Thinking about pumpkins in the summer? Probably not. But you should. Growing your own pumpkin patch is so fun and easy, but pumpkins take 100 to 120 days to mature. So if you would like to grow your own fall patch, let's plan for it now and get things started!
When we first moved to our homestead, we were anxious to try and grow everything. We were especially excited about growing our own pumpkins. We picked one garden bed and dedicated it to the pumpkins. We scattered our seeds a bit haphazardly and hoped for the best. A week later little seedlings emerged everywhere. We were elated! After several weeks vines were forming. Our pumpkin patch was growing great—a little too great it turns out. The vines spread out everywhere: down the paths, along the sidewalk, and all over the entire garden. So many pumpkins! We learned many things after our first attempt at growing pumpkins. The next year the pumpkins got the boot out of our garden and we grew them in their own spot where they would have plenty of room to stretch out.
Here are a few other things we learned:
Simply plant your pumpkin seeds right into the soil. You do not need a large garden. (You could even use five- to ten-gallon buckets.) You just need a little space for them to sprawl out their vines.
Pumpkins like good soil. They did extremely well in our garden because the soil was all organic and we had amended with compost. They did not do as well when we just planted them in the dirt outside of the garden.
Pumpkins need a lot of water (be sure to water the roots and not the vine) and they like full sun.
When your seedlings begin to emerge, thin them out to the number of vines you would like to grow. In our first attempt at growing pumpkins, we let all the seedlings form vines and it was mayhem.
As the vine begins to form fruit, place a thin board or heavy cardboard under ripening pumpkins to avoid decay.
If you grow heirloom pumpkins (it will say on the packet of seeds), save your seeds and use them to grow your pumpkin patch the next year.
Growing pumpkins are easy and it is absolutely thrilling to watch the seedlings emerge, grow into a vine, and form flowers that eventually develop into beautiful pumpkins. I hope you will try your hand at growing your own patch. Happy gardening!