24 Jun 2011

Grow Your Own Guide - Pumpkin

Pumpkin - These large, heavy fruits belong tot he squash family. Pumpkins take a long time to ripen, but other varieties of summer squash will grow quicker. The hard inedible skins make these fruits ideal for storing.

1. In spring, fill a pot with soil and make a 1.5cm (1/2 in) deep hole. Sow one seed on its side into the hole, cover with soil and water. Put on a windowsill.

2. Keep well watered after germination. Your plant will be ready to transplant once the roots begin to show through the bottom of the pot.

3. Make a pot-sized hole in a large, deep container. Carefully place the plant into the hole. Pat around the base to make sure the plant is upright. Water.

4. Push four canes into the pot and wrap the stem around them. Tie the stem to the canes with string. As the stem grows longer, continue to wrap it around the canes and tie up.

5. Keep the soil well watered. Your plant will produce male and female flowers, attracting insects to visit both and pollinate.

6. Feed your plant with a suitable plant food every few weeks once the fruits start to form in the female flowers. The flowers will now shrivel and drop off.

7. Make a hammock out of netting to support any fruit growing above the ground. Attach the ends of the hammock to the canes.

8. Add mulch around fruit growing on the ground to cushion it. Keep turning the fruit slightly so the colour ripens evenly. The leaves will now start dying.

9. Cut the fruit once it has fully matured.

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