Growing your own pumpkins is fun – especially when you harvest big, colourful pumpkins to make lanterns for Hallowe’en! Pumpkin soup is also a tasty treat.
Plant your seeds in April/May/June for harvesting Sept/Oct/Nov Here are some hints and tips.
Two weeks before planting or sowing seed outdoors, make planting pockets 1.8m (6ft) apart. Do this by making a hole about a spade’s depth, width and height and fill with a mixture of compost or well-rotted manure and soil. Sprinkle a general fertiliser over the soil. Plant one plant or seed on top of each pocket.
For indoor-raised seedlings, plant outside on top of your planting pocket in early June, hardening off (acclimatising) before doing so. Do this by moving them into a coldframe for a week or, if you don’t have a coldframe, move plants outdoors during the day, then bring in at night for a week. The following week, leave them out in a sheltered spot all day and night.
You can also grow pumpkins in growbags or containers (at least 45cm/18in wide). Plant one or two per growbag, or one per container.
Keep the soil constantly moist by watering around the plants not over them. As they need plenty of water, sink a 15cm (6in) pot alongside the plants when planting out. Water into this and it will help ensure the water goes right down to the roots and does not sit around the neck of the plant, which can lead to rotting.
Feed every 10-14 days with a high potash liquid fertiliser once the first fruits start to swell.
The fruit of pumpkins should be supported off the soil on a piece of tile or glass.
Good luck and don’t forget to send us some photos in the Autumn of your lanterns