So .... you want to try and grow your own ...
Is it hard to do?
Well, it does take some work and unless you own and operate a farm, it may take a
few tries but why not try to grow a few of your own to add to the ones you'll pick up at
Any good, well drained soil will grow pumpkins. A soil of medium texture is best
but good results can be produced on heavy or light soils if they are properly tilled and
well fertilized. Pumpkins are moderately tolerant of acid soils and the preferred pH range
is 6.0 - 6.8. Direct seeding should not be attempted until the soil has warmed up and is
in good condition for germination (usually after May 15).
You can buy seeds of many varieties at any lawn and garden
store. But start out with only one or two kinds until you get the and of it. If you live
in a drier, more arid area, seed can be planted up to 1.75 inches deep to keep them in a
moisture zone. Normally, shallow cultivation just enough to control weeds is sufficient
for this crop. Rows should be about 4 feet apart, with hills containing two or three
seeds. Each hill should be about 3 feet apart.
Although pumpkin plants produce a profusion of flowers
throughout the life of the plant, however, as a rule of thumb, about 2 pumpkins per vine
can be expected. All pumpkins produce separate male and female flowers on the same
plant for natural pollination.
While pumpkin size is generally controlled by genetics, any factor that limits plant
growth will adversely affect it's size. This includes water, temperature, insects ,
diseases, pollination, fertility, soil type, plant population, weeds, etc.
It is not uncommon for some pumpkins to wither or rot and die
soon after flowering. This condition may be due to either to poor pollination or the
natural tendency for a plant to let some pumpkins die so that the good ones will live,
natural selection. Other factors that can contribute to the dying off of some pumpkins
include overcrowding of plants, prolonged periods of cool and cloudy or rainy weather or
Some Pumpkin Problems:
You might run into a couple of problems while trying to grow
your pumpkins, disease and bugs. Bugs are a problem because the cucumber beetle is a
carrier of plant disease, which leads to..... Powdery Mildew, a white powder-like
bacteria. Powdery mildew thrives in hot, humid weather, in the middle to late summer, just
as your pumpkin is really getting big. It spreads rapidly and will quickly destroy the
Another problem disease is Bacterial Wilt. This disease is
evident by a wilting and browning of the leaves. Sometimes the leaves will firm up at the
end of the day, only to repeat itself the next morning, and get worse each time. This can
sometimes be confused early on with wilting due to lack of water. Wilting from lack of
water results from either a literal lack of water in the soil or the vine ends not getting
enough water as the fruit is sucking up all the nutrients. The best test for bacterial
wilt is to take one leaf and cut it an inch or so from the vine. If the sap that drains
out is yellow and stringy, your pumpkins have this disease. There is no known cure and the
plant will certainly die. The best course of action is to remove the diseased plant.
Some ways to keep either of these from happening are as
Water only in the morning or during the day. Avoid late afternoon and evening,
Powdery Mildew and other diseases thrive in humid weather and watering at night can add
Water only to the roots and vines. Using a soaker hose is
perfect because it allows the roots and vies water but doesn't get the leaves wet. Wet
leaves can lead to mildew if they don't get a chance to dry out. Make sure that the soaker
hose is face down.
If any plants do become infected, remove them immediately.
Throw them away and don't add them to a compost pile or to anything that would come in
contact with another crop. The bacteria can survive and infect the next patch.
With a little common sense and by following the instructions
on the seed package, you might be able to show off your home grown Jack-O-Lantern. Or you
could take the easy way out, buy some and tell everyone that you grew them *grin*.........