- Pumpkins and squash are so much more than a
Halloween decoration, and if you have the space I would
highly recommend growing a few varieties. They are also a
fantastic crop to get children involved as there is something very rewarding about carving a home grown pumpkin for Halloween.
- Pumpkins and Winter Squash are one of the greediest plants you can grow, so make sure to plant out in ground that is rich and fertile. A weekly feed will also be necessary for the best results.
- If you are trying to grow a prize winning pumpkin they will need daily watering. Even if you are trying to grow a nice crop they will need water a few times per week, if you are growing in containers they will need daily watering.
- Pumpkins and Squash can grow into very large plants. Make sure you are willing to sacrifice the growing space that pumpkins will take up. For smaller varieties you can grow them vertically up a trellis.
- To get the best results Pumpkins and Squash will need to be planted in full sun and a warm spot in the garden such as along a south facing wall.
Sowing and Growing
- Pumpkins and Squash need a long growing season so it is best to start undercover in a greenhouse on a windowsill in early spring.
- Plant the seeds on their its side in small pots or seed modules and try to keep at 18C to 22C, sowing undercover or in a propagator will help with this.
- Do not plant direct in final growing position until the risk of the last frost has passed.
- If you have planted out young plants and a late frost is forecast if you are growing in containers bring inside, or if sown in the soil protect with a frost fleece or bubble wrap.
- Ideal spacing between plants is 1m squared ideally 2 if you have the room.
- If you are growing in containers make sure it has a diameter of at least 45cm. With containers the bigger the better for pumpkins.
- Top stop the vines from taking over your garden once the vine has three or four established baby pumpkins pinch off the end of the vine. This will also allow the plant to focus its energy on fruit production.
- If you are trying to grow one giant prize winning pumpkin pinch off all the baby pumpkins and leave only one or two on the vine.
- Pumpkins and Squash are thirsty plants and will drink as much water as you can give them. As a result for the best crop do not let the plant dry out.
- When your plant starts to flower they will appreciate a feed with a high potash feed every 10 days.
- Pumpkins and Winter Squash have a long growing season, the general time from sowing to harvest is 20-30 weeks.
- If you want to store your pumpkins for the winter make sure they are fully ripe before harvesting as this will thicken the outer skin allowing for the best storage conditions.
- If you want to cure the pumpkin store it at around 25C to 33C for four or five days, then store at a cooler 5C-10C.
- There are so many to choose from so it is worth researching what fits your growing space the best. Here are a few of my favourites.
- Pumpkins: Atlantic Giant, Baby boo, Hundred Weight, Zombie, Jack o Lantern
-Winter Squash: Gold Nugget, Bon Bon, Crown Prince