Pumpkin Guide: How to grow, harvest and store your pumpkins

Growing Pumpkins

Round, orange and instantly recognisable to anyone that has celebrated Halloween, pumpkins are undoubtedly the highlight of the autumn vegetable garden. In this blog we will looking at growing pumpkins from seeds, as well as harvesting, storing and cooking up some pumpkins with some our Gardening Angels favourite recipes!

Growing Pumpkins from Seed

Our Gardening Angels preferred method to grow pumpkins from seeds is to sow them directly into the garden. You can choose to grow pumpkin seeds in a heated propagator and transplant them into pots or containers and then plant them out. However, this is not as necessary compared to other vegetables as pumpkin seeds germinate extremely quickly.

Sowing Pumpkin Seeds in Heated Propagators

Planting Pumpkins

Pumpkins like a sunny position and a good rich soil. This basically means that you should dig in some well-rotted compost and a bit of manure before you plant your pumpkins.

There are lots of thoughts on pre-soaking pumpkin seeds and you can do this if you want to. To soak them simply get the seeds put them into some lukewarm water and leave them there for about six hours then they're ready to plant.

The seeds are really easy to plant. Planting distance is going to depend on what type of pumpkins you are choosing to grow. Some are long trailing types and you'll need to plant them at least a metre apart.

As a rule of thumb, plant your pumpkins at least 3 feet, or 90 centimetres apart or more if you can spare the space in your garden.

Pumpkins produce big leaves, and they do a great job of soaking up sunlight, and providing the plants with the energy to grow big.

Usually the larger amount of leaves your pumpkin has, the larger they will be, so its best not to detatch any before flowering starts.

When you plant the seeds we recommend that you put a few extras in, so that so they are a bit closer so that if some fail to germinate you've got enough pumpkins.

If all your pumpkins germinate successfully you can simply remove some and plant them somewhere else in your garden or allotment. 

Sowing Pumpkin Seeds

Feeding your Pumpkins

Once your pumpkin seeds have germinated and they reach a reasonable size you should feed them with plant fertiliser such as our Award-Winning Nutrigrow Plant Food to help spring them into life.

Another fantastic nutrient is our Organic Tri-Pack Nutrients. Firstly, Old Timer Grow should be used until the plants are ready to flower. Secondly, Old Timer Bloom should be used when the plants start producing flowers onwards. And finally, Organic PK should be used as a ‘flowering boost’ alongside the Old Timer Bloom throughout the flowering and fruiting process.

You should then mulch around them with a fine mulch just to help keep the soil moist.

You'll also find that if you've been putting your pumpkin scraps from your kitchen into a compost bin that sometimes when you take that compost and put it into the garden that the seeds will germinate and that's fine.

You can dig those up and you can plant them somewhere else in the garden.

Pumpkin Nutrients

You should then mulch around them with a fine mulch just to help keep the soil moist.

You'll also find that if you've been putting your pumpkin scraps from your kitchen into a compost bin that sometimes when you take that compost and put it into the garden that the seeds will germinate and that's fine.

You can dig those up and you can plant them somewhere else in the garden. 

Kitchen Compost Bin

Harvesting Pumpkins

You will soon start to notice mature leaves on your pumpkins and if you look really closely you can see some flowers are about to form.

Its a good idea to harvest pumpkins before the first frosts - a gentle frost will not cause too much issues, but to be safe leave slightly more stem attached, including a small part of the root to leave a curved shape.

Leave them out in the sun for a few days after you've harvested them just so that they harden off before you take them inside and store them in a cool dry place. 

Harvesting Pumpkins

Curing Pumpkins

Pumpkins taste brilliant fresh, but if you want to keep them for more than a few weeks, you'll need to cure and store them.

Curing pumpkins hardens the skin, making a tough shell which will protect the softer flesh inside, enabling you to store them for up to 6 months.

First, make sure your pumpkins are properly ripe. The most obvious way to tell is to look at the stem - if it has dried and hardened, the pumpkin should be ripe.

The fruits will sound hollow when slapped, and if you push a thumbnail into the skin it should dent but not puncture it.

Use a sharp knife to cut the stem. Leave about 4 inches or 10 centimetres attached to the pumpkin to ensure a good seal at the top, and to minimise the risk of melds of fungal spores entering and damaging it from the inside.

Handle pumpkins very carefully. Although it's tempting, don't pick them up by the stems - instead, cup them in your hands to avoid damaging the skin.

Scarpe of any residew dirt and place them into a cosy place such as a greenhouse, or you can put them on your windowsill so they recieve plenty of natural light.

This curing process will ensure that the skins harden up and it will also intensify the flavour.

Curing Pumpkins

Storing Pumpkins

Choose a dry, frost-free, well-ventilated shed or room to store your pumpkins in. They will store best at temperatures of up to 20 degrees Celsius.

Avoid placing them directly onto hard surfaces - a rack or wire mesh is best, cushioned with a thick layer of newspaper or straw.

Keep your pumpkins seperate to other fruits such as apples, which can release ethylene gas and accelerate ageing.

Ensure that you check them frequently, and to put pumpkins to use straight away that beyond their best.

                    Like us on FacebookFollow us on Instagram

Pumpkin recipes

Pumpkins are the perfect thing to cook up in your kitchen at this time of year. They are sweet, savoury and delicious - perfect to share with your friends and family!

Our Gardening Angels top picks include pumpkin casseroles or soups. Full of beautiful flavours and very easy to make requiring very little time. Read our short guide on preparing pumpkin flesh for these dishes and read a full how to guide on making Pumpkin Soup & Pumpkin Casserole.

Why not use the delicious flesh to make a Mellow Pumpkin and Cashew Curry? It also uses onion, garlic and chilli - how many of your own ingredients can you grow in your garden or allotment?  Read our recipe here.

Another favourite of ours is Pumpkin Tea Loaf. This moist bread is practically perfect in every way, and it’s easily customisable to your own tastes. So if you like to add nuts or dried fruit, this is the perfect base recipe. Read our recipe here.

Why not also try and make a soft, pillowy pumpkin biscuit full of autumnal spices that melts in your mouth. Read our recipe here.

Pumpkin Recipes

Our Gardening Angels are here to help you grow strong, healthy plants with bumper harvests. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any questions, drop us an email HERE. We’re always here to help!

Request your FREE Brochure

 

Share This With Your Friends!

Login or create an account to earn points.