Pumpkins do best when the seeds are planted directly in the ground. Pumpkins are very sensitive to the cold. Plant seeds in rows or “pumpkin hills”. With hills, the soil will warm more quickly, and the seeds will germinate faster. This also helps with drainage and pest control.
Pumpkins are BIG feeders. Regular treatments of manure or compost mixed with water will sustain good growth. Pumpkins love compost!
Fertilise on a regular basis. Use Organic Xtra in early plant growth. Fertilise when plants are about one foot tall, just before vines begin to run. Switch over to a fertiliser high in phosphorous just before the blooming period, Qld Organics Blood & Bone is perfect for this stage.
After a few pumpkins have formed, pinch the fuzzy ends off each vine. This will stop vine growth so that the plant’s energies are focused on the fruit.
Pruning the vines may help with space, as well as allow the plant’s energy to be concentrated on the remaining vines and fruit.
As the fruit develops, they should be turned (with great care not to hurt the vine or stem) to encourage an even shape.
A pumpkin is ripening when its skin turns a deep, solid colour (orange for most varieties).
When you thumb the pumpkin, the rind will feel hard and it will sound hollow. Press your nail into the pumpkin’s skin; if it resists puncture, it is ripe.
Pumpkins should be cured in the sun for about a week to toughen the skin and then stored in a cool, dry place.
If you get a lot of vines and flowers, but no pumpkins, you need more bees in your garden to pollinate the flowers. Grow some colourful flowers next to your pumpkin patch and you may get more bees and butterflies!
Don’t grow pumpkins in the same patch as tomatoes or potatoes – they don’t really like each other ?