Tips for planting pumpkin seeds
Planting Pumpkin Seeds
Want to carve a homegrown pumpkin next Halloween? Whether you want to create a jack-o-lantern or enjoy pumpkin pie, growing a pumpkin patch is the first step. Planting pumpkin seeds is not difficult, but there are some important guidelines to follow. For perfect pumpkin results, read through the steps listed below. Then enjoy the rewards of this year's harvest.
Getting Started Before planting the seeds, you'll need to decide which type of pumpkin you want to grow. Pumpkins come in a variety of colors and sizes. The kind that appears around Halloween is known as the Connecticut Field Pumpkin. These pumpkins weigh between ten and twenty pounds and are bright orange when ripe. However, the Connecticut Field Pumpkin is not very sweet for eating. If you are interested in miniature pumpkins, sweet-tasting ones, or giant pumpkins, ask for help at your local garden shop. You may want to plant seeds from last year's pumpkins. If you do this, be sure that the seeds have been air-dried, and not dried in the oven.
Planting the Pumpkins Choose a spot for your pumpkins where they will receive plenty of sunlight. Pumpkins thrive in sunny conditions, so try to place them in a spot where they will receive at least six hours of sunlight a day. Weather conditions are right for planting when the daytime temperatures reach the low 70s. Be careful to avoid frost; if you live in a cooler climate, you may consider planting the seeds indoors at first. To plant the seeds, form small hills of dirt about three feet in diameter. Place four to five seeds in the middle of the hill, keeping them about six to eight inches apart. Cover them with at least an inch of soil. Give them plenty of water at the time of planting. You might want to give them fertilizer for an extra boost. Most varieties of pumpkins grow well in soil rich with nutrients.
Growing the Pumpkins The vines on pumpkins tend to sprawl out in many directions. A single vine can grow as long as thirty feet! You can prune the vines to keep the plant from taking over your whole garden. Or you can redirect them as they grow to spare your other plants. Most pumpkin plants need an inch or two of water each week. When the pumpkins begin to form, place a board under each one. This will prevent them from rotting. To keep the pumpkin round, rotate it occasionally. This will help it retain its shape as it develops.
Although the color varies from type to type, most pumpkins are ready to be harvested when they turn deep orange in color. Their vines will be shriveled and the leaves tattered. When you cut them off of the vine, leave a few inches of stem. Let the pumpkins dry in the sun for a number of days. Make sure that they are not hit with a frost. Store the pumpkins in a cool, dry place. Planting pumpkin seeds can provide a great addition to your garden. By pruning them and keeping the vines under control, you will make an orderly pumpkin patch. Other plants, such as corn, beans and radishes, grow well near pumpkins.
If you are considering planting pumpkin seeds, first choose the type of pumpkin that you want to grow. There are plenty of kinds available, ranging from miniature pumpkins to varieties that grow to be fifty pounds. With the proper planting and care, you can grow a pumpkin patch this year. At harvest time, invite your family and friends over to marvel at the round orange treats.