Sweet pumpkin is a unique source of vitamin K and E, as well as folic acid. The crop yield directly depends on the timing of planting, choice of variety and care.
Peculiarities of growing pumpkin in open ground
Pumpkin is a unique fruit that botanists consider a berry, and gardeners grow it as a vegetable. The plant is impressive with a variety of species and varieties. To get a generous harvest, plant the appropriate variety, follow agrotechnical rules and choose the appropriate method of planting pumpkin in the soil.
Pumpkin growing secrets
How to plant a pumpkin in open ground? Pumpkin seeds are planted as seedlings or immediately in open ground. Each method has its advantages:
- The seedling method accelerates the fruiting of the crop, allows you to get a harvest in regions with a short warm period;
- Sowing seeds in the soil simplifies the planting procedure, saves time and protects the plant from stress during transplanting.
Most types and varieties of pumpkin belong to heat-loving plants. Therefore, it is better to plant seeds in the soil after the onset of real heat. When to plant pumpkin seeds in the soil? Seeds germinate quickly in soil warmed to +13+14 °C, and normal development takes place at an ambient temperature of +20+25 °C. The first seedlings may die when the temperature drops to -1 °C.
It will take 115-130 days from the appearance of the first sprouts to the ripening of pumpkin fruits. If the summer in the region is too short, it is better to sow seeds for seedlings in April, so that in June the seedlings can be transplanted into the soil for further cultivation. An area of 1 m2 is enough to grow one bush. But the pumpkin is planted in such a place that the powerful stems do not interfere with other plants.
The culture is able to climb the supports with the help of tendrils, so its stems are launched on fences or temporary supports are installed from 2-3 sticks up to 1.5 m high. Another layer is made under the growing fruits. Thus, the plant will not be in the way of short plants.
What type and variety of pumpkin to choose for planting
All types of pumpkin (about 20) have the same fruit structure with external differences. The following varieties are found in gardens and fields:
- Ambercup Squash;
- Atlantic Giant;
- Autumn Gold Pumpkins;
- Baby Bear Pumpkins;
- Baby Boo Pumpkins;
- Big Max Pumpkin;
- Big Moon Pumpkins;
- Blue Prince Pumpkins.
On the basis of these types of pumpkin, breeders have bred dozens of varieties and hybrids that differ:
- crust thickness;
- fruit size;
- the color of the bark and pulp;
- pulp thickness;
- the presence or absence of a seed coat;
- taste qualities.
General rules for planting and caring for pumpkins
Before planting a pumpkin in the ground, gardeners choose a planting method, prepare a bed and carry out a set of agrotechnical measures. Let’s figure out how to plant and grow crops.
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Planting pumpkin seeds in the soil
Dig the area for growing pumpkin to a depth of 40 cm. Pre-apply 2 buckets of humus, 0.5 buckets of sawdust, 1 glass of nitrophoska and 1 liter of wood ash per 1 m. Pour hot water over the bed.
What to put in the hole when planting a pumpkin? Grind any grass and nettle, add humus, wood ash. Mix all the ingredients and pour a handful into each hole before planting the seedlings or pumpkin seeds.
Seedlings grown in a greenhouse or windowsill should be transplanted into the holes using the transshipment method. Be sure to water the plants after transplanting into the soil.
Prepare pumpkin seeds for sowing in an open garden as follows:
- calibrate, removing damaged and dark-coated seeds;
- put in salt water for 5 minutes so that the “pacifiers” float away;
- heat for 2–3 hours at a temperature of 60 °C;
- pour for 30 minutes with a light solution of potassium permanganate for disinfection;
- soak in an aqueous infusion of ashes for 12 hours so that the sprout will hatch faster.
How to plant with seeds?
Sow the seeds in the soil step by step:
- Make holes 5-10 cm deep in a square-nest method 80×80 cm;
- Spread the seeds with the beak down in 3-5 pieces. in one hole, maintaining a distance of 3-5 cm between them;
- In light soil, plant seeds at a depth of 8-10 cm, in hard soil – at 4-5 cm;
- Sprinkle the seeds with loose soil, lightly tamp and cover with a film until sprouts appear. In warm weather, the first shoots will appear in 6-8 days.
- Immediately remove the film or cut holes for the sprouts. After the emergence of all seedlings, remove the extra seedlings, leave the two strongest sprouts in the hole.
The pumpkin was planted. What’s next?
After planting seedlings or germinating seeds in the soil, provide the plant with proper care.
Plan the following care activities:
- Watering and loosening. Water the pumpkin immediately after planting, and thereafter at least 2-3 times a week. The wide leaves of the pumpkin evaporate a lot of moisture, so start watering with 1 liter per plant and increase the amount of water to 10 liters. When the fruits reach the ripening stage, stop watering. Loosen the soil between the bushes until the leaves cover the bed completely.
- Bush formation. Take away the extra side shoots on the pumpkin bushes, leaving the main stem and two side ones. Leave 3-4 ovaries of each branch. Count 5 leaves after the last ovary and pinch the stems so that the plant directs all nutrients to fruit ripening. To strengthen the bush, sprinkle long stems with moist soil.
- Feeding. Feed the plant with liquid fertilizers. If the soil is fertilized before planting the pumpkin, water the plants 2-3 times during the entire season with a solution of bird droppings or mullein with the addition of 1 tbsp. l. mineral fertilizer. On poor soils, apply the same fertilizers, but apply them more often – once every 2 weeks.
For preventive purposes, treat the pumpkin with an infusion of onion husks, wood ash, and a soapy solution. Next to the pumpkin, plant dill and onions, which are not liked by slugs and other bugs. With the appearance of pests on plants, drastic measures with the use of fungicidal and insecticidal drugs will be necessary. Apply chemicals before flowering, after flowering and a month before harvesting.
Growing pumpkin brings gardeners not only benefit, but also pleasure. If you choose the right type of culture and provide quality care, during the season the pumpkin will grow to such a size that a few fruits will be enough to prepare dishes for the whole winter.
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