How To Grow Pumpkins
Squashes and pumpkins are a must for any fall decor and dining. Here is Linsey Evans giving some very helpful tips on growing and harvesting squash and pumpkins.
The best way of growing pumpkins and butternut squashes is to create planting pockets for them. Dig a whole 30 centimeters square and 30 centimeters deep and fill it with some compost. Put a mound of soil onto the top, and then you can plant the seeds, or the young plants, directly into these mounds- where they can feed off the compost beneath.
You should plant two seeds per planting pocket, on their sides, around about May and June. I always start my seeds off inside. I fill a three inch pot with some compost and then drop two seeds into each pot.
I always top the pots with a little bit of vermiculite. This is actually perlite, a light-weight substance and it stops the tops of the pots drying out. I then place the pots in a propagator, give them a bit of water and wait for them to germinate.
Once they've germinated, I move them into the greenhouse and gradually harden them off - that means getting them used to the outside air temperature; bringing them out in the day and taking them back at night before I plant them in their planting pockets. Don't assume that the female flowers - those are the ones with the little baby butternut squashes forming behind them - have been pollinated. You may need to hand pollinate.
This is quite simple: just take a cotton swab or a small paintbrush and dip it into the center of one of the male flowers and transfer some of the pollen into the female flowers. That way, you can ensure that all of the flowers have been pollinated. You will be very lucky if you get as many as six butternut squashes per plant.
They don't produce many, but they really are worth waiting for. They also take up an awful lot of space and I've had quite a bit of success planting my butternut squashes in between my sweet-corn canes because then you get to use the space underneath the sweet-corn and they quite enjoy growing with one another. Pumpkins and squashes can be damaged by soil-born fungal diseases.
So, to prevent this, lift them off the ground using bricks or something similar. This also helps to protect the fruit while it's ripening. The squashes are ripe when the skin is hard and there's about two inches of stem.
Cut them away from the main plant using a sharp knife. Make sure you harvest your squashes before the frost. So those are my tips for getting the most out of your butternut squashes and pumpkin crops. .