Growing pumpkins for Halloween in your garden

Growing pumpkins for Halloween in your garden

"From ghoulies and ghosties, and long-legged beasties, and things that go bump in the night - Good Lord, deliver us!" - so goes the traditional prayer, and it's certainly the time of year for it with Halloween only a week away.

Halloween is a time of marking the darkness of winter closing in. It often coincides with the clocks going back, and is associated with the creepy and supernatural. It has its roots in the Christian celebration of All Hallows' Eve, and possibly in the Celtic pagan festival of Samhain. Today it’s largely an excuse to dress up in costume, eat sweets and maybe watch a Tim Burton movie!

One of the icons of Halloween is the pumpkin – often with a face cut out to create a Jack O’Lantern. Growing pumpkins in your garden is great fun and can really add to the Halloween experience.

To grow pumpkins, you will need to plant the seeds in April to June. Plant the seeds around 2.5cm (1in) deep in a pot that’s 5 to 7.5cm (2-3in) in size. Water it and place on a windowsill to germinate.

Next you’ll need to prepare a suitable spot in your garden – pick a sunny, sheltered spot and dig in compost and manure to improve the soil. Once the seedlings are established, plant them around 2-3m (6-10 feet) apart. Feed the pumpkin plants with fertiliser or tomato plant food. Eventually you will need to support the plants by raising them up on wood or brick to stop them from rotting.

You’ll then want to leave the fruit on the plan as long as possible so they’re fully mature, with the stem cracking and skin tough, but harvest them before the first frosts. If you leave it outside in sunlight for 10 days after cutting the fruit from the stalk, or keep them somewhere warm indoors to harden for a few days (such as an airing cupboard), then it will harden up.

There are lots of different varieties of pumpkin to grow, and plenty of recipes that use pumpkin, so it offers plenty of options for your enjoyment! Growing pumpkins for Halloween is also a great way to involve your kids in gardening – if they can see the results and it’s something fun, then that will help them develop a love of gardening rather than seeing it as a chore.

Posted by Iconography Ltd
24th October 2012
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