Most gardeners diarize the seasonal planting of certain crops against a calendar of significant dates, like sowing sweet peas by St Patrick's Day, but did you know that you should plant your pumpkins by Halloween?
Hmm, I hear you say .. aren't they harvested then?
Yes, in America, Halloween occurs during autumn, when pumpkins are harvested, but fortunately for gardeners in Australia, this very same day marks the perfect time to get your pumpkins planted.
Easy to grow and highly productive, if you've never grown pumpkins before make this is the year you start.
Heirloom pumpkins offer gardeners a huge range of sizes, colours and flavours, with small pumpkins like Pumpkin 'Jack Be Little', a single serve soup size pumpkin which can be eaten straight from the shell and grown in pots, to the Australian grey skinned heirloom Pumpkin 'Jarrahdale' with excellent storage properties and enough flesh to feed a family of twelve!
We all know that the butternut is undeniably one of the most popular pumpkins available at the green-grocers, here's one that you won't find on the shelf - Pumpkin 'Wrinkled Butternut'. An Italian heirloom with an appearance that only it's mother will love, this pumpkin delivers on flavour with fine flesh and very few seeds. Hop across the border to France and you can't go past Pumpkin 'Musquee de Provence', a French heirloom pumpkin that's so beautiful it is often the pumpkin depicted in children's book and beloved by chef's and garden gourmets because of its delicious, sweet flesh.
Perfect for planting in pots, draping over the side of garden beds or for covering your verge or nature strip, pumpkins are an excellent crop for kids and families because they are incredibly easy to grow and offer a bumper reward when harvested in autumn.
Pumpkin growing tips:
- Pumpkins are easy to grow vegetables that can be grown as a ground cover, trained up a trellis or planted in pots.
- Plant in a raised mound or pot. Two pumpkins will happily grow in 1m2.
- Allow room for the vine to spread or train up a trellis.
- Water the roots and not the leaves. This will produce healthy plants with less chance of fungal infections and disease.
- Harvest pumpkins when the vine dries but leave a stalk to extend length of storage.
- Short on space? Pumpkins can be grown in pots or borrow your nature strip or verge to maximise your harvest.