Pumpkin Growing Guide
Pumpkins (and gourds) are fun and easy crops to grow. Classic-looking pumpkins and gourds are usually decorative and can be used for carving. Pie pumpkins can be whipped up into any number of delicious recipes.
Pumpkin seeds should be sown indoors 2-3 weeks before your last average frost-free date. Transplant seedlings into the EarthBox® gardening system after danger of frost has passed, and place in direct sunlight.
PLANTING & CARE
PLANT/GROW IN: EarthBox® Original Gardening System
RECOMMENDED ACCESSORIES: EarthBox® Staking System, EarthBox® Extension Kit, EarthBox® Automatic Watering System (AWS)
To help prevent mildew or rot from forming, we highly recommended growing pumpkins and gourds vertically–the EarthBox® Staking System with Extension Kit are the perfect solution for this. Be sure to use a “sling” to support any heavy fruit on the vine (once it reaches the size of a baseball), ensuring each end of the sling is secured to the trellis.
PESTS & DISEASE
COMMON PESTS: Cucumber Beetle, Squash Bug, Squash Vine Borer, Aphids
COMMON PROBLEMS: Powdery Mildew, Bacterial Wilt, Mosaic Virus, Anthracnose, Lack of Pollination
Pests, such as Aphids or Cucumber Beetles, can wreak havoc on your pumpkin patch. Cucumber Beetles can cause Bacterial Wilt and Mosaic virus in cucurbits. Be sure to check plants regularly, especially the underside of leaves. Squash Vine Borers can also be destructive. These pests are actually caterpillars (larvae) from a moth that lays eggs at the base of the stalks. They chew the inside of the leaf stalks, and can eventually make their way to the main stem, killing the plant. To prevent egg-laying, you can wrap some aluminum foil around the base of each stalk and main stem.
Pumpkins will tolerate light frost, but all harvesting should be done prior to a hard, killing frost. It’s time to pick your pumpkins when they have fully matured–meaning the skin is thick enough to resist puncture when you press your fingernail into it, and has turned deep orange in color. The stem may also look a bit dry and hard, and the fruit should sound hollow when slapped. Never rip or tear pumpkins from the vine, or pick them up by the stem! Use pruners or a knife to carefully cut the stem a minimum of 4 inches. You may use the fresh fruit once harvested; but if you wish to store the pumpkin, it must be cured.
To cure the pumpkin, wipe off any dirt or debris and place it in the sun for 7 days; flip it over and leave in the sun another 7 days. Wipe down the entire pumpkin skin with a pure vegetable oil (such as olive or coconut) to seal the skin. Use a baker’s cooling rack with a “cushion” of newsprint or straw, rather than placing the pumpkin directly on a hard surface. Store in a dry place such as a basement or root cellar, where temperartures are cool and controlled between 55°-70°F. A cured pumpkin should last for up to 6 months.
CARING FOR CARVED PUMPKINS
To make a carved pumpkin last longer, wipe the inside with paper towels after you’re done scooping out the pulp, seeds, and flesh–this will help soak up any water. Follow with a coating of petroleum jelly all over the inside, as well as on the stemmed lid/cap.
|PLANTING GUIDE:||GROWING REQUIREMENTS:|
4 Plants / 2 Per Row