How to Grow a Garden Pumpkin Patch
Let’s get excited about how to grow a garden pumpkin patch on our homesteads.
Every fall, there’s one thing that is a tradition for nearly everyone in America; pumpkin carving. Less than a month later, Thanksgiving arrives, and the mandatory dessert? Pumpkin pie. But going out and buying these pumpkins is quick but why not grow them in your own yard? Here’s a few tips on how to grow pumpkins, perfect for Jack-o’-lanterns, or pumpkin pie, or baked pumpkin because it is just delicious.
What Kind of Pumpkin?
If you want really big pumpkins, meaning the kinds that you’d bring to a competition for largest pumpkin, ‘Atlantic Giant’ is the kind for you. These can be a good variety for making really large Jack-o’-lanterns.
Carving Jack-o’-lanterns can be hard work, especially for the little ones, so a good choice for carving is the ‘Trick or Treat’ variety. It’s bright orange and can weight around 10-15 lbs., and they’re a good carve. The seeds are also supposed to be best to eat, so if you like toasted pumpkin seeds, this is the kind for you.
‘Small Sugar’ pumpkins are great for decoration, and great for eating. These aren’t typically carved, as they’re smaller pumpkins, but they’re good for a little decor around the house. The best thing about this, though, is that they’re perfect for making pumpkin pie.
‘Lumina’ pumpkins are those completely white ones you see around. They can offset the bright orange and make a little twist in your decorations. If you want a miniature white pumpkin, check out ‘Baby Boo’.
For really small varieties, meaning 3-4 inches, ‘Jack Be Little’ is a good pumpkin for more indoor decoration.
How To Grow:
Pumpkins can be vine or bush types, the vines being able to cover up to 500 square feet, the bushes covering 20 feet. Don’t start growing your pumpkins until after things are starting to warm up and there’s no risk for frost. For the vines, sow your seeds 6-8 ft apart, around 6-8 seeds in each hill. Once they sprout, move them to two per hill to allow them to grow. For bushes, plant them approximately 3 meet apart, 4-6 seeds per hill, separating them to two once they sprout.
If you want to grow large pumpkins, focus on just a few. Once they begin blooming, you’ll see tons of little pumpkins, which you have to get rid of to have a large pumpkin, so cut off all but one pumpkin. In late summer, they’ll keep getting bigger, put a plank of wood under to keep from rotting, and be sure to water and fertilize regularly. They’re ready to be harvested 3-4 months after planting, so pick them before the frost comes.
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