Must-Follow Steps When Growing Pumpkins
A pumpkin is a gourd-like squash, Cucurbita genus. This plant is a vine, and it spreads on a large surface, at times it may spread for up to 20 feet and hence you need ample room for to grow pumpkins.
Pumpkins are grown for different reasons. They may be used as food; to make desserts, in soups, in side dishes and some people use them to make beer, or for medicinal purposes.
They are nutritious and come with a lot of benefits as they have vitamins, minerals, and other healthy nutrients. These plants contain no saturated fats or cholesterol, but they are very rich in dietary fibers, anti-oxidants, and vitamins.
Due to its nutritious value, some people have begun planting them and below are some of the steps that you should follow to successfully plant pumpkins.
Where to Grow
Pumpkins belong to the gourd family and most varieties grow very large with trailing vines on which is where the fruits grow. The vines are not hardy and need a lot of sunshine and plenty of water in order for them to give you quality produces.
It is best to plant them where there is not a lot of wind as the vines are weak and may break in strong winds.
How to Grow Pumpkins from Seed
Plant your pumpkin seeds in hills, just the same way as squash or cucumber. For bush type variety pumpkins, you need 3 feet of spacing between each plant or hill.
And for the variety of vining, the ideal spacing is 8 to 10 feet between each plant. Vining pumpkins need a much larger space for them to spread.
Always check the temperature of your soil, especially with raised neds. You want soil temperatures of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 21.11 degrees Celsius.
It is easiest to build hills with a garden hoe and space the hills ten inches apart. After the hills, dig out a pocket at the center of each hill which is 1” deep. Then, drop 4 seeds and cover the seed with enough soil. Use a hosepipe to spray a mist all over the hills with water.
Water Requirements for Large Pumpkins
Pumpkins need a lot of water so, keep the soil moist all the time. However, make sure you don't water the leaves as they will get spoilt.
So, it is advisable not to use an overhead sprinkler. Rather use a garden hose equipped with a misting nozzle as this waters the mounds lightly.
Also, it is best to apply water early in the morning so that any excess moisture left on the leaves has time to dry. This is to avoid creating a conducive moist environment that promotes the development of pests and diseases.
How to Protect Your Pumpkins
Further, adding lightweight row covers increases growing temperatures and protects the pumpkins from pests, especially when your plants are small. These light covers allow water and light to penetrate through to the base of your plant to help keep the plant watered at all the time and the insects out.
When using covers to grow pumpkins, remove the covers immediately after the plants start to bloom so that the blooms may be pollinated.
Blooming and Pollination
After your plants have started blooming, your farm will attract a lot of bees as they help in pollination. If you see no bees in your garden after your plants have started flowering, you may employ self-pollination using an artist brush.
Note that each flower opens for just half a day and they commonly open in the morning hours after which they shut and reopens the next morning.