Pumpkins are an easy frost free annual to grow and a favourite fruit in a childs garden. They are vigorous in their growing habit, commonly self germinating from compost heaps. They make ideal ground cover and can be trained to grow over a trellis if the support structure is strong enough.
Pumpkins require warm temperatures for fruiting, so early summer is the ideal time to plant pumpkins.
How to plant pumpkins
Plant seeds or seedlings in a garden bed enriched with well composted manures. Pumpkin vines are hungry feeders, so dig into existing soil some 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser. This will keep them fed right through until harvesting. Give pumpkins room to spread their vines, but if space is limited the stems can be pruned to a more compact habit before flowering has started.
Watering and mulching pumpkins
Pumpkins require regular watering during their vigorous growing stage and during hot, dry weather. As the vines grow, mulch under the extended areas to reduce soil bourne fungal diseases coming into contact with the developing fruit and stems. Mulching will also protect their shallow roots from extremes of temperature.
Pests and disease affecting pumpkins
Outbreaks of fungal diseases such as rust and mildew can occur from excessive humidity. Keep pumpkin vines in an open and sunny spot to reduce the risk. Liquid feeding with SeaMax Fish & Kelp will help maintain healthy vines and reduce the risk of fungal problems. If mildew and rust is severe, when control with Searles Wettable Sulphur or Searles Mancozeb Plus.
Why is my pumpkin vine not producing fruit?
Pumpkin vines in most situations fruit easily. Pollinating bees are most active in the morning, so leave your insecticide spraying until later in the day. If no fruiting occurs, hand pollination may be required and this is easy to do. Pumpkin vines have male and female flowers. To pollinate the female flower, pick the male flower, which is idenified by its powdery, pollen ladened stamens and gently rub the male flower stamen onto the base of the female flower. Avoid watering for a day or two.
Harvest pumpkins when the vine stems start to turn brown and die back. When cutting the pumpkins from the vine, leave a few inches of stem on the pumpkin. This will prevent exposure from air and moisture penetrating and rotting the interior of the pumpkin. Pumpkins can be kept for months on a dry, dark shelf.
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