Summer is winding down, the kids are heading back to school and wisps of fall can be felt in the air. Warm days subside into golden evenings, the feeling of life settling down before the sleepiness of winter creeps in.
Who doesn’t love fall? It’s a season that’s a joy for gardening. The weather is cooler making time spent outdoors irresistible, not to mention there are so many yummy things you can plant in your garden!
Pumpkins are one such candidate. They are iconic when it comes to autumn and are used to celebrate the season in many ways. That’s why you should include this bright orange gourd in your garden!
From pumpkin decor for your yard to jack-o-lanterns on Halloween and delectable treats such as pumpkin pie and creamy soup, all you need is a pumpkin patch to transform your garden into an autumn wonderland. Here are our best tips for growing pumpkins!
Pumpkins need room
When you begin your pumpkin adventure, you’re going to want a spacious patch that gets full sunlight. Pumpkin vines can grow up to 20 feet long (if left to their own devices)! Make sure the patch will get at least 6 to 8 hours of sun per day. Plant your seeds from mid- May to mid- June and that there are at least 5 feet of space between each seed.
Pumpkins need water
We mean A LOT of water! But don’t go crazy raining buckets down upon your precious pumpkins. As part of the Cucurbit family, they are susceptible to certain mildews and fungus from too much moisture. You want to target the roots and avoid wetting the leaves as much as possible. Try to water them in the morning, so that way, if the leaves get wet then they have the remainder of the sunny day to dry before the cool night arrives.
Grow the perfect size
Do you want a giant pumpkin or a cute button pumpkin? For larger pumpkins, plan to only grow a handful instead of many. When they begin to grow, count 3 to 4 and then snip the remaining flowers off the vines to prohibit new gourds from forming.
For smaller pumpkins, snip the female blossoms off during the first 3 weeks of growth. The female flower has a more swollen base than the male flower.
How to harvest
You’ll want to harvest your beauties before the first major freeze. The pumpkins should be the same color across the patch with a hard rind that doesn’t dent. To prepare the rinds, cure the pumpkins for 8 to 10 days in an area that is relatively humid, then transfer them for storage in a cool, dry place.