When it comes to fall, there is no better sign of the season than pumpkins, but do you wish you would have tried growing your own pumpkin patch for a fall harvest? While it may be a little late to grow one for this fall season, it’s not too late to make plans now, so you can start growing one in the spring season. To prepare yourself for the pumpkin planting season, let’s take a closer look at some tips that could be useful in order to get yourself ready!
When to grow your own pumpkin patch: Pumpkins are sensitive to cold weather, so it’s best to start planting your pumpkin seeds in late spring, when the weather is a little warmer. Typically, the month of May would be the ideal month to start planting for the Northern states and early July is best for the Southern states.
Pumpkin patch location: Pumpkins thrive in sunlight and love the heat, so it’s best to make sure your patch is in a location that gets direct sunlight. You should try to avoid growing them near any trees or anything that blocks the sunlight from your patch.
Area size for growing pumpkins: Almost every type of pumpkin grows on very large vines and will take up a lot of space. Although some variety of pumpkins may be smaller, you should plan on the area size being at least fifty to one hundred square feet. A long planting bed in your backyard would be ideal, as the vines could grow up and down the bed.
Selecting your pumpkin seeds: Most pumpkin seeds are easy to grow and don’t require a lot of upkeep. Pumpkin seeds come in all sorts of varieties, so plant a few different sets of seeds to figure out what grows best in your yard.
Planting the seeds: Before you decide to plant any seeds in your yard, you should prepare the area by soaking it at least a day before any planting. While you’re planting your pumpkin seeds, you’ll want to dig into the dirt until you come across the moisture and wet soil. Once you find the wet soil, plant the seed vertically, then lightly cover it back up with soil.
Watering your pumpkins: Unlike majority of your plants in your garden, you’ll want to keep watering to a minimum for your pumpkins. To help determine when it’s time to water, a good test is to keep a small amount of soil off to the side and check on it every day. If the test soil is starting to get dry, it’s probably time to water the pumpkins. Also, remember to water earlier in the day, before it heats up, so the pumpkins have a better chance at soaking all the water up.
Caring for your pumpkins for harvest: Squash bugs are one of the most common pests to pumpkins, so check your leaves on your plants frequently for any signs of bugs. You can also put cardboard at the base of your pumpkin plant, so it’s harder for bugs and pests to get to them.
Harvesting your pumpkins: If you start planting your pumpkin seeds earlier enough, come October, you should give some decent sized pumpkins popping up along your vines! About 10-12 days before you’d like to pick them, stop watering to help with their post-vine life indoors. Your pumpkins will be ready for harvest when the rind and the color is either orange, yellow, or even white, depending on the seeds that you have chosen to plant. Cut the pumpkins from the vines and leave three to four inches for the handle. Keep in mind, a pumpkin with a handle will live longer, so if you happen to cut the handle, make sure you use this pumpkin first.
Storing your pumpkins: Pumpkins typically store easily, but with curing, you can store them for longer. Wash the pumpkins well to remove any dirt and completely dry them. Once washed, put them out in the sun to harden the skin. When storing, remember not to stack them and give them enough space to allow air to spread around them. By doing this, it will prevent the skin from softening.
The cooling of the weather, falling leaves, warm fall colors and pumpkins all signal that the fall season is upon us. In fact, carving pumpkins is a Halloween tradition for most families and pumpkins can be an important garden crop in the fall.
Why keep buying pumpkins when you can grow your own? So, start your own patch and look forward to a pumpkin harvest every fall season for the years to come!