Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:39 pm
Mighty pumpkins are the pride of the gardener and give a delicious soup in late summer. Their cultivation is relatively unproblematic – once the plant is sown. How best to do this, we describe here.
Under the keyword “pumpkin” includes both zucchini and non-edible ornamental pumpkins, as well as bottle gourds, the giant edible pumpkins (which are always weighed and measured in competition), Hokkaidos, pear and musk pumpkins.
If you didn’t preplant pumpkin plants in the greenhouse or windowsill in April, you can make up for it by sowing seeds directly outdoors by early June. However, you must wait for the last night frosts. Sowing after the beginning of June is not recommended, as the pumpkins often do not ripen then. The best date for sowing directly into the open ground is between the 10th and 20th of May.
How to sow pumpkin?
When sowing, you put the pumpkin seeds with the pointed side down in the soil, so that the core is stuck, but still visible. Pumpkin seeds always have a pointed side from which the root sprouts. This pointed side should be down when sowing. Jiffy pots or small individual pots filled with soil are suitable for sowing. In each pot you put then only 1 grain.
In the open ground, wet, cold soil is death for the pumpkins. If the soil is not yet dry and warm enough, you better wait a week (even with the limited time: this week pumpkins quickly catch up). The seeds thereby put about 1-2 cm deep. Here it is better to put 2 seeds per sowing site in the ground.
Pumpkin seeds can also be presoaked
After sowing, place the pots in a bright and warm place at about 20-23 ° C. Covering with foil or a small propagation house will accelerate germination. Another tip: If you let the seeds pre-swell in lukewarm water 24 h before, the seeds will also germinate faster.
After one week the first pumpkin seeds have germinated and after 3 weeks the seedlings are big enough to be planted out. You can always plant out only from mid-May, after the last possible frosts until mid-June. Planting after mid-June usually does not produce good yields, as does seeding from the beginning of June.
Pumpkins need a lot of space
Pumpkins need plenty of space, sunlight and warmth. As a rule, you should count on one plant 1.5 – 2 square meters of space. The climbing species can be raised on a climbing frame. All others need a dry soil under them so that they do not rot. A bed of straw or mulch film will help here.
Summer squash, like zucchini, are harvested when immature. Harvesting begins in early summer and continues until autumn. The first winter squash can be harvested around the end of August. The fruits should be ripe, the skin should feel hard and have the typical color of the variety. The best way to recognize ripeness is by the base of the stem. It should be hard and dry. When harvesting, always leave a piece of the stem on the pumpkin, it will then hold better. Before the first night frosts, you must pick all pumpkins, otherwise they are gone. Store the fruit in a cool, dry place, but frost-free. Ripe harvested and well stored pumpkins can be stored until spring.