Pumpkin (The largest pumpkin) is both the name of this herbaceous vegetable plant on an annual cycle and fruit that it produces. Easy to grow, the pumpkin settles in the ground in an area located in the sun. This therefore allows each of us to taste our own production in the fall, and to take advantage of its many benefits. Let’s see how to organize sowing, transplanting, and the care to be taken with this plant of the Cucurbitaceae family until harvest.
Sow the pumpkin
This is in springand more specifically in avrilthat we can start doing the sowing under cover pumpkin. The optimum conditions for obtaining good results are a high luminosity and a minimum temperature of 13°C. These points must be respected to allow good germination of the seeds.
The sowing in place are possible only if the risk of frost is totally eliminated. So logically, they can be done much earlier in the South (in May) than in the North of the Loire (after May 13 which marks the end of the ice saints). Depending on the selected semi mode, here is how to proceed.
Sow under cover
- Fill buckets with planting soil,
- Place 2 pumpkin seeds per bucket at a maximum depth of 3 cm,
- Cover with a thin layer of potting soil,
- Humidify by spraying so as not to dig up the seedlings,
- Place the small pots inside, in the light, away from drafts, and make sure to maintain a sufficient ambient temperature.
- Dig holes 7 cm deep and in diameter, taking care to space them in all directions from 90 to 100 cm,
- Place 3 or 4 seeds in each hole to a depth of 3 cm (this is called seed sowing),
- Cover with potting soil,
- Water in fine rain.
Until the seedlings emerge, it is important that the potting soil be maintained wet, without excess. When the young plants have formed four true leaves, i.e. after about a month, it is time to proceed with the transplanting most vigorous specimens. We therefore transplant in the ground as soon as it is no longer freezing, a variable period depending on the geographical area (and the climate).
Planting young pumpkins in pots in the ground requires prior preparation of the soil as indicated below.
Sow in place
In the southern regions, it is common to sow pumpkins directly in the vegetable garden. To do this, anticipation is essential since it is necessary prepare the soil about two weeks before, which also applies to transplanting seedlings. The soil should be dug, loosened, cleared of stones, plant debris and all weed roots, then amended with compost and finally raked. The method for sow pumpkin in the ground is the following :
Again, it is essential that the soil remains moist until the seedlings emerge. It is recommended to put on each group of seeds a half-bottle returned which has two effects: on the one hand to create a kind of cloche thanks to which the direct rays of the sun will have no trouble warming the air, on the other hand preventing the slugs to devour the tender leaves as soon as they appear. As soon as the seedlings have 5 true leaves, only one plant is kept per pocket. The weakest are to be eliminated.
Maintaining your pumpkin crop
The pumpkin loves deep soils, moderately fresh, very fertile. He hates dry and compact soil. As for the ideal exposure, it must be well sunny. To benefit from a good harvest of pumpkins and enjoy the last days of summer, here are some things to consider with cucurbits.
We really insist on regularity of watering from planting to harvesting the pumpkins because the soil must not dry out. Be careful, constant humidity does not mean excess water. The roots should not be immersed in soggy soil.
A little hoeing session from time to time helps keep the soil loose and keep it cool. It is just as useful for weeding at the foot of plantations.
This plant can benefit from support so that its creeping stems are guided and that the pumpkins do not rest on the damp ground. Thanks to their tendrils, the stems cling to any type of support. Each gardener can therefore find the solution that is perfect, with the means at hand, knowing that this also frees up space in the vegetable garden.
Install a mulch at the foot of the pumpkins from June is essential to keep the soil moist but also to keep the soil warm enough. The good idea is to use plant waste, the effects of which are rapid and greatly beneficial to cucurbits.
Cut or layer: two schools
Some gardeners have a habit of pinch the stems in order to promote the development of the plant and thus benefit from an abundant production. The pinching is done 1 cm above the 4th sheet.
Other gardeners prefer to use the layering because they find that this method boosts fruit growth. This consists of not pinching the stems but on the contrary keeping them at ground level. For layering, simply form a cavity in the ground at the foot of each plant, place the stem there without cutting it, then cover part of it with a small mound of loose soil about fifteen centimeters high. . Of the roots will soon form. They will bring more nutrients to the plant which will consequently produce bigger fruits and in a shorter time.
A contribution of compost required 20 days after establishment then as soon as the plants begin to flower.
Pests and diseases
The black aphids and the green aphids can attack pumpkins in the spring. Feeding on the sap, they cause the leaves to wilt and then become deformed. The plants are weakened. Watering with the jet helps to eliminate the parasites but it is necessary to act as of the first demonstrations. At the same time, it is very useful to apply a solution of black soap or to spray fern manure.
The gray rot, favored by heat and humidity, causes the softening of pumpkins and other squash. Stems and fruits are gradually covered with mold gray and then rot. Prevention relies on spraying horsetail decoction. If the damage is done, it is best to treat as soon as the first signs appear, with sulfur in spray.
Frequent summer rains increase the risk ofpowdery mildew which causes the leaves to dry up early. These should be removed and then burned as soon as possible to prevent the spread of this fungal disease or fungal disease. One can also resort to an antifungal only if it is adapted to the products of the vegetable garden. Better to opt for a approved treatment and make sure it is suitable for cucurbits. It should be noted that powdery mildew, which appears at the very end of summer, and therefore late, has no effect on the harvest, unlike early onset powdery mildew.
In spring, abundant rains (again!) associated with a daytime temperature of 18°C and rather cold nights favor the occurrence of a dangerous fungal disease for plants but fortunately quite rare: the cladosporiose sometimes called gray cloud. It first attacks the foliage and then the fruit. On the latter appear necroses with the appearance of small craters as well as a large number of pinkish points. Pumpkins (and other fruits) affected are unsuitable for sale. All affected plants should be removed.
Harvest the pumpkin
Three to four months after sowing, the pumpkin is mature. It can be harvested as soon as the leaves have turned yellow, or are even very dry, and the peduncle is completely dried out, i.e. in general during September. The harvest must imperatively be completed before the arrival of the first frosts.
Pumpkin can be eaten immediately after harvest. Surplus keeps perfectly for 5 to 6 months in good conditions, namely a clean, well-ventilated, dry room where the temperature is constant, 14°C minimum and 19°C maximum. Some people opt for freezing pumpkins previously reduced to a puree or in the form of a soup, or even simply detailed into cubes then blanched for 60 seconds and cooled.