Are you ready to squash any hesitation and grow your own pumpkins? Look no further, dear green thumbs, because we've got all the tips and tricks you need to get your pumpkin patch popping!
Before we get started, you can also check out our more in-depth free printable Pumpkin Growing Guide here that includes tips for seeds, seedlings, and a tasty Roasted Pumpkin Seeds recipe! If you're looking for a quick informative read, keep reading!
First things first, choose your pumpkin variety wisely. Whether you prefer a classic orange pumpkin or a funky-looking white one, select a variety suited to your climate and soil type. We've grown big and small, and feel free to branch out and try something new, giving yourselves the opportunity to grow something you may not be able to purchase in store or at a pumpkin patch.
Once you've selected your pumpkin seeds, it's time to get them planted. Choose a sunny spot with well-draining soil, and sow your seeds about 1 inch deep. If you're planting multiple pumpkins, give them plenty of space to spread out - pumpkins are notorious for taking up a lot of real estate!
As your pumpkin plants grow, ensure you're giving them plenty of water and nutrients. A good rule of thumb is to water them deeply once a week and provide them with a boost of fertilizer (I place compost around the base of each stem) every few weeks. And remember to keep an eye out for pests - pumpkin-loving critters like squash bugs and vine borers can wreak havoc on your crop if you're not careful.
As your pumpkins ripen, you'll notice them getting bigger and bigger by the day. Don't be afraid to encourage them - gently rotate them every week or so to ensure they're getting even sunlight and developing a round shape. We also like to put our pumpkins on a platform that allows breathing space between your gourd and the soil. This solid support helps with the round shape and prevents moisture from rotting the surface of the fruit.
And finally, the moment of truth - it's time to harvest your pumpkins! Cut them from the vine with a sharp knife, leaving intact a few inches of stem. And remember to snap a few photos to show off to friends and family - after all, you've worked hard to grow these pumpkins, and you deserve the kudos!
So there you have it, my top tips for growing pumpkins that will make your neighbors green with envy. Remember, it's all about putting in the time and effort to cultivate a healthy, happy pumpkin patch. And with a little luck and a lot of hard work, you might end up with a pumpkin that's the pick of the patch!
And, if not, don't let it squash your dreams of future pumpkin-growing years. I learn something new each year; all experiences are gourd learning opportunities!
Speaking of learning opportunities, all of our Rutabaga Education's Fall Books include lessons (Kinder has two) that include activities to learn all about growing and eating pumpkins, along with fun activities that sneak in nutrition, math, science, and more!