What is our fascination with the pumpkin? Perhaps it is the sign that autumn (fall) is coming. The pumpkin has been used all over the world for several things. The most common reason for planting pumpkins in America is to make pumpkin pie. Of course, a child might say they are for jack-o-lanterns. Other than pie, there are several other uses for pumpkins such as soup, cake and candies.
Some people debate about pumpkins; are they a vegetable or fruit? Actually a pumpkin is a fruit that belongs to the squash family. They have seeds that are ripened from the ovary of a flower; which makes it technically a fruit. This is similar to the argument had by those for tomatoes and cucumbers.
If someone wants to try planting pumpkins, it takes a certain process. Fortunately, it is not difficult and even children can enjoy raising their own pumpkin patch.
Finding The Perfect Pumpkin Planting Spot
Timing is everything when it comes to planting pumpkins and growing the best. First, make sure that the danger of frost has past. Pumpkin seeds can be planted right into the ground in warmer climates, so it is important to make sure the soil has warmed up for planting.
Pumpkins require lots of room to grow. When picking out a potential spot, make sure that there is plenty of room. There are two kind of pumpkins: the ones that bush and the ones that vine. Plant the seeds at least 8-12 feet apart. A pumpkin vine can grow up to 6 inches in one day; so one needs to make sure the growing space is adequate.
Before planting the seeds, many people suggest to file the end of the pumpkin seeds with a nail file. Experts also say to soak the seeds in warm water before planting. It is supposed to allow them to sprout faster. This is a matter of preference; but in order to grow bigger and better pumpkins, any little tips can help.
Planting Pumpkins From Seed
Now that the seeds are prepped, it is time to plant. Ensure that the bushing pumpkins have at least three feet between plants. The vining type needs at least eight feet of space.
Ground temperature must be at least 20-25°C (70-75°F) before pumpkins can be planted. Pumpkins can be temperamental and making sure the soil is warm enough will mean everything to success. Pumpkin seeds must be planted in little hills. This process of burying seeds in hills is similar to how squash is planted.
The next step is to dig little one -inch pockets into the hills. Make each pockets about a foot apart. Then, drop a few seeds into each pocket (the average farmer will plan 4-5 seeds). After all the seeds have been planted in this manner, then spritz the mounds with some water.
It is essential to water the pumpkin plants every day. The water needs to avoid the leaves, as this can cause them mold, disease and pest problems. It is best to water pumpkin plants early in the morning as opposed to late at night. This will allow the leaves to dry and moisture will be unable to sit through the night-time hours.
A Pumpkin is Born
As the pumpkin plant begins to grow, the vines will become quite large. Yellow blossoms will begin to appear on the vines. The vines require bees to pollinate them. They pollinate the female flower and that is what produces fruit. Male flowers will bloom first and have distinctive characteristics different than the female. The female flower arrives around 7-10 days after the male.
After the blossoms appear, it is now time to use fertilizer on them – the more the better. It may also be necessary to thin the vines. It will be obvious that some plants are producing fruit and others are not. Weed out the plants that are not producing fruit and pay attention to those that are. Continuing to water daily and keeping the vines in check should produce some of the best pumpkins in the neighbourhood. Planting pumpkins can be fun for the whole family.
When To Pick Pumpkins
You will know when the pumpkins have matured and are ripe for picking once the vine supporting it begins to die. It may be tempting to cut the pumpkins early but without the proper maturing they will tend to taste a little bitter without the development of their full sugars. When the vine begins to die it will herald the moment that it no longer provides sustenance to the growing pumpkins.