Grow Your Own Pumpkins for Halloween
Instead of heading to the store for a pumpkin this Halloween, consider growing your own jack-o-lantern. It’s not that difficult to grow your own pumpkins, and you’ll end up with plenty of pumpkins to create your own Halloween jack-o-lanterns. Here are a few helpful growing tips to keep in mind.
Tip #1 – Good Seeds for a Good Start
You need good seeds if you want good pumpkins. If you grew pumpkins last year, you may have your own seeds. However, if this is your first time growing pumpkins, head to a nearby feed and seed store. Ask for some guidance. You’ll want to find seeds for a variety of pumpkins that is easy to grow and great for carving. You can also find seeds for miniature pumpkins that are perfect for Halloween and fall decorating. Keep in mind, you’ll need to ensure your seeds get plenty of sun, and pumpkins need fertilized regularly as well.
Tip #2 – Think Before You Plant Your Pumpkins
If you don’t have a lot of space, it’s a good idea to plant pumpkins near the edge so the vines can drape out over the sides. This is perfect if you’re using a box garden. You won’t need as much garden-soil space, yet the vines will still have plenty of room to run.
Tip #3 – Use Companion Plants to Repel Pests
Some of the late-summer pests that can kill your pumpkin plants include cucumber beetles and squash bugs. Some companion plants that do a great job at repelling these and other insects include petunias, mint, radishes, and catnip.
Tip #4 – Check the Skin Before Harvesting
You probably think you need to thump on your pumpkin to make sure it’s ready. However, a better way to tell if the pumpkin is ripe is to use your fingernail to press on the skin. If there’s no indentation and the skin resists the fingernail, your pumpkin is ready for harvesting. When it’s ready to harvest, cut the pumpkin from the vine using a sharp knife, and leave plenty of stem behind. This helps to keep the pumpkin from rotting as quickly. Let the pumpkin cure in the sun for seven days and then keep it stored in a dry, cool area.
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