Packet Content (approx.): 8
Pumpkin is a warm-season vegetable that can be grown throughout much of the United Kingdem. Besides being used as jack-o'-lanterns at Halloween, pumpkins are used to make pumpkin butter, pies, custard, bread, cookies and soup.
When to Plant
Pumpkin is a very tender vegetable. The seeds do not germinate in cold soil, and the seedlings are injured by frost. Do not plant until all danger of frost has passed, and the soil has thoroughly warmed. Plant pumpkins for Halloween from late May. If pumpkins are planted too early, they may soften and rot before Halloween.
Spacing & Depth
Vining pumpkins require a minimum of 50 to 100 square feet per hill. Plant seeds one inch deep (four or five seeds per hill). Allow 5 to 6 feet between hills, spaced in rows 10 to 15 feet apart. When the young plants are well-established, thin each hill to the best two or three plants.
Plant semi-bush varieties one inch deep (four or five seeds per hill) and thin to the best two plants per hill. Allow 4 feet between hills and 8 feet between rows.
Plant miniature varieties one inch deep, with two or three seeds every 2 feet in the row. Rows should be 6 to 8 feet apart, with seedlings thinned to the best plant every 2 feet when they have their first true leaves.
Plant bush varieties one inch deep (1 or 2 seeds per foot of row) and thin to a single plant every 3 feet. Allow 4 to 6 feet between rows.
Pumpkin plants should be kept free from weeds by hoeing and shallow cultivation. Irrigate if an extended dry period occurs in early summer. Pumpkins tolerate short periods of hot, dry weather pretty well.
Bees, that are necessary for pollinating squash and pumpkins, may be killed by insecticides. When insecticides are used, they should be applied only in late afternoon or early evening when the blossoms have closed for the day and bees are no longer visiting the blossoms. As new blossoms open each day and bees land only inside the open blossoms, these pollinating insects should be safe from contact with any potentially deadly sprays.
Pumpkins can be harvested whenever they are a deep, solid color (orange for most varieties) and the rind is hard. If vines remain healthy, harvest in late September or early October, before heavy frosts. If vines die prematurely from disease or other causes, harvest the mature fruit and store them in a moderately warm, dry place until Halloween. Cut pumpkins from the vines carefully, using pruning shears or a sharp knife and leave 3 to 4 inches of stem attached. Snapping the stems from the vines results in many broken or missing "handles." Pumpkins without stems usually do not keep well. Wear gloves when harvesting fruit because many varieties have sharp prickles on their stems.
Avoid cutting and bruising the pumpkins when handling them. Fruits that are not fully mature or that have been injured or subjected to heavy frost do not keep. Store in a dry building where the temperature is between 50 and 55°F.
Incorporate plenty of organic matter to feed the plant and help retain water. Keep well watered. Can also be grown in greenhouse soil provided it is very fertile and they are well watered or even in gro-bags or containers.
Regular feeding is recommended.