Can You Plant The Seeds From The Flower Buds Weed The Secrets to Growing Big Healthy Pumpkins

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The Secrets to Growing Big Healthy Pumpkins

Growing your own pumpkins is really good fun. Watching the vines grow, the flowers bloom, and the little pumpkins form is really exciting. They need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day, rich soil improved with compost, and plenty of space or something to climb on. They are very easy to grow and can burst out of your compost without your help. The variety, who knows, depends on what you bought in the supermarket and which seeds went to the compost heap. They have some strange characteristics and it can be very frustrating if the vine is extremely healthy and you only have male flowers. It can also be very devastating when you think you’re going to get a pumpkin and find it’s gone. Why are you asking what happened, what am I doing wrong? My answer is – probably nothing. Pumpkins are notorious for not producing fruit.

Pumpkins belong to the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae, which includes squash, watermelons, cantaloupes, pumpkins, cucumbers, and gourds. The word pumpkin comes from the word “pepon”, which means “big melon” in Greek. It is classified as a vine and needs a lot of space to grow. Pumpkins are monoecious, meaning they have both male and female flowers on the same plant, so you only need one plant to produce fruit.

Soil preparation

Pumpkins like a soil pH between 6 and 7.2. If your soil is on the acidic side, I suggest adding some horticultural lime, but if it is on the highly alkaline side, you can lower it by using sulfur. To prepare the soil for the pumpkins, I suggest adding lots of compost and cow or sheep manure. A good handful of blood and bones and potash will be useful. Pumpkins are an annual crop and need rich, organic soil to grow quickly and produce fruit before winter’s cold hits. The soil should also have good drainage and if your soil is clay, I suggest making a mound with a good quality loam. This will lift their roots above clay and poor drainage.

Installing your pumpkin

Pumpkins need a lot of space and can crowd out other plants if left unchecked. If you have a small garden and don’t want to be attacked by trifid plants, then I suggest growing them next to a fence or shed or putting up some trellis and aligning the tendrils over that. The upside of tying them is that it gets the fruit off the ground away from pests like slugs and snails and diseases like mold. If space is not an issue, let them roam. You will find that your garden is wrapped in a floating sea of ​​large pumpkin leaves. If they get into trouble, just trim them back and they’ll be fine!

Propagation of pumpkins

The best time to plant pumpkin seeds is in the spring when the soil and air temperatures warm up. If you plant them in a vegetable garden, the soil temperature should be at least 20 C for germination and the air temperature should be 22 C. You can plant them in pots in a warm house if you prefer, but the garden soil should still be above 20 C when you plant them outside. They do not like cold or frost.

When planting the seed directly in the garden, make a mound about 1/2 meter wide and plant 3-4 seeds about 4-5 cm deep. Depending on soil heat, they should germinate in about 7-10 days. When the young seedlings have between 4-6 leaves, pinch off the weakest plants and leave the strongest ones. If you don’t pinch out the weak ones, the mound will be overcrowded and no pumpkins will thrive. If you don’t want to neglect them, replant them somewhere else in the greenhouse.

Favorable conditions

Pumpkins are grown in the summer, they take 70 to 120 days before they are ready to harvest and this is usually early to mid fall. Such pumpkins do not like high temperatures and will die and stop growing. They are shallow-rooted, wilt easily, so it is important to prepare the soil with plenty of compost and animal manure to increase the soil’s water-holding capacity. If the soil retains water, it is available to the plant to replace the moisture it loses through the leaves. Pumpkins do not like water stress and do not like the regime of watering due to flooding and starvation. It can cause them to split. They like a nice steady watering and the best time is in the morning. If we water at night and the leaves get wet, powdery mildew can appear. Pumpkins do not like wind and must be protected from it. Heat and strong winds can cause woody growth, making the pumpkin very unpleasant to eat. It is also believed that too much wind can scar the flesh.

It takes about 10 weeks for the vine to start producing flowers and the males are the first. They are on long thin stems (called pedicels) and there are heaps more of them than females. If you dig deep inside the male flower, you’ll find a long, thin structure called an anther that produces pollen. Female flowers have a shorter stalk and sit closer to the vine. If you look inside the female flower, you will see the stigma where the pollen is received. The fruit is at the base of the petals and that’s where the seeds develop.

Fertilization of the ovary

Flowers open for only 1 day; just before dawn the petals begin to unfold and open for 4 hours. They begin to close slowly in the middle of the day and close permanently by dusk. Pumpkins are pollinated by insects, especially native and honey bees, so it’s important to encourage them in your garden. It is common for the ovary of female flowers to swell and begin to look like a pumpkin is forming. But disaster, it turns brown and falls off. This happens because she was not fertilized due to the lack of bees. There are several things you can do to encourage them:

  • Do not use systemic (poisons that are absorbed into the plant and can work for weeks) sprays, as many of them kill the bees when they eat the nectar of the flowers.
  • Plant French lavender Lavanduala denatateblooms almost all year round.
  • Plant lots of Iceland poppies – bees love them
  • Give the bees water, they will tell their friends and more bees will visit them.

Now, if the weather has been too hot or too cold and you notice a few bees buzzing around, you can try fertilizing them yourself. There are 2 methods, hand pollination using the male flower or using a toothbrush. For hand pollination, pick the male flowers, remove the petals, and then pat the stigmas of the female flowers with pollen. I tried the toothpick method once, where you gently push a toothpick over the anther, then gently push it over the pedicels, but it didn’t work. I suggest you try the first method.

If you want to preserve the seeds of harvested pumpkins, store them for a month, then remove the flesh, wash it and dry the seeds on a paper towel. Then store them in a clean, dry glass jar in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. It is also a good idea to label the bottle with a variety of pumpkin and a date. I guarantee that if you don’t, you’ll forget what variety it is in years to come.

Pumpkins are known to cross-pollinate each other, so to ensure consistency with type, save seed from one variety grown in isolation. You may need to hand pollinate it to ensure there is no pollen contamination.

Why is my pumpkin not producing fruit?

I mentioned earlier that pumpkins are notorious for not producing fruit, and there are many reasons for this.

  • Pumpkins are sensitive to weather and temperature. If it’s too hot, too cold, too windy, too rainy, you might not get fruit. I suggest you try hand pollination, especially if the temperatures are above 30C. Remember, if the weather is uprooted and the temperatures fluctuate wildly; then many plants close until conditions become more suitable.
  • It is believed that seed less than 3 years old produces more male flowers than female flowers.
  • Lack of insects in your garden. Bees, ants and other insects are vital in the transfer of pollen. If there are none, then the pollen will not be transferred to the female flower – so it is not a pumpkin
  • Heavy rains can damage the pollen, which means that even if it is carried by insects, it does not fertilize the flower and thus does not produce fruit again.
  • One trick to try to encourage more female flowers is to cut off the top (aka terminal) bud (top growing point) and encourage lateral (side) growth.
  • Make sure you add some potash when preparing the bed (promotes flowering) and not too much nitrogen eg. blood and bone, causing excessive leaf growth.

Pests and diseases

There are common pests such as slugs and snails that attack the leaves. You can try to pick them by hand, especially after rain, or use a beer slug trap in a glass jar that is 1/2 submerged in the soil. They crawl in, get drunk and drown. There’s also a circle of finely crushed eggshells to place around any plant they hate crawling on. There is a new product for pots, it is a copper strip that you fasten around the pot. There is also a spray that repels them, but I haven’t tried it.

If you have problems with caterpillars, then I suggest using Dipel organic spray, the active ingredient of which is Bacillus thuringiensis. It will not harm you, your children, pets or other beneficial insects. Long-lived pyrethrum is also good for sap-sucking insects such as whiteflies and aphids, and it also kills caterpillars.

There are good and bad things about birdies. The bad ones are known as 28-spotted and they eat the leaves, so you have to keep an eye out for them and pick them off by hand.

The disease that pumpkins are most susceptible to is powdery mildew, which can spread very quickly in hot, humid conditions. Cow’s milk can be used to control this disease by spraying the leaves with a solution of 1 part cow’s milk and 10 parts water every two weeks. The good birds, identified by their yellow and black bands, eat mold, so don’t kill them. I also recommend watering in the morning, no overhead watering, but watering at ground level to prevent the spores from getting on the foliage.

Harvesting and storage

The best part of growing pumpkins is picking them. You watched them grow, nurtured them so that no pests or diseases attacked them, and then you think, I don’t know when to harvest them. Well, it lasts 3 to 4 months, they should be a nice color, sound bright when you tap them, and the skin should be firm and not show any indentations when you press your nails into them. It is very important to cut them with at least 5-10 cm of the stalk attached. This prevents gourds from entering the gourd and helps extend their life.

Choosing the right storage space is essential if you want to have a pumpkin out of season. It must be well ventilated, without direct sunlight and cool. It should also be dry and not wet. The pumpkin must also be healthy, with no cracks in the flesh and no mold on it. If it is, eat it right away, it won’t keep.

The last tip to help them grow healthy and strong is to feed them every fortnight with potash and manure potion. It can be cow dung, sheep dung or maggot fluid.

Pumpkins need rich organic soil, sun, good weather and regular moisture to grow successfully. If you follow these simple guidelines and the weather is consistently neither too hot nor too cold, you’ll have beautiful, healthy pumpkins to store and eat and eat when they’re not in season.

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