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How to Grow a Pumpkin

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Planting the Pumpkins

Plant your seeds in "hills." Build a small mound of dirt and plant the seed 1–2 inches (2.5–5.1 cm) deep. The hill helps improve soil drainage and allows the sun to heat the soil faster speeding up germination.

Plant 2 or 3 seeds within a few inches of one another in case one doesn't sprout for some reason.
It doesn't matter which end of the seeds points up. If the seeds are viable they will grow either way.

Plant pumpkins in widely spaced rows. If your pumpkin variety grows along creeping vines space the hills in the same row 12 ft (3.7 m) apart and space the rows 6 to 10 ft (1.8 to 3 m) apart depending on variety size. "Bush-type" varieties that grow on shorter vines need 8 ft (2.4 m) of space in all directions.

Cover the planted seeds with compost. If you composted the soil before planting you can skip this step. If not add a thin layer of compost or mulch in the areas where you planted seeds. The compost will help keep weeds out and nourish the seeds.
With proper care the pumpkin plants should sprout within about a week.

Preparing to Grow Pumpkins

Find out when to plant pumpkins in your region. Pumpkin seeds do not germinate in cold soil so they need to be planted after the chance of frost has passed. Plan to plant pumpkins in late spring or early summer for a fall harvest. Pumpkins typically take 95 to 120 days to mature.
If you celebrate Halloween and would like to have pumpkins in time for the holiday plant them in late July. If you want it in early July plant in early March.

Choose a planting spot and prepare the soil. Pumpkins grow on vines and need a good amount of space to thrive. Choose a place in your yard with the following qualities:

20 or 30 feet (6.1 or 9.1 m) of open space. Your pumpkin patch doesn't have to take up your whole yard. You can plant it along the side of your house or along the fence in your backyard.
Full sun. Don't choose a spot under a tree or in the shadow of a building. Make sure the pumpkins will get plenty of sun all day long.
Soil with good drainage. Clay-based soils don't absorb water quickly and aren't as conducive to growing pumpkins. Choose a spot that doesn't have standing water after heavy rains.
To give the pumpkins an extra boost prepare your soil beforehand by composting it. Dig large holes where you plan to plant the pumpkins and fill them with a compost mixture one week before planting.

Choose pumpkin seeds. Go to your local nursery or order seeds from a catalog to use in your pumpkin patch.

There are many different varieties of pumpkins but for the home grower's purposes they fall into three main categories:

Pie pumpkins which are meant to be eaten.
Large decorative pumpkins that can be carved into jack o'lanterns. The seeds in these pumpkins are edible but the flesh is not flavorful.
Small decorative pumpkins often called mini pumpkins.

Harvesting the Pumpkins

Check to see if the pumpkins are ready. The pumpkins should be bright orange in colour (depending on the species) with a hard shell. Their stems and often the vine itself should be starting to dry out and wither.

Don't harvest pumpkins that are still soft. They won't keep for more than a few days before spoiling.

Cut the pumpkins' stems. Use a pair of shears to cut the stem leaving it a few inches long. Don't break off the stems since this will cause the pumpkins to rot.

Store the pumpkins in a cool dry place. Keep them away from humidity damp and direct sunlight. They do not need refrigeration. Pumpkins keep for many months after they have been harvested.
A mild chlorine rinse before storage can discourage mold and fungi. Use a mix of 1 cup (240 mL) household chlorine bleach and 5 gallons (18.9 L) cold water.

Caring for the Pumpkin Plants

Water the pumpkin plants when the soil moisture is low. Pumpkin plants need a lot water but they shouldn't get too much. Make a habit of watering them when the soil seems a little dry rather than adding more water to wet soil. Deep infrequent waterings are ideal.

When you do water the plant use a lot of water and let it soak deep into the soil. Pumpkin plants' roots run several inches or feet down depending on the stage of growth and it's important that the water reaches them.
Try not to get water on the pumpkin leaves. This encourages the growth of a fungus called powdery mildew which can cause the leaves to wither and the plant to die. Water in the morning rather than at night so any water that gets on the leaves has time to dry in the sun.
When the pumpkins themselves begin to grow and turn orange decrease the amount of water you use. Stop watering entirely about a week before you plan to harvest the pumpkins.

Fertilize the pumpkin plants. When the plants first sprout (in about a week or two) adding fertilizer encourages health pumpkin plant growth. Go to your local nursery and ask for a fertilizer you can add to your pumpkin bed.

Control weeds and pests. In order to make sure your plants produce healthy pumpkins you'll have to monitor them throughout the growing process.

Weed the patch often. Don't let the growth of weeds crowd out the pumpkin plants or absorb the nutrients they need to thrive. Plan to weed a few times a week.
Check the pumpkin leaves and blossoms for beetles which eat plant tissue and ultimately kill the pumpkin plant. Scrape them off the plant a few times a week.
Mulch around your pumpkins to keep weed pressure down and conserve soil moisture.
Aphids are pests that threaten a lot of garden plants. They can be found on the undersides of the leaves and if you don't take care of them they'll kill the plants quickly. Spray them off with water in the morning so the leaves have time to dry.
If necessary use an organic pesticide to rid your plants of pests. Ask about products at your local nursery.

simple explanation

Pumpkins can be made into a sweet or savory dishes their seeds can be roasted roast and they serve as beautiful bright fall decorations. Growing pumpkins is easy and inexpensive since they grow well in many different regions. Read on for information on choosing a variety of pumpkin to plant finding an environment that will help your plants thrive and as well as growing and harvesting your pumpkins.

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