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How To Grow Pumpkins

By on July 20, 2020 in Gardening with 0 Comments

I had a unique experience recently growing pumpkins. It took a bit of luck and preparation, but I ended up growing some pumpkins in the garden that the family loved.  This is what I learnt about how to grow pumpkins.

How to Grow Pumpkins

Preparing the garden beds for pumpkins

After moving into a new house that had no garden whatsoever, I decided to purchase raised garden beds. That was okay but I needed to fill them with good soil before I could plant anything.

Unfortunately I chose the wrong supplier to purchase the soil from, it was supposed to be good bedding soil with manure and sand already mixed into it. Well when it arrived, sure it had manure in it.

It was filled with great clumps that hadn’t been broken down and the sand content far exceeded the soil content. I was very disappointed and let the supplier know.

Preparing the soil for planting

To help try to improve the soil in the bed, I used to bury all my vegetable scraps into it.  This is a great trick, as the worms can do their magic and improve the soil.

I unknowingly had some Kent pumpkin seeds mixed in those vegetable scraps.  So after a period up popped a pumpkin plant. I was amazed at how quickly it grew and overflowed onto the lawn.  So for me how to grow pumpkins was a fluke initially, but then I started to work harder on them.

Then I noticed a pumpkin growing, so I nurtured it along until it was time to pick it. So we have been enjoying a home grown pumpkin.

Pumpkins aren’t vegetables

Strangely enough pumpkins aren’t classed as a vegetable, they are a fruit. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Pumpkins are such a versatile fruit that can be used from soup to desserts. They are high in vitamin A and helps your body maintain healthy skin. It is low in carbohydrates, with no saturated fat or cholesterol.

Dried pumpkin seeds are a healthy snack for the health conscious.

There are several varieties of pumpkins that are available. However be aware if you plant a pumpkin vine it will take over a lot of area in your back yard.

Seeds are able to be purchased from any hardware store that sells gardening supplies, or from a nursery.

Some pumpkins varieties include:

  • Kent
  • Queensland Blue
  • Golden Nugget
  • Butternut to name a few.

Sometimes you may have purchased from the supermarket or fruitier, a pumpkin that has a really lovely flavor and you can use the seed from it to grow your own.

growing pumpkins

How to grow pumpkins in your backyard

The planting schedule

Warm areas: Pumpkins can be grown all year round.

Temperate areas:  Make sure the frost season has passed before planting as they don’t like really cold weather.

Cool to cold areas: After the winter frosts have finished.

Pumpkin tips to remember

  • Pumpkins love rich soil with plenty of compost.
  • Plant in a sunny sheltered position.
  • Feed them with a good quality liquid feed about once a fortnight.

If you have the space in your back yard to grow more than one vine, them loosen the soil and form it into small hills. Plant a few seeds, maybe up to six spaced 3 to 4 inches apart.

Once they have sprouted up to around 5 to 6 inches in height, remove the weakest ones from the soil to allow the stronger plant to flourish, as the vine will need room to spread. Mulch the plants, with sugar cane mulch.

Pumpkin disease, watering and fertilizing

Pumpkin leaves are sensitive to disease if they are watered too often. When watering the plant always water close to the ground, as they are shallow rooted plants and require regular watering. Try not to put too much water on the leaves.

Fertilize the vine, maybe once or twice a month. Make sure you follow the instructions from the manufacturer of the fertilizer you use. Everyone has their favorite brand of fertilizer they like to use, and sometimes it depends on where you live as to what fertilizer suits the environment.

Powdery mildew is a disease that loves pumpkin leaves so treat it immediately with a fungicide that is safe for edible plants.

Wet soil will rot the fruit. Once the pumpkin begins to grow place a piece of untreated board underneath it to prevent rot setting in.

Pumpkins can take from 14 to 20 weeks to maturity, depending on the type of pumpkin. When they are ready to harvest the vine starts to wither. Leave a reasonable length of stalk on the pumpkin when you pick it. Allow the pumpkin to sit in the sun for a day or so to harden before using.

Pests and Companion planting with pumpkins

You can companion plant Sunflowers, Borage, Love age, Nasturtiums, Peas, Sweet Corn, Tansy and Lemon Balm near or with the pumpkins.

Pests:  Be on the lookout for aphids, slugs and snails.

Storing: Store your pumpkin in a well ventilated area. Heat will cause the pumpkin to age and rot quickly.

3 pumpkin recipes you can make

Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of cooked pumpkin mashed with 2 tablespoons butter and ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup castor sugar
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ large tin of Carnation Milk

Method

Mix all the ingredients, except the pumpkin together. Add the pumpkin and mix well

Place mixture into a pie dish and bake in a moderate oven (180 deg) for 45-50 minutes. When cooked and cooled, top with whipped cream and that is sweetened with icing sugar. Sprinkle nutmeg on top.

Pumpkin Scones

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup cold mashed pumpkin
  • 2 ¼ cups self-rising flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Method

Cream the butter and sugar together, ad the egg, then the pumpkin. Stir in the dry ingredients by hand.

Turn out onto a floured board. Press down lightly, cut into rounds.

Place on a heated tray and bake in an oven that has been heated to 225 – 250 ded.

Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  • 1 medium butternut pumpkin cut into wedges. Remove the seeds, but keep the skin on.
  • 1 sweet potato peeled and cut into wedges

Method

Place on a baking tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with 2 tablespoon oil. Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes or until soft.

While that is cooking, chop a large brown onion into small pieces.

Into the slow cooker put 1 litre of chicken stock, 2 tablespoons honey and the onion.

Remove the pumpkin and sweet potato from the oven. Remove the flesh from the pumpkin skin and add sweet potato and pumpkin flesh to the slow cooker.

Cook for 4 hours on low.

Blend mixture with a hand blender or food processor until smooth.

Serve with crusty bread and a dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle over finely chopped shallots.

You don’t have to let your pumpkins vines grow wild in your backyard, you can plant them in garden containers as well.  When it comes to how to grow pumpkins, it is really easy. Preparation is the key, but they are little effort once they are in the soil.

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About the Author

About the Author: Chris Carr is a well-travelled full-time writer. That loves spending time at home or in the garden. Chris regularly writes for several homes, garden and lifestyle blogs. Sharing what the best of what she's learnt along the way. .

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