8 rules for a large pumpkin crop
Many gardeners consider a pumpkin the queen of beds. And not only because of its size, variety of shapes and colors, but also because of its excellent taste, useful qualities and, as a rule, a rich harvest. Pumpkin contains a large amount of carotene, iron, various vitamins and minerals. Due to the possibility of long-term storage, this vegetable supports our health almost all year round. If you decide to plant a pumpkin on your site, you will be interested to learn how to get the largest possible pumpkin crop from each bush.
1. For a large crop - productive varieties
Before sowing a pumpkin, it is necessary to determine for what purposes you want to grow it: for eating raw, for cooking, for the sake of seeds, for long-term storage, or for decorating a garden plot, various crafts, for animal feed?
All species and varietal variety of pumpkins can be conditionally divided into three categories:
- Hardcore pumpkins. They are considered early ripening, ripen in late August – early September. Small fruits, very tasty seeds. Relatively short shelf life. Among them are popular bush varieties.
- Large-fruited pumpkins. The fruits are the largest, sweetest, sugar content reaches 15% and makes such pumpkins sweeter than watermelon. Resistant to low temperatures and have a long shelf life even in warm rooms.
- Nutmeg pumpkins. Their fruits have special nutritional and taste qualities, with a high content of vitamins. Used raw, for juices, for feeding babies and in diet. Heat-loving, the ripening period is long (125-135 days), so for an earlier harvest they are grown through seedlings.
The main condition when choosing a pumpkin variety - do not focus on the beautiful color or size of the fruit. Taste is not dependent on this. Carefully study the characteristics of the variety.
2. We increase the germination and yield of young seeds
An interesting feature of pumpkin seeds: the longer they are stored, the higher the germination and yield. To increase these indicators in young seeds, resort to the following procedure.
First, seeds are wrapped in dark cloth and warmed in the sun for 5-6 hours. Or the same time is kept in the oven at a temperature of 20 to 50 degrees.
Then, wrapping the pumpkin seeds in gauze, pour them with water or an ash solution at an air temperature of about 25 degrees for 12 hours to swell.
And finally, place the seeds in the refrigerator for two days. Such a test for fresh seeds at times increases their germination and productivity.
To speed up the process of emergence and ripening of fruits, it is better to germinate pumpkin seeds before planting.
3. Prepare for planting holes, not beds
Pumpkin loves fertile soil, and it is easier to prepare holes for planting it than to fertilize a whole garden.
To get a good harvest, pumpkin holes should be prepared in advance. A hole 40-45 cm deep is partially covered with manure or humus mixed with organic top dressing (shredded grass and weed stalks without seeds).
Cover the top with earth about 6 cm thick and spill well with water. About a week later, pumpkin seedlings are planted. After planting, the wells can be poured with a solution of Fitosporin: 1 tablespoon for 5 liters of water.
Pumpkin comes from the tropics, so the best conditions for its growth are light and heat. In sunny weather, the fruits grow twice as fast. Therefore, in the southern regions, pumpkin seeds can be planted immediately in open ground. In middle and northern regions, early ripe varieties are picked up or seedlings are grown to get a full crop, and they are planted in open ground at the end of May (preferably under temporary shelter in case of return frosts).
Long plant stems and large leaves require a large area of nutrition, the size of the fruit also depends on this. The distance between the holes when planting a pumpkin should be at least 60 cm. It is better if there is one plant per 1 square meter of land.
4. Pumpkin care - minimal but regular
With well-prepared soil, feeding for pumpkin will be required no more than three times per season. Mineral and organic fertilizers alternate. Manure is made with a solution of 1:10 l of water. The use of nettle when feeding grass infusion strengthens the plant and accelerates its growth.
Attention: very carefully fertilize the pumpkin with mineral fertilizers, especially for food. Pumpkin fruits accumulate nitrates well.
At the initial stage of growth, it is necessary to weed the beds. Later, the pumpkin itself suppresses weeds, tightly covering the soil with its leaves.
5. Water the pumpkin for the time being
Before the formation of the first ovaries, pumpkin is watered weekly. Later, in order not to cause cracking of the fruit, watering is reduced to 1 time in two weeks. It is better to use drip irrigation, so water will not fall on the leaves. In order not to cause decay, it is necessary to ensure that moisture does not stagnate.
Closer to the harvest, the pumpkin is not watered or fertilized. Watering in this case will reduce the sugar content in the fruit and make it tasteless.
6. Lash formation and pinching for maximum yield
Pumpkin has long stems. Having tied the first fruit, the stem grows further and the next ovary forms on it. The peculiarity of the plant is that, having formed a new ovary, the previous fruits stop developing, and all the nutrition goes to the last fruit, which, in turn, may not ripen due to the late appearance. To prevent this from happening, pinching is done - cutting the whip, stepping back from the first mating fetus by one or two segments.
On one large-fruited pumpkin, you can grow no more than two full fruits. In addition, space is saved for the development of lashes of other plants. Lateral shoots up to 7 cm long are also cut off (pinching).
If the variety is small-fruited, then more fruits can be left on one plant, up to 6-10 pieces.
As the pumpkin grows, the bushes periodically thin out, cutting off dry, rotten leaves and leaves lying on the ground.
In the places where the lashes of the plant come into contact with the ground, new roots can form, which gives the plant additional moisture and nutrition, and increases productivity.
Attention! Do not move the stems during flowering and fruiting. This can lead to death of the flowers or the termination of the growth of the fruit.
7. Proper harvesting is the key to its long-term storage.
Harvesting is completed before the first frost at night temperature not lower than 10 degrees Celsius. By this time, the fetus stops growing and acquires a characteristic color. The peduncle becomes thinner and dries out, the bark of the fetus becomes strong, when a pumpkin is tapped, a dull sound is heard.
Cut the pumpkin with the stalk with a sharp knife or secateurs.
You can store the crop at room temperature in a dark place. In cooler rooms (with a temperature of 10-12 degrees), pumpkin can survive until the next harvest.
8. What to do to make the pumpkin huge?
For lovers of records, it remains to add that the following factors are necessary for enhanced weight gain:
- Additional top dressing. Usually it is not only nitrogen fertilizers, but also fertilizers containing potassium and phosphorus.
- Adequate amount of sunlight and moisture.
- Good genetics. Real giants grow from the seeds of the same giants.
However, giant pumpkins are not used for food. They are 90-95% water, and the content of nutrients in them is minimal. They have a very thin layer of pulp, the pumpkin is almost empty.