Saturday, May 1, 2010

How to Grow Your Own Pumpkin

Hello again!

I found this great article with solid tips on pumpkin growing at

This site has lots of good posts this is one that stood out. We have everything here at Skillin's that you need to grow some great pumpkins! Plants, seeds and supplies! Here is the article:

"Growing your own pumpkin for Halloween is a rewarding adventure! The end result is a Jack O Lantern that you had a hand in from start to finish! While most varieties of pumpkins are fairly hardy, there are pointers that can help you produce a giant pumpkin sure to impress your family and friends when Halloween rolls around. Here is what you need to know about growing pumpkins for Halloween:

Starting the seeds. In order to have fully matured pumpkins in time for Halloween it’s important to start your seeds at the right time. Keep in mind that the earliest pumpkin starts are for Giant Pumpkins that require 150 days or more of growing time. Giant pumpkin growers time their starts for maximum growth in order to produce a world record fruit in time for the fall weigh offs which run from early to mid October. You should note that there is plenty of flexibility on the start date for other varieties. These can be timed to mature from September to October, and can be started indoors or out. Even though fully mature pumpkins are hardy, new growers should be aware that pumpkins are tender annuals. Frost will kill them, and cold weather will stunt their growth. You should keep this in mind when starting your plants. Recommended “ideal” starting dates for your pumpkin plants are as follows:

Giant Pumpkins: Start indoors from April 25 to May 15th Set outdoors after the first true leaves form. Provide cold and frost protection.

Jack-O-Lanterns / Field Pumpkins: Direct sow into the garden from May 15th to June 15th. Start indoors up to two weeks prior to setting outdoors Provide cold and frost protection.

Miniature Pumpkins: Direct sow into the garden from May 25th to July 1st. Start indoors up to two weeks prior to setting outdoors.

How many pumpkins will you get? One pumpkin plant will normally produce three to five pumpkins. Miniature varieties can produce as many as a dozen or so. There will usually be several more female fruit, but some of them will not develop for a number of reasons. If you are growing pumpkins for size and weight, eventually you will select one pumpkin and remove the rest from the vine. By doing this, you allow the plant to direct all of it’s energy into growing just that one pumpkin. It should be noted that a small number of growers keep a second fruit on the vine as an “insurance policy” in case disaster strikes the first fruit. You should understand however that this does not preclude the possibility that you can grow enormous pumpkins if you keep more than one on the vine.

Adding weight to your pumpkin. If you so choose you can turn your everyday pumpkin into a giant pumpkin. To produce the largest pumpkins you will need to fuel their growth. Of special note is that in August, you also need to be diligent and guard against insects and plant disease, especially powdery mildew. Here are some additional tips for adding weight to your pumpkins:

Keep your patch well watered. This is a great way to get your child involved. Turn over a small amount of soil and see if it is moist several inches down.

Adding a layer of compost feeds the plant and helps to retain soil moisture. It can also help to keep weeds down.

Keep in mind that big pumpkins have big appetites. Fertilize regularly to get the best results. To really bump up the weight on your pumpkin switch to a fertilizer high in potassium.

Cover the pumpkin vines with garden soil. This will promote secondary root growth, and results in much bigger pumpkins."

Let us know at Skillin's ( if you have any gardening questions!

Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
May 1, 2010

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