pruning shears
• Garden gloves
• Artist brush
• Water hose
• Lightweight garden covering
Step 1: To have your pumpkins ready by Halloween, plant seeds in the early or middle parts of summer. Pumpkins like full sun but also do well in partial shade. Select a spot that features plenty of room for the vines to grow.
Step 2: Use the nail file to file edges of each pumpkin seed, leaving the pointed end as-is. Filing allows moisture to get into the seed more easily and enables leaves to burst forth without getting damaged.
Step 3: Assist with germination by filling a jar with warm water and placing the seeds in it for one or two hours. Drain the water and put the seeds into a plastic bag, then seal it.
Step 4: Plant pumpkin seeds in hills, similar to planting squash. Three feet are required around each bush type plant. Provide eight to ten feet around vine style plants. Take the temperature of the soil by inserting the soil thermometer in the ground. Find a spot where the temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
Step 5: Create hills ten feet apart with the garden hoe. Dig a pocket within the center of each hill and drop three or four seeds about one-inch deep into the pocket. Firm soil over the seeds and mist the hills with a garden hose on fine spray setting.
Step 6: Installing lightweight garden covering provides protection and increases growing temperatures. You can remove the covering when the plants begin blooming.
Step 7: Keep soil evenly moist, applying about one inch of water weekly. Keep the water off the pumpkin leaves by lightly watering the mounds in early morning. Ensure that soil is moist down at least six inches, checking with your finger.
Step 8: Bees are crucial to pumpkins because they pollinate blossoms. In order for a pumpkin to grow, female flowers, which have a swollen base, must be pollinated. If bees do not naturally appear, put on the garden gloves and use an artist brush to self-pollinate. Gather pollen from the male flower by brushing it. Apply the pollen to the center of the female flower with the brush. The flowers will be open for just half the day for you to do this, usually during morning.
Step 9: Dress the vines a week after blossoms begin appearing, spreading fertilizer close to the plants. Garden covering can be replaced after three or four pumpkins have appeared and the vines have been thinned with the pruning shears. For the largest pumpkins, thin to one or two plants in each hill and allow only one pumpkin to mature on each vine.