Saturday, October 2, 2010

How to Grow Pumpkins with Companion Planting

Grow Pumpkins with Companion Planting
How to Grow Pumpkins with Companion Planting?
When choosing to grow pumpkin in your garden with companion planting, there are a couple of things to be aware of to accommodate the way it grows. North America uses pumpkins to either carve at Halloween or eat them at Thanksgiving. I prefer to use pumpkins all year round.

Pumpkins are called cucurbits which means that they like warm weather and produce vigorous, fast growing vines. The group of cucubits include squash, melons and gourds.

When growing pumpkins with companion planting:
1. Know the reason for growing them. What do you want to do with them? Large sized are used to carve out designs for halloween or medium to small  sized pumpkins to make pies/muffins or soup/stew.  
2. This vegetable grows on a vine. It gets very bushy so make sure there is space for it to grow. In ideal conditions, the pumpkins vine will grow 12 inches in a day and produce a lot of flowers.
3. To prune and care for the pumpkin, limit 2-3 actual vegetables to grow per vine. This helps to direct the plants nutrients to all available vegetables growing.
4. When there are enough pumpkins growing from each plant, pick the pumpkin flower to add them to a salad. They can be eaten fresh off the vine or cut into a salad.
5. Turn the pumpkins once in a while, gently while it is growing to allow the bottom to get air and not to rot.
6. This vegetable is a companion with corn, squash, marigolds and nasturtium

How to Grow Pumpkins with Companion Planting?
Transplant a seedling into the soil. Plant them according to the instructions it gave on the package. What the distance is needed to allow the plant to grow comfortably.

Marigolds can be planted close by to help deters beetles from bothering the pumpkins. I have mulch growing around the edges of the pumpkin seedlings. This mixture of mulch is straw, buckwheat and clover will help the soil to stay cool when the temperate of the summer gets too hot for the plant.
I planted pumpkin seedlings on the right and green pepper seedlings on the left. There is mulch surrounding each seedling.

A couple of weeks later, the pumpkin plants on the right have grown 3x the size of the green pepper seedlings which are on the left

This is what a pumpkin plant looks like close up at their roots. That is one plant with many vines growing off the main stork.

The pumpkins leaves are now growing bigger and the vines are producing many leaves. The plants are now 9X the size of the green pepper which is growing on the right and in front of the pumpkins.

Here are the pumpkins growing very bushy with yellow flowers on the right. The buckwheat as mulch is now flowering with white flowers and the green pepper are being overgrown by the pumpkins which are on the left.

A close up of a pumpkin flower before it grows into a vegetable.

Identify the pumpkin by the shape of their leaves. They grow large and full.

A close up of pumpkin flowers growing on a pumpkin plant.

Pumpkins tend to grow abundantly so they need lots of room to expand as the vines grow. Expect to harvest 4 - 6 pumpkins from each plant.

Pumpkin plant growing tall with vegetable growing steadily. The green pepper is over shadowed by the pumpkin plant which is preventing the green pepper from developing

Close up on what a pumpkin looks like in the growing stage

The pumpkin is turning orange which means it is almost time to harvest.

Pumpkins are a rich orange color with a hard outer shell to protect and allow the vegetable to be stored for a period of time before eating it.

Close up of a mature pumpkin. Keep the stored in a cool and dry area. Do not store them in an unheated environment or on a cold cement floor.