Grow Your Own Pumpkins

Pumpkins are actually pretty easy to grow on your own without too much of a green thumb. Luckily, pumpkins can grow in a variety of temperature conditions, so if you have a good-sized patch of land with full sunlight, you should be all set.

Take a look at the area you want to use before you plant. Pumpkins require a lot of space. Vines from a pumpkin plant can take over your whole garden, growing upwards of 20 feet in length. Be sure that you’ll have the room for thenumber of seeds you want—you’re going to need to plant the seeds with about five feet of space between each. Once you are confident that you have enough space, start working on the soil. Pumpkins are water- and nutrient- hungry, so the ground has to be well-tilled and have enough food for your crop. Compost or manure mixed into the soil will help ensure that your pumpkins will grow well.

Next, determine when you should plant your seeds.It is necessary to accommodate for their long growing season. It can take anywhere from 75-120 days for pumpkins to fully mature. That’s a long time! If you live in colder climes, you’ll have to wait till the danger of frost has passed and the soil is nice and warm.When in doubt, you can plant them indoors and transplant after the dangers of frost have passed. The more north you go, the earlier you should get the seeds in the ground. Farmer’s Almanac recommends by the end of May for eastern states, while the deep south can wait until around the 4th of July.

Once your pumpkins have started growing, they’ll need the same care as most other plants. Lots of sunlight, weeding, and watering. When you water, be sure to keep the leaves as dry as possible to avoid mold and rot. The easiest way to do this would be to water your pumpkins early in the day so that the leaves have time to dry in the sunlight if you get any of them wet. While pumpkins do require a lot of water, be sure not to overwater them, as this can also cause rotting.

First, you will see sprouts. Next come the flower blossoms. There are two types of flowers that will grow on your vines: the male flower, which is more narrow and attracts bees and other pollinators to the patch, and the female flower, which has a small bulb at the base. If your female flower is fertilized, it will begin to grow a pumpkin. If not, it will wither and die off. If you want to control how many pumpkins you get in your patch, you can keep an eye on the number of female flowers growing in your garden and ‘pinch off’ the female flowers after you reach your desired amount.

Then your pumpkins will start to grow. If you planted a traditional orange pumpkin, the color should be nice and deep. The vines will also start to wither away when the pumpkins are ripe. Of course, the best way to tell if your pumpkin is ripe is by checking to see how hard the shell is. If you can indent the skin of the pumpkin with a fingernail, it isn’t ready to be picked.

Once you’ve got your pumpkin picked, it is time to enjoy all your hard work! Carve it, paint it, turn it into a decoration, or use it as an ingredient in a nice fall recipe!