Pumpkins are one of the most versatile ingredients in cooking from soups and salads to main dishes and even desserts! However, it’s not easy finding the perfect one for your dish. That’s why Pumpkin Abotya is here to help you grow your own pumpkins.
Choose the right environment
Pumpkins love sunlight and since it’s a vine-spreading plant, pick a site with lots of sun and space for the vines to grow. However, not everyone has a large space for planting pumpkins so one way to give them enough space is to plant them near the edge of the garden and let the vines sprawl out of it.
Know the right planting season
Pumpkin plants grow faster in hot climates. For places with cooler climates, the best time to plant pumpkin is between May 15 and June 15, depending on when you last had frost. It’s also best to wait for the ground to reach 70-95 degrees celsius since they’re very sensitive to cold temperatures.
Don’t overcrowd seedlings
Seeds need enough room to grow properly. They can be planted in pitcher-like mounds made up of soil, compost or manure called pumpkin hills, or in rows directly on the ground.
About 4-5 seeds need to be planted in pumpkin hills which must be 4-8 feet apart. Since pumpkin hills absorb and retain more heat, some farmers suggest using these instead. Aside from the quick growth, it also helps with with the soil drainage and pest control
When planting in rows, seedlings must be planted 6-12 inches apart. Meanwhile, the rows should be 6-10 feet from each other. Giving the plants room to grow is important too. Snipping unwanted growth over 18-36 inches will help with this.
Water the plants deeply
Pumpkins are very thirsty plants and need lots of water. Make sure to water deeply but keep the foliage and fruit dry to avoid rotting and diseases. Mulch is a great help in keeping the solid damp and the pests and weeds at bay.
Control pests and weed growth
If you must remove weeds by hand or through cultivation, take care not to damage their shallow roots. Moreover, while covers help prevent insect problems early on, bees are essential for pollination and to help you grow the fruits once flowers have started growing.
Add fertilizers regularly
Aside from being thirsty plants, they’re also heavy feeders so make sure to fertilize on a regular basis. Use fertilizers with high nitrogen formula in the early plant growth and switch to a fertilizer with high phosphorus content when the plants are about one foot tall before the blooming period.
Know proper handling of the fruit
Turning the fruit carefully encourages an even shape while it’s developing. Moreover, placing a thin board or heavy cardboard under the fruit will avoid decay and insect damage.
It’s always best to pick pumpkins that are already mature. The skin should have deep, solid colors and a hollow sound will be heard when thumped. Cut the fruit off the vine rather than pulling since they might bruise if not handled carefully.