How to Grow the Best Pumpkins

Pumpkin growing can be fun for the entire family as well as your neighbors watching them to see how fast they grow throughout the Summer and Fall.  I love to include my grandchildren in pumpkin growing and harvesting since they change in size and color so rapidly.

There are many colors, shapes, sizes, and varieties of pumpkins but the one common thing they all have in common is the space they need to spread out and grow.

Pumpkins also like very fertile soil and require lots of feeding and water to keep them growing and producing.  It is good to plant pumpkin seeds every 2-3 weeks to extend your season and make sure you have plenty of pumpkins.

I will share my methods for growing pumpkins and the varieties I enjoy growing each year.

Pumpkins can be grown as decoration for the Fall and Halloween seasons, and they can be grown to eat the inner flesh making all kinds of dishes including pumpkin pie.

Of course, you can also grow them for carving to show for Halloween as we did in the above picture.

Favorite Pumpkins

Cinderella

This pumpkin is known for its beautiful shape from the Disney show Cinderella and has a deep orange color.  It is also one of the best-tasting pumpkins used in cooking.  The pumpkins are shorter and wide shaped weighing much more than others that are similar in size.  This is also a good pumpkin to grow to eat and use in baking, it is known for its flavor and dense meat.

Large White

There are many varieties to choose from that are white, and the shapes can vary from larger round to squatty and wide.  They are great used for decorating for Fall.

Mini

There are many varieties of mini pumpkins available and they have a wide variety of colors and shapes.  I have grown, white, orange, orange, and white striped, and even green and white striped mini pumpkins.

Large Carving 

These are best for carving and have that traditional orange pumpkin color.

Warted

These pumpkins are great to look at with warts covering the outside of the pumpkin, I have seen them in orange and green each adding their own distinctive look.  They are not easily carved so keep that in mind when growing them or purchasing a pumpkin with warts.

Sugar

This is a great pumpkin for using to bake and make pies, and other great-tasting treats.

How to Grow the Best Pumpkins and Planting Pumpkin Guide

Pumpkin seeds are the best way to start your pumpkin plants in a very sunny location in your garden by directly sowing them in the area you have prepared in your garden.

Prepare the soil by adding organic matter and sand to provide the best growing conditions.

Pumpkins need lots of room to grow and spread out.

A good companion plant is corn and beans planted near the base of the corn to maximize production for the space the pumpkins will take up.  Marigolds are also good to plant in the area to reduce the chance of aphids attacking your plants.

Caring for Pumpkins

Find the sunniest location in your garden to plant your pumpkins since they require 8 hours a day or more to grow the best pumpkins.

Pumpkins require very fertile soil since they are heavy feeders that will need to be fertilized several times during the growing season.  They also need lots of water to keep them producing pumpkins and to keep them growing larger and larger.

Like all vegetables and fruit plants, it is a good idea to water them consistently in the morning or late evening so that the water is absorbed by the plant roots.  I also recommend you water the roots by using a drip system to keep water off the leaves to prevent diseases.

Harvesting Pumpkins

This pumpkin weighed in at 61lbs and best of all was harvested with the help of my grandson.

Pumpkins should be left on the vine to cure, when the stem turns brown and the vine is dried up that is the time to harvest your pumpkins.

It is a good idea to leave several inches of the stem on the pumpkin when cutting it off the vine.

Typically pumpkins are harvested in Early October, as long as they are not carved they will last for several weeks or even 2-3 months.

Collecting Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are one of the easiest to save for planting next year, they are large and easy to dry for storage.  Once you remove the seeds from inside the pumpkins you need to rinse them off and lay them out on parchment paper to dry for 2 weeks before storing them for next year’s planting.

Pumpkin Carving Kit

To carve the best pumpkin designs it is best to use tools made for pumpkin carving and here are some great choices for you.

Pumpkin Designs

To design your pumpkin for carving you can create your own or you can go online to get great ideas for you and your children to use.

Have fun growing your own pumpkins but make sure you have lots of space since pumpkin plants need lots of space in a sunny location.

Now that you know how to grow the best pumpkins and all the varieties for a great Fall explosion of color, and different looks you need to get started with your family to grow your own pumpkins.

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