Should You Bathe 5 Monhs Old Baby In The Night The Secrets to Growing Big Healthy Pumpkins

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The Secrets to Growing Big Healthy Pumpkins

Growing your own pumpkins is really fun. Watching the vines grow, flowers bloom and little pumpkins form is truly exciting. They require between 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day, rich soil improved with compost and plenty of space or something to climb. They are extremely easy to grow and can come out of your compost, without any help from you. The variety, well who knows, it depends on what you bought at the supermarket and what seeds went into the compost. They do have some quirky characteristics and it can be very frustrating when the vine is extremely healthy and you only get male flowers. It can also be extremely devastating if you think you’re going to get a pumpkin only to find it has fallen. Why are you asking yourself what happened, what am I doing wrong? My answer is – probably nothing. Pumpkins are notorious for not producing fruit.

Pumpkins belong to the genus Cucurbita and to the Cucurbitaceae family which includes squash, watermelon, rockmelon, squash, cucumbers and pumpkins. The word pumpkin comes from the word “pepon” which is Greek for “big melon” It is classified as a vine and needs a lot of room to grow. Pumpkins are monoecious, which means having both male and female flowers on the same plant, so you only need one plant to produce fruit.

Preparing the ground

Pumpkins like a soil pH between 6 to 7.2. If your soil is on the acidic side, I suggest that you add some gardener’s lime and if it is on the high side – alkaline – then you can lower it by applying sulfur. To prepare the soil for pumpkins, I suggest that you incorporate lots of compost and cow or sheep manure. A good handful of blood and bone plus potassium will be useful. Pumpkins are an annual crop and need rich organic soil so they can grow quickly and produce fruit before the winter cold sets in. The soil also needs to drain well and if your soil is clay then I suggest you make a mound using good quality loam. This will lift their roots above the clay and poor drainage.

Place your Pumpkin

Pumpkins need a lot of room and can crowd out other plants if left unchecked. Now if you have a small garden and don’t want to be invaded by the trifid plants, then I suggest growing them next to a fence or a shed or putting in some trellis and taming the tendrils upwards. The good point about tying them is that it takes the fruit off the ground away from pests like slugs and snails and diseases like mildew. If space is not an issue, then just let them roam. You will find that you have a floating sea of ​​large pumpkin leaves enveloping your garden. If they get into any mischief, just clip them back, it won’t hurt them!

Propagation of Pumpkins

The best time to plant pumpkin seeds is in the spring, when the soil and air temperature warm up. If you start them in the vegetable, the soil temperature must be at least 20C for germination and the air temperature 22C. You can start them in pots in a warm house if you want, but the garden soil should still be over 20C when you plant them. They do not like the cold or frost.

When planting the seed directly in the garden, make a mound about 1/2 meter wide and plant 3-4 seeds about 4-5 cm deep. Depending on the warmth of the soil they should sprout within about 7-10 days. When the baby seedlings have between 4-6 leaves, pinch the weakest plants, leaving the strongest ones. If you don’t pinch the weak ones, the mound will be crowded and none of the pumpkins will thrive. If you don’t want to ignore them, replant them elsewhere in the vegetable patch.

Favorable conditions

Pumpkins are grown in summer, it takes between 70-120 days before they are ready to harvest and this is usually in early to mid fall. Pumpkins do not like scorching temperatures and will stall and stop growing. They are shallow rooted, wilt easily and therefore it is important to prepare the soil with lots of compost and animal manure to help increase the water holding capacity of the soil. If the soil retains its water, then it is available for the plant to replace the moisture it loses through its leaves. Pumpkins do not like to be water stressed and do not like the flood and starvation watering regime. It can cause them to break up. They like nice even watering and the best time is in the morning. If you water at night and the leaves get wet, powdery mildew can start. Pumpkins do not like wind and must be protected from it. Heat and strong winds can cause woodiness, which makes the pumpkin very unpleasant to eat. It is also thought that too much wind can cause scarring on the flesh.

The vine takes about 10 weeks before it starts producing flowers and the males are first. They are on long thin stems (called pedicels) and there are lots more of them than females. If you peak inside the male flower, you’ll find a long thin structure called a stamen, which produces the pollen. The female flowers have a shorter pedicel and sit closer to the vine. If you peak inside the female flower, you will see the stigma where the pollen is received. The ovary is at the base of the petals and is where the seeds are formed.

Fertilization of the ovary

The flowers open only for 1 day; just before dawn, the flower petals begin to unfold and open over a 4-hour period. At midday they begin to close slowly and by dusk they have closed for good. Pumpkins are pollinated by insects, especially native and honeybees, so it’s important to encourage them into your garden. Often the female flowers ovary swells and begins to look like a pumpkin is formed. But disaster, it turns brown and falls. This happens because it has not been fertilized due to lack of bees. There are several things you can do to encourage them:

  • Do not use systemic (poisons that are absorbed into the plant and can last for several weeks) sprays, because many of them kill the bees when they eat the nectar of the flowers.
  • Plant French lavender Lavandual denatateit blooms almost all year round.
  • Plant lots of Iceland Poppies – honey bees love them
  • Provide water for the bees, they will tell their friends and more bees will visit.

Now, if the weather has been beastly or too hot or too cold and you notice that not many bees are buzzing around, you can try to fertilize them yourself. There are 2 methods, hand pollination using the male flower or using a toothbrush. To pollinate by hand, pick male flowers, remove petals, then spray the pollen on the stigma of female flowers. I tried the tooth brush method once, where you gently brush the tooth brush over the stamen, then gently brush it over the stigma but it didn’t work. I suggest you try the first method.

To save seed from harvested pumpkins, store it for a month, then scoop out the flesh, wash it off, and dry the seeds on a paper towel. Then store them in a clean dry glass jar in a cool dry place away from sunlight. It’s also a good idea to label the bottle with the pumpkin and date variety. I guarantee if you don’t you will forget in a few years what variety it is.

Pumpkins are notorious for cross-pollinating with each other, to ensure a true type, save seeds from one variety grown in isolation. You may need to hand pollinate it to ensure there is no pollen contamination.

Why is my Pumpkin not producing Fruits?

I mentioned earlier that pumpkins are notorious for not producing fruit and there are many reasons.

  • Pumpkins are sensitive to weather and temperature. If it’s too hot, too cold, too windy, too rainy, then you might not get fruit. I suggest you try hand pollination especially if the temperatures are over 30C. Remember, if the weather is extreme and temperatures fluctuate widely; then many plants shut down until conditions are more suitable.
  • It is assumed that seed younger than 3 years, produces more male flowers than female flowers.
  • Lack of insects in your garden. Bees, ants and other insects are essential in the transfer of pollen process. If they are not present, then the pollen will not be transferred to the female flower – so no pumpkins.
  • Heavy rain can damage the pollen, which means that even if it is transmitted by insects, it will not fertilize the flower and thus again no fruit.
  • One trick to try to encourage more female flowers is to cut off the apical (also known as terminal) bud (top point of growth) and encourage lateral (side) growth.
  • Make sure when you prepare the bed that you put in some potassium (encourages flowers) and don’t put in too much nitrogen e.g. blood and bone, which causes excessive leaf growth.

Pests and Diseases

It is the normal pests like slugs and snails that attack the leaves. You can try to pick them off by hand, especially after rain or use a snail trap of beer in a glass jar 1/2 sunk into the ground. They crawl in, get drunk and drown. There is also the finely crushed eggshell circle that you put around every plant that they hate to crawl over. There is a new product for pots that is a copper strip that you fasten around the pot. There is also a spray to repel them but I haven’t tried it.

If you have problems with caterpillars, I suggest using an organic spray called Dipel, which is the active ingredient. Bacillus thuringiensis. It will not harm you, your children, pets or other beneficial insects. Long-lived pyrethrum is also good for sucking insects such as whitefly and aphids, but also kills caterpillars.

In relation to affections there are the good and the bad. The bad ones are known as the 28 spotted and they eat the leaves so you have to watch out for them and pick them off by hand.

The disease pumpkins are most prone to is also powdery mildew and it can spread really quickly in hot humid conditions. To try to control this disease, you can use cow’s milk, sprayed on the leaves every two weeks with a solution of 1 part of cow’s milk to 10 parts of water. The good affections identified by yellow and black stripes and they eat the mildew, so don’t kill them. I also recommend watering in the morning, not overhead watering but watering at ground level to prevent the spores from splashing onto the leaves.

Harvesting and storage

The best part of growing pumpkins is harvesting them. You watched them grow, fed them, no pest or disease got them and then you think, I don’t know when to harvest them. Well, it lasts between 3-4 months, they should be a nice color, sound holy when you tap on them and the skin should be hard and not show any indentations if you press your fingernails into them. It is really important that you cut them off with at least 5-10 cm of the stem attached. This prevents mold from entering the pumpkin and helps extend their shelf life.

Choosing the right storage space is essential if you want to have pumpkin out of season. It must be well ventilated, without direct sunlight and cool. It also needs to be dry and not wet. The pumpkin must also be healthy, no break in the flesh and there should be no sign of mold. If there is, then eat it immediately, it will not store.

A final tip to help them grow healthy and strong is to feed them every two months with potassium and liquid fertilizer drink. Can be cow, sheep manure or worm liquid.

In order for pumpkins to grow successfully, they must have rich organic soil, be in full sun, good weather and regular moisture. If you follow these simple guidelines and the weather is consistent neither too hot nor too cold, you will have beautiful healthy pumpkins that you can keep and eat and eat when it’s out of season.

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