Pumpkin pie, jack-o-lanterns, changing leaves and frost on the ground—these are the sort of things we many typically associate with fall. Right now, with the summer creeping in, it’s probably the last thing on your mind. But if you want jack-o-lanterns for Halloween or pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, now is the time to start planting.
You’ll choose the type of pumpkin you grow depending on what you want your pumpkins for (eating or carving). There are dozens of varieties of pumpkins (here’s a good site for learning more about each), but as a general rule, for carving, you want big pumpkins with thinner shells. Thicker varieties tend to be better for cooking needs.
Because pumpkins are sensitive to colder weather, especially when they’re young, you want to grow them when the average temperature is above 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit with no chance of frost. Pumpkins take anywhere from 3 to 4 months to mature, depending on what species you plant.
Pumpkins can be grown in a garden bed or grow box, but they need good soil, sunlight, and room to spread out. The vines grow out anywhere from 10 to 35 feet but usually can be manipulated to grow in a rectangular fashion.
Plant the seeds no more than four inches deep and apply some fertilizer or compost to the area for nutrition and moisture retention. You’ll probably want to use topsoil, nothing too sandy, so that the water can get deep and have plenty of time to soak before drying out. Pumpkins need that water and should be watered deeply but not too often. Orbit’s drip irrigation is perfect for that.
However, one tip shared many times is to avoid watering the leaves, because they could develop disease. If you do water the leaves, try to do it in the early morning so the sun will dry the water out before it has time to develop mildew.
Pumpkins are a great source of flavor and fun. Follow these tips and you’ll have beautiful pumpkins for the fall.