I’m pretty sure I already declared my undying love of growing pumpkins somewhere here, on this very blog. Just in case I missed this fact out about myself I’ll just say this….”My name is Karen and I’m addicted to growing pumpkins and winter squash”. Now that’s off my chest I’ll share what I’ve been getting up to, down on my allotment.
My pumpkin patch is a fairly large space, much bigger than it appears in photos but I’ve still managed to overplant. Being a pumpkin addict I guess it’s the weakness to say no. Give me a field and I’d be in pumpkin heaven for sure. I did a bit of ‘pumpkin snooping’ the other day which pretty much involved being on my knees poking a camera underneath pumpkin leaves and humming the Guns N’ Roses rock song ‘Welcome to the Jungle’. The vines are so thick and dense at the moment it’s hard to see how many pumpkins are actually growing. Winter squash and butternuts are also in there, somewhere. Just 8 weeks ago I planted out 3 Rouge Vif D’ Etampes pumpkin plants and I’m excited to share these dimly lit photos of my pumpkin children happily growing. And my gosh, I’ve got some whoppers!
Pumpkins are greedy plants so it’s a good idea to feed the soil well before planting, ideally mulching in spring with plenty of compost or manure. Or both. I mulched my pumpkin patch with a good quality soil conditioner and it appears to have paid off.
I think these are the biggest pumpkins I’ve ever grown, last year I was impressed with the Moronga but these are bigger. I’ve grown Rouge Vif D’ Etampes before, a French heirloom producing flattened heavily ribbed pumpkins of the deepest orange-red. Just stunning. A couple of my pumpkins are already turning orange and the colour will take on a richer tone as time goes on, others are at the immature yellow stage and still growing!
Vines usually start to die back around September, particularly when powdery mildew hits which it always does on our allotment site. I remove leaves when I see the first signs, (small white spots on the surface which soon spreads to cover the entire leaf if left), this helps to slow it down but it’s near on impossible to get them all if you grow lots of pumpkins and squash. A milk and water mixture used as a foliar spray is said to be beneficial as a preventative to the fungus, I’m just too lazy to bother.
Bad pumpkin mum.