Pumpkins are a tender annuals with a number of varieties that do well in our Irish climate
IF you are like us in our household, you have finished with the fun and horror of Halloween and are now left with a pumpkin and wondering what to do with it. What we have decided to do is place the pumpkin on the compost heaps, but first we have saved some of its seeds.
We see this as a good way of getting our twins interested in gardening and growing. We will gather the seeds and wash them to remove any flesh. After we have removed as much flesh as possible we will place them on kitchen paper to dry out. Once completely dry we will then place seeds inside a plastic container. If you decide to do the same make sure to label the seeds by writing on the lid. With our seeds we will store in a clean, dry place – somewhere like an un-heated shed or garage. We will then plant these seeds into potting compost next spring and wait for them to germinate. With a bit of luck we will be picking our own Pumpkins next Halloween.
Loosely pack some potting soil in a pot or a container with holes for drainage. Plant two to four pumpkin seeds 1 inch (2.5 cm.) deep in the soil. Water the pumpkin seeds just enough so that the soil is moist but not swamped. Place the pot on a heating pad or sunny window. Once seeds have germinated, thin out all but the strongest seedling, then place the seeding and pot under a light source (bright windowsill or fluorescent light bulb). Keeping the seedling on the heating pad will cause it to grow faster. Once all danger of frost has passed – usually the middle of May, move the pumpkin seedling to the garden. Carefully remove the pumpkin seedling from the pot, but don’t disturb the roots of the plant. Place in a hole 1-2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm.) deeper and wider than the rootball of the pumpkin plant and backfill the hole. Add plenty of organic matter at time of planting out- compost can be used. Tap down around the pumpkin seedling and water thoroughly.
When you plant pumpkin seeds outside, remember that pumpkins need an incredible amount of space to grow. It’s recommended that you plan on a minimum of 20 square feet (2 sq. m.) being needed for each plant. Remember, Pumpkin growing can be rewarding and fun. So get saving those seeds and with some luck you’ll have your own pumpkins to enjoy next Halloween !
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