Easy methods for growing pumpkins in a backyard vegetable garden.
Learn how to plant, grow, care for, harvest and store home-grown pumpkins for use in making pies and jack o'lanterns.
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Pumpkins are a warm season crop believed to be native to North America.
They grow best in the summer months with temperatures in the low to middle 80s.
California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Indiana are the top states for growing pumpkins.
It is estimated that around a billion and a half pounds of pumpkins are produced every year.
If your location isn't on the above list, don't worry; there are varieties of pumpkin that will grow well in almost every climate zone and area.
If you have a gardening area that receives only a couple hours of sunlight a day, most vegetables would not thrive there but you might take a gamble with pumpkins.
Some young gardeners and those young at heart like to scratch their initials on a pumpkin.
The time to do so is when the pumpkin is nearly full grown but still green.
The scratches will heal quickly at that stage and leave permanent markings on the pumpkin skin.
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Heavy rains and early frost are two of the weather events that can prevent pumpkins from producing a bumper crop in your vegetable garden.
Area flooding can soak a field and rot the pumpkin seeds. The seeds will have to be replanted, which can leave a gardener high and dry for the mid-fall harvest.
Most pumpkins grown are carved up to make jack o' lanterns or are used to make pumpkin pies. One variety of pumpkin is very good for both purposes.
Lumina PVP pumpkins are 10 to 12 pound fruits ready for harvesting in 90 days. The growing pumpkins are an eerie white color and perfect for carving. Its bright orange flesh makes great tasting pies.
Planting pumpkins is a great idea for kicking off the new year gardening season with the harvest timed just right for decorating your holiday table with the festive fruits from Halloween through Thanksgiving.
In October 2009, the record for growing giant-sized pumpkins was broken by a pumpkin grown in Ohio that weighed 1, 725 pounds!
The hugest fruit to date is a variety known as Dill's Atlantic Giant that grows in 120 days.
The giant variety was developed from more standard-sized stock by Howard Dill from Nova Scotia in the early 1970s.
In the past, it took years of saving seeds from the largest pumpkins to gradually grow giant sized pumpkins in the home garden.
However, since the overgrown variety was created we have quickly learned how to grow pumpkins that are bigger and bigger.
You may not be interested in growing a one-ton pumpkin, but growing a crop of normal-sized pumpkins can be a lot of fun, and can add some extra goodness to your winter pantry!
Growing pumpkins is very easy if you have some space in your garden for them to sprawl.
Growing Pumpkins to Vegetable Gardening
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