Pumpkins should be grown in a sunny spot where the soil is fertile, and well-drained.
The top of a compost heap makes an ideal location providing it gets plenty of sunshine.
Water freely during hot spells and apply a deep mulch of compost, peat or lawn cuttings to preserve moisture.
Avoid watering overhead to prevent mildew.
Varieties may be induced to bear larger fruits by heaping soil over the axils of fruit-bearing laterals, where further roots will then be produced to take up more nutrients and moisture from the soil.
Week 16: Sow one or two seeds (on edge) approximately 20-25mm (¾"-1") deep in 75mm (3") pot of seed compost, or one seed per cell in cell trays.
Germinate at a temperature of 10°C (50°F)
Germination should take about a week.
Gradually harden off the young plants in a cold frame prior to planting out.
If roots appear from the bottom of the pot before the weather is suited to planting out, pot up plants into 125-150mm (5"-6") pots and grow on until planting out time.
Week 22: Providing all late frosts* have passed, plant out 900mm (36") apart.
*As an insurance against unexpected late frost cover the plants with cloches.
If necessary, sow more seeds directly into the soil and cover with cloches until they become established.
Pots on Compost Heap
Plants ready for
Plants Growing On
Week 27: Pinch out the growing tips of trailing varieties to encourage the production of laterals which tend to bear most of the female flowers.
Female flowers are distinguished by the bulbous ovary behind the petals.
Feed plants weekly with a high potash fertiliser after fruit sets.
To encourage plants to put its energy into producing large fruit,train the growing points to ensure they do not interfere with each other.
Similarly,remove some fruit to leave a maximum two or three fruits per plant.
Ready for harvesting
Before the fruits become too large to move, raise them up onto a piece of wood or a brick to lift them above soil level to protect them from rotting.
As the fruit begin to ripen, remove any leaves that are shading the fruit, this ensures they get maximum light to ripen.
Week 38: onwards cut small-fruited varieties as they mature during summer and use immediately.
When the stem cracks and the skin becomes very tough, the fruit is ready to be picked.
Store fruits for winter use in a cool,(min 10°C / 50°F) frost-free shed.
Pumpkins can be stored for four to six months.