Have you ever dreamed of having a roadside stand and selling you garden produce? Pumpkins are great sellers at Farmers Markets and last fall I bought a big green one to put on my front porch! The farmer told me that it would be great for cooking when I got through using it for decorating.
Mr. Menace nor I are big pumpkin fans though, so I never did use it to cook with. But I did cut it open and save the seeds.
My cutting garden was inspired by my 6 year old nephew, Solomon, and now again, he is pushing me to do something I’ve never done before, and that is, growing pumpkins. I’d love to plant a ton of them, but pumpkins sprawl and take over a big chunk of the earth, so I am only going to plant 3 or 4 for myself. Half of my seeds I mailed to Solomon, for his roadside stand venture, but the other half, I want to share with you. Just sign up for my newsletter using the form below and I’ll send you a few of my seeds.
Gardening can be an expensive hobby, so when I can, I use some frugal tactics to make my money go further. One way to do so, is to save seeds from your plants and plant them next year instead of buying seeds every year. Fresh seeds will keep about 5 years.
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I had planned all along to cut it open and save the seeds to plant, but just kept putting it off. Spring rolled around and I planted my vegetables and I was wondering what else I should plant when that beautiful pumpkin caught my eye.
Removing the Seeds:
Taking it outside and slicing it open, I found it to still be in great shape.
The seeds were very easy to remove from the pumpkin. I just grabbed a handful and pulled them out and then separated them from the fibers that held them in.
Washing and Drying:
There was just a small amount of fibers to remove and then all that was needed was a good rinse. I rubbed them between my hands under the water stream and then placed them on a paper towel to dry.
They will stick to the paper towel, so as they started to dry, I gently popped them off the paper. Let them sit for at least a week. They need to be thoroughly dry before you put them into a baggie for storage. If they are damp at all, they will mold.
After they are dry, they are ready for planting. You can save them until the proper planting time for your growing zone. Since I was so late in getting them dried, it was time for me to plant them immediately.
I watered them immediately after planting and within a week they had popped out of the ground. I planted 4 seeds and all four came up! That’s 100% germination! When deciding how many to plant, remember that they sprawl and cover a lot of ground. Be sure to keep in mind how much space you have and it needs to be in full sun.
Here are the plants at about 2 weeks after germination. I placed cardboard around them to keep the weeds down and to hold in moisture. You can use other mulches.
Pumpkins are slow growers. It will take them all summer long to grow and develop and ripen. They are heavy feeders and should be fertilized regularly. They also need lots of water. Try to keep fruit and leaves dry when watering to cut down on diseases.
Keep a watch for squash bugs and cucumber beetles! If you find any, read how to handle them in GARDEN PESTS.
It is recommended that you gently turn the fruit periodically to get a more evenly round shape.
And here they are at 4 weeks!
Also at 4 weeks we have flowers and loads of buds.
I will keep adding new pictures as my vines grow and fruit begins to develop. Be sure to return here often for updates!
Between the constant rain (rotten baby pumpkins) and then the drought (dried up vines), I did not get even one pumpkin. However, I mailed a few seeds to Solomon and he got 4 medium sized pumpkins! I will be trying again next year.
Harvest on a dry day when the plant has died back and the skin is hard. Leaving a stem of 3-4 inches, cut the pumpkin from the vine with a sharp kniffe, do not try to pull or tear off. Pumpkins should cure in the sun for about a week before being moved to a cool dry place for storage or before being sold at your roadside stand.
You can find more detailed information from The Old Farmer’s Almanac.