What You Should Know About Growing Pumpkins for Halloween

If you want to grow your own pumpkin for Halloween there are certain tips that will insure you a successful result. While growing a pumpkin is certainly not hard experienced pumpkin growers have paved the way by recommending certain techniques for growing a pumpkin that will blow your family and friends away when Halloween arrives. Here are some tips on what you should know about growing pumpkins for Halloween-

Planting your pumpkin: Beginning pumpkin growers must understand that it is crucial to wait until the chance of frost is over, or be prepared to spend time protecting the young seedling. Keep in mind however that if you direct sow seeds into the soil, you can plant earlier than seedlings. The seeds will need warm soil to germinate and while you can successfully grow giant pumpkins in most areas by direct seeding, you have taken a couple weeks off the growing season. You should also note that if you are growing anything other than the giant pumpkin varieties, the season is amply long enough in most areas to direct sow your seeds. You should also be sure that if you have grown the seedlings indoors, you should “harden them off” a few days prior to planting. This is accomplished by placing them outside during the day for a few days prior to planting. Each day you can extend the hours and make sure to bring them in at night. Whether you planting seedlings or seed the process if pretty much the same. You should:

1. Dig a hole in the bed you prepared deep enough for the entire peat pot.
2. Fill in soil around the pot and plant. You can cover any or the entire stem up to the primary (first) set of leaves.
3. Try to avoid disturbing the plant in the pot if at all possible during the entire planting process. Most plants will experience absolutely zero transplant shock if handled gently. Make sure that you do not push the soil heavily down around the plant. Keep in mind that you can always add nutrient rich compost if the soil compacts and sinks.
4. You should thoroughly water the seedling immediately after planting with a light solution of liquid fertilizer.
5. Always keep the soil around the seedling moist. If you prepared the bed properly, the roots should be surrounded by plenty of nutrients for its early life. You will not need water too deeply at first as the roots are shallow.
6. You should also avoid over watering at this point as you do not want to wash nutrients out of the bed that you prepared.

Caring for your vines-It is crucial that you take steps to protect your pumpkin vines from disease and pests. Here are some ways to help do that:
1. Cover your vines with soil. This will help promote secondary root growth if you leave the soil moist. Covering the vines can also cut down on the potential for insect damage. The disadvantage to this method is you will not know what is going on below the surface. But most experienced pumpkin growers feel that the advantage far exceeds the risk.
2. Use the soil that is best for your area. Check with a nursery professional on the recommended soil for your climate. This will help reduce the possibility of disease infected soil.
3. The vines of a pumpkin plant are not susceptible to many diseases. However the leaves are far more susceptible. Any diseases that can harm the vine part of the plant will destroy the leaves first. A quick search online can tell you what pests are most common in your area and what insecticide is recommended.

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