We asked our friend, Katinka, how to grow pumpkins.
How to grow pumpkins that the neighbors will admire! Photo and story by Katinka Rubin Michaud
Every year, her house is a focal point around Halloween due to the GIANT pumpkins she and her husband Yannick roll around into their front yard.
The good news is, it's really easy to grow pumpkins in containers.
I love big pumpkins. They are so easy to grow and they will always impress visitors to your garden, especially at Halloween. All a pumpkin needs is lots of sun - a minimum of six hours a day - and space to sprawl.
I start my pumpkin seeds indoors, four weeks before the Canadian Victoria Day Weekend, which is the time when you can transplant the pumpkin seedlings outdoors without the risk of night frost.
Alternatively, you can plant the pumpkin seeds directly in the ground on or after the Victoria Day Weekend. (Around the last week of May.)
Plant the seeds 1-2 inches deep. The shoots will always find their way to the surface, so there’s no need to worry about whether the seeds are correctly placed in the soil.
When do you plant your pumpkin seeds?
Choose from these great seeds. They will all result in the greatest crop you have ever enjoyed!
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Which pumpkin seeds have worked well for you?
The seeds should begin to sprout in seven to ten days and most pumpkin varieties will mature in 85 - 125 days. The time will depend on the variety of pumpkin, the climate, and the number of daylight hours.
The plants will start to produce both male and female flowers approximately ten weeks after planting. With help from bees gathering pollen from the center of the male flowers and depositing it inside the female flowers, your beautiful pumpkins are almost guaranteed to succeed.
The pumpkins are green initially, but will begin to change color at the end of August when the nights get colder around the same time as the leaves change colour.
Have pumpkin growing tips to share?
Pumpkin plants are very resistant, and the large leaves help to keep the soil moist and the weeds down.
I rarely water the plants or add additional compost. I simply leave the plants to spread out and take over part of my garden - big pumpkin vines can grow up to 30 feet.
You can almost see them grow day by day. You can prune or redirect the vine, but I always leave it to Mother Nature to plan the growing route, which is always straight towards the sun.
Every year the big pumpkins take over part of my grass paths between my vegetable gardens and I have to carefully mow around them.
Pumpkin plants are traditionally grown low to the ground, but they can climb over fences, shrubs or any other obstacle on their path.
One year, I had a vine growing up a small lilac tree with perfectly round pumpkins.
How do you manage your pumpkin plants?
You can usually pick the pumpkins at the beginning of October - just in time to use them for Halloween decorations, delicious fall meals, or baking.
It is best to handle the pumpkin fruit as little as possible, but it's possible to make an adjustment when the pumpkin fruit is about a month old in order to encourage that classic round pumpkin look.
I personally don't do this, but my pumpkins still turn out pretty close to perfectly spherical.
To sum up, plant your pumpkin seeds, transplant the seedlings to a sunny spot where they have space to spread, and then just sit back and admire your very own glorious golden pumpkins!
Have tips to share?
Use the comments box below to help other people benefit from your experience.
We love to hear from our readers: please share if you have some great tips on how to grow pumpkins.