Growing the Perfect Pumpkin

Pumpkins: orange, round, rather large, sometimes small, these signature fall fruits symbolize the upcoming season and are involved in so many fun fall activities. From going to a pumpkin patch and carving Jack-O-Lanterns, these plants are integral parts of the fall season.

Although pumpkins are typically store-bought, growing pumpkins is not as hard as it seems. From personal experience, patience, and experimentation, there are many keys to growing “The Perfect Pumpkin.”

First, the initial part of pumpkin growing starts before you even put the seed in the soil: planning. To grow pumpkins, one needs a rather large portion of land, full of fine soil and plenty of sunlight. Additionally, a leveled area that supplies plenty of room for roots to grow is perfect.

After the location of where you will plant the pumpkins is finished, one then must plant the pumpkins. Initially, I recommend using a small pot or defined space to plant the pumpkin seedlings. Make sure that the seedlings get plenty of sunlight, water, and moisture throughout their germination stage. Planting should take place in early May to late June.

Let the pumpkins grow until they start to sprout and gain considerably large leaves. After this has occurred, it is time to transplant the pumpkins. Using your already designated area, plant each individual sapling 6 inches apart from one another. Place ample soil underneath and around the pumpkin so it has room to sprout and grow. Be sure that you are planting only one pumpkin plant per 6 inches.

Then, the pumpkins will begin to grow quite large. Pumpkins are mainly vines. They will grow and keep low to the ground, yet will expand further from their original source of life. Direct each vine so that there is limited exposure to one another, as the pumpkins can possibly choke and kill each other.

As the pumpkins begin to grow, soon orangish-yellow flowers will appear. These are the primitive pumpkins beginning to sprout. These flowers will remain in this state for quite some time, but it is imperative to keep them alive and away from animals. It is fine to spray a basic fungicide, pesticide, or animal repellent to make sure nothing will come into contact with the flowers.

These flowers will begin to turn into small pumpkins in early to mid-September. These small pumpkins are generally unprotected and should be cared for with vigilance. A netting or some kind of fence can be used to protect these tiny fruits from being trampled on or eaten by hungry animals.

After a few more weeks, the pumpkins will begin to mature into their final stage. Starting off as green and transforming into orange, these pumpkins are quite large and will gain significant weight over the next few weeks. Further barricading and means of protection should be used to guard these pumpkins against pests.

Once mid-October has hit, the pumpkins are ready to be harvested. Cut the pumpkin at its stem with shears or even scissors. After this is completed, enjoy your pumpkins!

To summarize, pumpkins are not as hard to grow as one may think. With patience and vigilance, one can grow this signature fall spectacle in their own backyard! Happy gardening!