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The Secrets to Growing Big Healthy Pumpkins

Author : Elizabeth Huston789
Publish Date : 2021-04-19 08:52:57
The Secrets to Growing Big Healthy Pumpkins

Growing your own pumpkins is really good fun. Watching the vines grow, flowers blossom and tiny little pumpkins form is really exciting. They require between 6 to 8 hours of sun light a day, rich soil improved with compost and lots of space or something to climb on. They are extremely easy to grow and can erupted out of your compost, without any help from you. The variety, well who knows, it depends on what you bought at the supermarket and what seeds went into the compost heap. They do have some querky traits and it can be very frustating when the vine is extremely healthy and you only get male flowers. It can also be extremely devasting if you think you are going to get a pumpkin to find it has dropped off. Why you ask yourself, what happened, what do I do wrong? My answer is - probably nothing. Pumpkins are notorious for not producing fruit.

Pumpkins belong to the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae which includes zucchini, water melon, rock melon, squash, cucumbers and gourds. The word pumpkin origninates from the word "pepon" which is Greek for "large melon" It is classified as a vine and need lots of room to grow. Pumpkins are monoecious which means having both male and female flowers on the same plant, so you only need one plant to produce fruit.

Preparing the soil

 

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Pumpkins like a soil pH bwtween 6 to 7.2. If your soil is on the acidic side then I suggest you add some gardeners lime and if it is on the high side - alkaline - then you can lower it by applying sulphur. To prepare the soil for pumpkins, I suggest you incorporate lots of compost and cow or sheep manure. A good handful of blood and bone plus potash will be beneficial. Pumpkins are an annual crop and need a rich organic soil, so that they can grow quickly and produce fruit before the winter cold sets in. The soil also needs to drain well and if your soil is clay, then I suggest you make a mound using a good quality loam. This will raise their roots up above the clay and bad drainage.

Siting your Pumpkin

Pumpkins need a lot of room and can smoother other plants if left unchecked. Now if you have a small garden and don't wish to be invaded by the trifid plants then I suggest growing them up next to a fence or shed or putting in some lattice and training the tendrils up that. The good point about tying them up is that it gets the fruit off the ground away from pests such as slugs and snails and diseases such as mildew. If space isn't a problem, then just let them wander. You will find you have a floating sea of large pumpkin leaves enveloping your garden. If they get into any mischief, just prune them back, it won't hurt them!

Propagating Pumpkins

The best time to plant pumpkin seeds is in spring, when the soil and air temperature is warming up. If starting them off in the vegetable patch, the soil temperature needs to be at least 20C for germination and the air temperature 22C. You can start them off in pots in a hot house if you like, but the garden soil still needs to be over 20C when you plant them out. They don't like the cold or frost.

When you plant the seed directly into the garden, make a mound about 1/2 metre wide and plant 3-4 seeds about 4-5cm deep. Depending on the warmth of the soil they should sprout within about 7-10 days. When the baby seedlings have between 4-6 leaves, pinch out the weakest plants, leaving the strongest ones. If you don't pinch out the weak ones, the mound will be over crowded and none of the pumpkins will thrive. If you don't want to disregard them, replant them somewhere else in the veggie patch.

Favourable conditions

Pumpkins are grown in summer, need between 70-120 days before they are ready to harvest and that is usually in early to mid autumn. Pumpkins like don't like scorching temperatures and will shut down and stop growing. They are shallow rooted, wilt easily and that is why it is important to prepare the soil with lots ofcompost and animal manure to help increase the water holding capacity of the soil. If the soil retains its water, then it is available to the plant to replace the moisture it is losing through its leaves. Pumpkins do not like being water stressed and don't like the flood and famine watering regime. It can cause them to split. They like nice even watering and the best time is in the morning. If you water at night and the leaves become wet, powdery mildew can set in. Pumpkins don't like wind and need to be protected from it. Heat and strong winds can cause woodiness which makes the pumpkin very unpleasant to eat. It is also thought that too much wind can cause scarring on the flesh.

The vine takes about 10 weeks before it starts producing flowers and the males are first. They are on long thin stems (called pedicels) and there are heaps more of them than females. If you peak inside the male flower you will find a long thin strucutre called the stamen which produces the pollen. The female flowers have a shorter pedicel and sit closer to the vine. If you peak inside the female flower you will see the stigma which is where the pollen is received. The ovary is at the base of the petals and is where the seeds develop.
Pumpkins are grown in summer, need between 70-120 days before they are ready to harvest and that is usually in early to mid autumn. Pumpkins like don't like scorching temperatures and will shut down and stop growing. They are shallow rooted, wilt easily and that is why it is important to prepare the soil with lots ofcompost and animal manure to help increase the water holding capacity of the soil. If the soil retains its water, then it is available to the plant to replace the moisture it is losing through its leaves. Pumpkins do not like being water stressed and don't like the flood and famine watering regime. It can cause them to split. They like nice even watering and the best time is in the morning. If you water at night and the leaves become wet, powdery mildew can set in. Pumpkins don't like wind and need to be protected from it. Heat and strong winds can cause woodiness which makes the pumpkin very unpleasant to eat. It is also thought that too much wind can cause scarring on the flesh.
 



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