Laurie Garretson: Pumpkin farming is sweet introduction to gardening | Residence And Backyard

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Laurie Garretson: Pumpkin farming is good introduction to gardening | Home And Garden

This is a time of year when pumpkins are usually very popular. Whether it’s for carving or decorating on Halloween, or decorating and eating on Thanksgiving.

Children can have fun growing pumpkins. If you want to make your kids gardeners, show them how to grow pumpkins, it can be a fun easy-to-grow crop.

Pumpkins even come in different colors – orange, white, blue and silver.

Of course, some pumpkin varieties are delicious as pumpkin pies or dry roasted for a crunchy, healthy snack.

If you decide to grow a pumpkin crop, be sure to check which varieties are the right species for you. Some large carving pumpkins are not good for eating and are mainly used for show and holiday decorations.

Some of the smaller pumpkin varieties may be good for pies, but not jack-o’-lanterns.

Plant your pumpkin seeds in spring after frosty weather has passed. Sow the seeds 1-2 inches deep in clustered rows, plants 4 feet apart. Sow 10 to 12 seeds per plant location, thinning to two plants when seedlings are well established. Water the soil well and mulch the area. Be careful not to splash water on the stems and leaves to prevent disease.

Classic variety pumpkins are deep orange in color at harvest time. You can test by scratching the surface of the squash with your fingernail. If the skin is too hard to dent, the squash should be ready to harvest.

I would suggest cutting the squash off the vine, leaving 2 or 3 inches of stem so you can carry the squash with it.

Aphids and cucumber beetles can become a very common pest on squash plants, so watch out for these pests and treat them with insecticidal soap and/or DE powder.

Until next time, let’s try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a gardener and gardener based in Victoria. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or to Advocate, PO Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.