Growin’ Pumpkin

Family name: Cucurbits

Vegetables that belong to this family are cucumber, courgette and marrow, squash and pumpkin. All these can be grown in the same way. This family is quite amazing in producing large (sometimes price winning) vegetables, so they are great fun for beginners.

Soil, sowing and planting

Pumpkins like a neutral soil (pH 6.5) and need a lot of nutrients, therefore they grow best on a compost heap.

Since pumpkins can grow quite big in a short amount of time, it’s advisable to put the seeds into pots right away, instead of modules. When you plant the seed it’s important to put the seed in the ground with it’s flat side not upwards, but to each side, so the pointy part of the seeds sticks up to the sky. This is because the water otherwise will gather on top of the flat side of the seed, causing it to rot beneath the earth. The pumpkin plants can be planted out when it has four leaves. Make sure you harden them off properly before placing them outside permanently. Pumpkins need to be planted 80 cm apart from each other.

Pumpkins can be sown from May onwards, after the last frost is over.

Harvest

As soon as small pumpkins develop on the plant, place a small, flat stone under the pumpkin to prevent it from rotting. They can take a month and a half to swell in some climates. The color of the pumpkin is not a good indicator for the ripeness of the fruit. Therefore wait until the first cold spell arrives and harvest straight away. Make sure the pumpkins don’t get hit by frost. Pumpkins store really amazingly. Some varieties can even be stored up to two years.

Pests and diseases

Pumpkins can be plagued by mildew, which is a fungus. The best way to treat this is to take the effected leaves from the plant and burn them.

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