Heather Gorringe owner of natural gardening & living company Wiggly Wigglers (http://www.wigglywigglers.co.uk/) loves pumpkins and wants people to grow their own, here are her top tips and some Pumpkin facts for Halloween!
1: Your pumpkin needs plenty of rich food. Dig a hole about 2 feet square and deep, fill with good compost or mix well rotted manure into the soil. Add a few handfuls of fertilizer and water well and often.
2: If you want to grow a really big pumpkin – Once you have 3 fruits starting to form, remove any flowers that develop. We need to concentrate everything into one pumpkin. Once the three small pumpkins have started pick the best one and pinch off the other two.
3: You don’t want your giant pumpkin to rot so If you’ve an old palette on site, put that under the small pumpkin whilst you still can or even some straw.
4: Pumpkins themselves have a very high water content. This water has to come from somewhere during dry periods – namely, YOU! When watering pumpkins, soil consistency is an important consideration. If you live
in an area with denser soil, you will have to water less often. However, if your soil is more sandy in nature, you’ll need to water more.
5: Use your fingers and dig about an inch into the soil next to your pumpkin plant. Be careful not to disturb the roots. If the soil is dry, it’s time to water. If you have a wormery mix in the liquid to feed your pumpkin.
6: When watering pumpkin plants, focus your efforts at the base of the plant and go slow to avoid eroding away the soil. Try to avoid watering the tops of the plants as this may cause diseases to develop.
7: It’s generally a good idea to water in the early morning hours. That way, the afternoon sun will evaporate any water that may have accumulated on the foliage.
8: If we have a drought with no rain falling at all, a slow, deep soak will be needed every 7days. Continue watering until consistent puddles form on the surface of the soil.
9: When feeding and watering pumpkins, or anytime you are walking in your pumpkin patch, be very careful where you walk. There are tiny roots that run all along each vine. These roots spread out an inch or two under the soil. Do your best to avoid stepping on these delicate root systems. Some people put down boards to walk on. This also prevents compacting the soil under foot. If you don’t want to go to this effort, at least follow the same path every time you walk in your pumpkin patch.
10: To harvest pumpkins, use a knife or shears and cut the stem 2 inches or so above the fruit. It’s best to leave a couple of inches of stem to help the pumpkins stay fresh longer. After cutting the stem, lift from the bottom to remove the pumpkin. Never lift a pumpkin by its stem, as the stem may break off and cause the pumpkin to perish much more quickly.
11: After picking the pumpkins, you should cure them. The curing process will extend the storage life of the pumpkins. It will also enhance their taste and texture. Place them in a dry, sunny location for 10-14 days. If frosty nights are expected, cover the pumpkins with a sheet or blanket at night.
•Pumpkins are believed to have originated in North America. Seeds from related plants have been found in Mexico dating back to 7000 to 5500 B.C.
•American Indians dried strips of pumpkin and wove them into mats.
•Pumpkin flowers are edible
•STILLWATER, Minn., USA–Chris Stevens of New Richmond, Wis., has grown a massive pumpkin that tips the scales at 1,810.5 pounds – setting the new world record for the Largest Pumpkin. That’s 821 Kilos!
•At pumpkin farms in Oregon, harvest the seeds and then roast them – you can do the same with your seeds but the tastiest ones are from smaller squashes rather than giant pumpkins.
•Pumpkins contain potassium and Vitamin A.
•Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites !
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