Part of the squash family. Originally used for cooking similar to squash. Pumpkins are now used in pies or as an ornamental crop. For kids, the week before Halloween is spent carving their pumpkins.
CULTURE: In short season areas plant indoors 3-4 weeks before last frost date (4" pots, 3 seeds per pot). Do not pull plants apart, transplant the whole clump. In other areas seed outdoors when soil is warm and night time temperatures are above 48F/7C. If soil is cool, pumpkin seeds will not germinate.
SOIL: Pumpkins like well drained, sandy loam soil enriched with compost or well rotted manure.
FERTILITY: Add manure in the spring or apply slow release nitrogen at the time of planting. Pumpkins need adequate moisture when forming fruits. Lack of moisture will produce small fruits.
GERMINATION: 70F/21C for 5-7 days. Cool wet soil will cause seeds to rot.
SPACING: 4 seeds in hills, 4 feet apart in rows 8 -12 feet apart. Too close of spacing will cause small fruits.
For extra large pumpkins start indoors in large pots, transplant into manure mix in the field. Pick all but 2 pumpkins from a plant clump.