Now is a great time to start growing seeds. Whilst we may have some extra time on our hands why not have a go at planting some seeds. If you want to plant pumpkins for Halloween then they’ll need planting around July. But why not have a practice run for Halloween and plant some now too.
Planting the Pumpkin
Pumpkins need quite a bit of space, so choose an area in the garden where you’d like to plant them. If you don’t have a garden you could try them in the house in a large bucket. As long as they get sunlight and plenty of water. Plant the seeds around 2 inches deep in rich compost. It may be a good idea to plant two or three just incase one doesn’t sprout.
Looking after the plant
Pumpkin plants need lots of water, but you can still over water them. When watering them add plenty of water allowing the soil to soak it up. If the soil is already wet avoid watering and wait until it needs it. Avoid getting water on the leafs because this can cause rotting. When the pumpkins start to grow and turns orange use less water. Regularly weed the plant, don’t allow weeds to grow around the pumpkin plant. Keep an eye out for pests removing them from the leaves as they can kill the plant.
Harvesting the Pumpkin
Once the pumpkins are bright orange and have a hard shell they are ready. Don’t harvest softer pumpkins as they aren’t ready and will go off quickly. To get the pumpkin off, cut the stem a few inches up, breaking the stem will cause rotting so ideally use a pair of shears. Store the pumpkins in a cool dry place.
What to do with the Pumpkin
The Pumpkin can be carved, if you’re growing them for a halloween they’re great for decoration to keep on the doorstep at halloween, here are some pictures of carving ideas. Alternatively it doesn’t have to be halloween themed, if you grow them earlier it still great fun to draw patterns or designs on the pumpkin or create characters that don’t need to be carved.
Don’t let the pumpkin go to waste, they can be used for Healthy Recipes. Pumpkin is low in calories but high in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, therefore a Healthy option to add to most meals. The flesh of the pumpkin can be cut up and used in soups, stir fry’s, chilli’s, curries, pasta dishes, roasted to eat alone, or cut up and roasted to use as a substitute to chips. It can also be used as a desert to make pumpkin cookies, muffins or even to flavour ice cream.
Don’t forget the seeds! There are many Health benefits linked to pumpkin seeds and they are a very tasty snack. Roast the pumpkin seeds for eating, try different herbs and spices for more flavour, but avoid salt, because this increases blood pressure!