Growing Pumpkins

I think it's fair to compare pumpkins to Marmite; you either love them or hate the taste of them, and my family, apart from my sister, fall into the latter category.

Growing pumpkins
Fully grown pumpkin

As a nation we Brits have never quite taken to pumpkins as an addition to the table with the same relish as have our American friends, and we much prefer to cut them into ghoulish masks for Halloween and then ditch them, rather than see them as a fabulous ingredient for soup, mashed as a side dish or, my favourite of all, as a roast vegetable, in a stew, or even in a sweet pumpkin pie. Some people really like them you see.

Pumpkins are squash vegetables and belong to the Cucurbitae family alongside marrows, courgettes, cucumbers, gourds and melons. Pumpkins are essentially winter squashes which have developed thick skins that enable the soft flesh to store for months, so are essentially a winter.

Pumpkins do best when the seeds are directly planted in the ground which must be thoroughly warmed by the sun so pick a place in your garden which has full sun to light shade and they will thank you for it.

Oh, and did I mention that said pumpkins need lots of space? Hmm, well they do because they have rather sprawling vines, and of course they need plenty of water as do all squashes. If you have a small garden but still wish to grow pumpkins then we merely suggest you lower your sites to growing one or two rather than a great many.

Growing Pumpkins from seed

Sow pumpkins seeds on their sides in small 7.5cm (3") pots of seed compost at a depth of about 2.5cm (1"). Place them in a propagator or seal the pots inside a plastic bag at a temperature of 20C (68F) until germination, which takes around 7 days.

The above is what I would do if I were growing pumpkins but the other school of thought is to put the seed directly into the ground where it is to grow. Either way will work providing Mother Nature supplies enough warmth