The prettiest picture in the fall vegetable garden are bright orange pumpkins ripening under a clear, blue autumn sky. Has there ever been a vegetable that is more fun to grow? Please scroll down to see all the pumpkins.
Culture: Pumpkin is a warm weather crop. They need full sun and a soil that is deep, rich, well drained and highly organic with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Before planting, work in lots of garden compost or well-composted manure. Plant seed outdoors in late May and June 2.5 cm (1") deep in hills 2.4 m (8') apart with 4-6 seeds per hill. After germination thin to 3-4 plants per hill. To get a jump on the season, seed can be started indoors 3 weeks before the plant out date. As pumpkin do not transplant well, use paper or fibre pots that can be set directly in the soil. Protect seedlings from cold temperatures or frost, as they are quite sensitive when young.
Pumpkins need lots of water, particularly once flowering and fruit formation starts. Fertilize pumpkins every two weeks with a water-soluble vegetable fertilizer and keep the patch well weeded. Male and female flowers develop separately on the same plant. The female flowers, which have a small embryonic pumpkin at their base, can be easily hand pollinated by taking pollen from the male flower with a small brush and transferring it to the stigma of the female flower.
For larger fruits, only allow 2-3 pumpkins to mature per plant. Towards the end of the season, protect mature pumpkins from frost or freezing temperatures to prevent rot.