Monday, November 3, 2014

Plant of the Month - Pumpkins

Although the time for growing pumpkins is long past, in November our thoughts drift toward Baked Pumpkin seeds, Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin roll.  Yum.  So I thought it would talk a little about growing a large pumpkin.  First here are some of the basics:
Light:  Sun
Type:  Vegetable
Height:  1 to 3 feet
Width:  10-20 feet wide (yes…they need LOTS of space)

Growing them L-A-R-G-E

  **  First of all get the right seeds, not all pumpkins are grown for their size.

  **  Plant them in the sun, but avoid windy areas.

  **  Pumpkins need a lot of water in a well-drained area. 

  **  Prepare the soil early by adding rotting cow manure.

  **  You may have to start them indoors if your area gets frost in late April or early May.

  **  Watch for the female flowers – you can tell which ones they are by the small ball at the base of each flower. 

  **  Make sure it is on a strong vine, otherwise pluck it from the branch.

  **  If you are not interested in letting nature take its course, you can pick a fresh male bloom and rub the stamen in the center of the female.

  **  When two or three healthy looking pumpkins start to form, remove all new female flowers and any other pumpkins that start growing.  Keep the vine pruned, pinching tips and side shoots off the vine that will take away the energy the plant needs to grow that one special pumpkin.

  **  Large pumpkins are thirsty and hungry, especially toward the end of summer. Some will expand as much as two inches every night.  So give each plant about twenty gallons of water a week, watering at the base of the plant. 

Now, sit back at watch your prize pumpkin grow!

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