How to Grow Pumpkins

  Grow Pumpkins
Choose a site with plenty of space and full sun. If your garden area is limited, choose a location at the sunny edge of the garden so the vines grow toward the sun, away from your principal garden area. If growing in hills, plant 4-6 seeds per hill (note, "hill" is a term of art and refers simply to a circular sowing of seeds, not necessarily in raised soil) with 6-8" between hills. Thin to two or three plants after the seeds have germinated. If growing in rows, plant seeds 2-3" apart with 4-6" between rows. If planting seeds directly in the garden, the soil must be warm (70° F) or the seeds will not germinate.

If you plant your seeds in pots take care not to disturb the roots when you move them to the garden. Allow 2-3 weeks for the seedlings to grow to a transplantable size. If direct sowing, planting pumpkin seeds in the garden in early June will usually allow for a timely fall harvest.

Pumpkins are heavy feeders and need fertile soil and a steady supply of water throughout the season. Conditioning the soil with plenty of compost or manure before planting will provide the best results. For even better results, incorporate blood meal, bone meal and kelp meal in addition to the organic matter into the soil before you plant. Early in the season weed aggressively around the pumpkins to destroy as many weeds as possible. It will becomes difficult to get near the center of the plants as they grow.

Pumpkins and winter squash keep well if cut free of the vine just before a hard frost and cured in a warm spot for 10-14 days. That warm spot can be in the field where they are grown or a warm room if conditions require. When moving, handle with care and be certain not to carry using their handles! If storing for the winter, keep your pumpkins in a cool, well-ventilated space.

*This information also pertains to the growing and cultivation of winter squash.

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