When do you start growing a pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima) is a question that many gardeners have. These spectacular squash are not only a fun fall decoration, but they can make several tasty treats as well. Pumpkin growing isn’t hard and is even a popular garden activity for a child in the garden. Let’s take a few minutes to learn a few pumpkin growing tips for starting pumpkins from seed.

Any pumpkin-growing foray should start with the same thing: space—and plenty of it. Choose a location for growing pumpkins with a minimum of six to eight hours of full sun and a lot of room; vines can grow to more than 20 feet long.

Pumpkins prefer well-drained soils high in organic matter with a pH of 6 to 6.5. (Testing your soil in the fall allows you to adjust the pH accordingly before spring planting time arrives.) For all but the northernmost zones, pumpkins can be planted from seed after the danger of frost has passed and the soil temperature has reached 60 degrees F. Northern growers can start pumpkin seeds indoors in peat pots three to four weeks before transplanting them outdoors, again, after the danger of frost has passed.

Agro-Climatic Condition

Basically, Pumpkins are the very warm vegetable, which can also resist in cold temp. Because of plentiful uses and benefits of Pumpkins fruits, are cultivated all over the world. There are many types of Pumpkins, that can grow in various types of climatic conditions.

However, a temp. ranging between 20 °C to 30 °C is considered as the ideal temp. for growing pumpkins for its best vegetative growth. 

Note that growing pumpkins in too hot and in the too cool region is not beneficial because Pumpkins plants are very sensitive to frost conditions and pumpkins seeds do not grow well in the cold soil. Also, at higher atmospheric temp. sometimes male flowers predominant on the female flowers, resulting as lower fruits production in that season.

Soil Requirement

This commercial crop can thrive well on a wide variety of soils. Whatever, A soil with sandy loam along with good drainage power and all essential organic matter is supposed to be the best soil for pumpkins.

 soil ph ranging between 5.5 to 7.5 is considered as the best ph for growing pumpkins.

When To Plant Pumpkins

Preparing soil For Pumpkins

To obtain a higher amount of production, your soil should be prepared a well for pumpkins cultivation. So, for preparing the soil for pumpkins, bring your soil in fine tilth form. Also, it should be leveled as well.

Note that if your soil has any fertility deficiency, then, they should be supplemented at the time of land preparation, as have better results in production. Also, adding all essential organic matter along with a proper dose of ordinary manure to your selected site will always give benefits to you.

Make sure that that your selected field must have an assured source of water.

Planting Season 

When to Plant Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkins can grow all around the year, where there is a good source of water is available. However, generally two crops of this vegetable can be obtained; in the time period of January to March and September to December.

If you are planting pumpkins as rain fed crop, then it should be planted in the beginning of monsoon always.

In the cooler region, the best time to plant pumpkin seeds is at the end of May & for cultivation in the warm area, this should be planted in the mid-Jul

 Growing / Planting Pumpkins

Method Of Propagation

Pumpkins are mainly propagated with the help of pumpkins seed. 

How to Plant Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkins seeds do not germinate in too cold temp. For planting Pumpkins, seeds should be sown directly on the main field. Planting on the raised bed encourages drainage to avoid the problem of constant wetness of Pumpkins roots which invites numbers of pest, insects, and diseases.

 

Generally, this crop is cultivated mainly on hills and surrounding area. So, for planting pumpkins in such area, plant about 2 to 4 seeds per hill. Seed should be sown at about 2.5 depth for best growth. Also, after seedling pumpkins, they should be thin to 1 plant per each hill lately.

Spacing

In planting Pumpkins, spacing varies in accordance with cultivar & vine size. For obtaining more production, grow a short-vined or bush pumpkin variety.

Planting them by keeping spacing about one meter, between the plants along with spacing rows about 1.5 to 2 meters is considered as best for growing pumpkins commercially.

Seed Rate

Generally, about 2 kg of pumpkins seeds is sufficient enough for farming on one-hectare land to earn huge production.

Irrigation in Pumpkin Farming

Timely irrigation with a proper irrigation system is the main cause of good plant growth and better production. So, following is the guide for you about watering Pumpkins. Learn it!!

First Irrigation should be done just after the sowing seeds on the field. Then after, give water at an interval of 3 to 4 days in the initial stage of growth. Take care while flowering & fruiting stage. At this, give water on alternate days.

If you have the facility of good irrigation, then giving water with furrow method is best for pumpkins cultivation. But, if you are cultivating pumpkins in such area, where there is a shortage of water, drip irrigation for pumpkins farming is the ideal one. Also, do not water in monsoon. Note that good drainage capacity of the soil is an essential thing during heavy rains and floods.

Application of Manures and Fertilizers in Pumpkin Farming

Timely application of suitable manure and fertilizers directly enhance the production. In pumpkin farming, apply manure and fertilizers in balance doses to obtain higher yield. For this, about 50 tonnes of ordinary manure is to be applied while soil preparation, generally in the last plow to the topmost soil.

Application of Nitrogen and Potassium is beneficial in increasing yield. So, apply about 50 to 60 kg of Nitrogen along with 30 kg of Potash at land preparation. Take care while application of NItrogen. It should be applied in two equal doses; 1/2 at land preparation, and another one at about one month o the plantation.

Pest and Diseases in n Pumpkin Farming

Pumpkins are very prone to pests and diseases, and numbers of pest and diseases attacks on its crop. It is essential to prevent them to obtain a good quality and high yield from pumpkin cultivation. Crop rotation is the best way to minimize pests and diseases. Also, avoid growing pumpkins on a field, used for planting any cucurbit crops earlier.

Pumpkin Pests

The following are the common pest of the pumpkin crops along with their symptoms and also controlling measures. Learn them.

Pumpkin Pest

Symptoms

Controlling Measures

Pumpkin flies

causes sunken brown spots & develop white maggots inside fruits

Adult flies can be controlled by baiting

Aphids

causes leaves curling

application of  suitable chemical fertilizer like mercaptothion and mevinphos in proper dose

Thrips

causes newly appearing plants become injured

Control this by spraying or wetting leaf sides by using endosulfan, mercaptothion, etc. Crop rotation is the best way

Pumpkins Diseases

The following are the common Diseases of the pumpkin crops along with their symptoms and also controlling measures. Learn them.

Pumpkin Disease

Symptoms

Controlling Measures

Powdery mildew

causes white leaf spots on lower surface, merging on the supper surface

Make use of 10 to 20 kg of copper oxychloride or sulfur per hectare

Downy mildew

Small yellow, angular spots observed on upper surface of leaves

Controlled by spraying Cupravit, bravo, or dithiane, as symptoms observed

Anthracnose

small, yellow leaf spot or water spot observed, enlarging rapidly and turns brown

Spray dithiane or bravo, once a week

Cucumber wilt

Plants wilts because of root rots….

this can be controlled by  application of dichlorophen (pre-plant application)

Note: Whatever is this, please contact your’s Horticulture department for the pests and disease; symptoms & their controlling measures because they are the best source of farming information.

Pumpkin Harvesting

Pumpkin harvesting season starts when the stem of the plant begin to shrivel. However, harvesting may vary from cultivar to cultivar and also the market demand. It is better to operate harvesting on the basis of market demand in their tender age. Pumpkin fruit or vegetable should be harvested, when they attain deep solid woody color and hard. Harvesting at this stage will also help in collecting some seeds for further cultivation.

 

Usually, collect those fruits or vegetable manually by hand. For this, you can make use of a knife for collecting them.Try to cut them keeping about 5 cm stock with fruit. Also, any unhealthy fruits should be destroyed.

Yield

Production of your pumpkin farming or cultivation depends on numbers of factors like cultivar, climate condition, proper care, and management of your farm, application of manure and fertilizer….

However, all these factors are discussed above very well. Learn them deeply and earn a huge fruit production from it. Since Pumpkins have great market demand all around the year. Normally, about 20 to 40 tonnes of fruit can be easily obtained from this commercial farming.

                                                                                                                               By: Sangeeta



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