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It may seem like an odd time of year to be thinking of pumpkins. But, if you want your own organic pumpkin puree, you need to plant your pumpkins soon.

Pumpkins are either huge and inedible or small and tasty. Small pumpkins are often called pie pumpkins because that is where they usually end up. They typically weigh between 3 and 5 pounds and have thick flesh more like an butternut squash. Indeed they are a squash, a winter squash.  You might think with a name like winter squash that they would grow in the winter, but that is not the case. You grow pumpkins and other winter squash at the same time your grow summer squash like zucchini and crookneck. Winter squash develop a thick hard shell that makes them suitable for winter storage. Thus we have a squash grown in the summer but eaten in the winter.

Baby Pam is the pumpkin variety that we offer. It is a delicious baking pumpkin that we use for all our pumpkin goodies. We ship your pumpkin plants after danger of frost.  Here are some planting tips for your pumpkins: 

Soil temperature for planting pumpkins should be between 65 and 70 degrees.

Pumpkins prefer a pH under 7.

The site should be in full sun.

Melons or squash should not have been grown in the same spot last year. A two-year hiatus for crops planted in the same space is always a good idea for all vegetables.

Put plants two feet apart and realize they will vine 10 to 15 feet out.

If your soil is rich in compost, fertilizing is probably not necessary. If you need to fertilize, start with an All Purpose Organic Fertilizer during the growth of the vine and switch to a Veggie Fertilizer when the flowers appear. If compost was applied to the area in the fall (best case scenario), make sure it is decomposed and ready to plant in.

Mulching the ground with a thick layer of organic matter around the plants will conserve moisture, keep weeds down, add beneficial organisms to the soil and help to keep the plants clean. Do not mulch right up to the little transplant. Leave about a three-inch air space all around it. Don't worry if the mulch is taller than the plants. The mulch will degrade to ground level in a short span of time.

Since mildew, which is spread by overhead water splashing spores around, can sometimes be a problem on squash vines, drip irrigation or soaker hoses are preferable for watering. Watering deeply is more beneficial than watering often.

Harvest 40 to 50 days after flowers. The vines will start to yellow and the stems start to crack. They can be eaten or used in cooking at this stage, or they can be left to cure for winter storage. Curing just means leaving them outside in a clean dry area for about a week until the shell becomes hard. Then they should be stored out of light in a cool dry place.

Lack of pollination in pumpkins can be a problem if bees or other pollinators are not present.  Pumpkins have both male and female flowers on the same plant. Male flowers do not make pumpkins and there are often more male flowers than females. Male flowers tend to arrive first. You can tell a female by the tiny pumpkin at the base of the flower stem. If pollination has been successful, this will start to grow. If not, it will shrivel and fall off the vine.  It is possible to hand-pollinate by removing mature pollen from the male flower with a paintbrush and applying it down into the female flower. The pollen is ready when it can be removed with a gentle swish of the brush. If you get a lot of little pumpkins, you  might want to reduce the number to three to minimize stress on the vine.  Placing your pumpkin on the top of a short and wide terra cotta pot to get it up off the ground helps thwart insects that like to bury themselves into the skin of the squash.

To order Baby Pam Pumpkin or any of our other veggies, please use this link. Also, at this link is a listing our our veggie six packs where you buy 5 plants of one kind and get the sixth free. Early spring orders to cold winter areas may be placed at anytime and will receive an email order acknowledgment indicating the expected spring ship date. We do not ship with a guarantee to areas that are freezing or on a route that has freezing temperatures. You may choose to waive your guarantee and receive plants prior to the time we would normally start shipping in spring. To do this, type Waive Warranty in the comment box on the order form and make sure to check the in stock link for what is currently available.

 

We are now on Twitter and hope you will find this new tool useful. It allows us to let you know what is happening in the garden, on the website and in the world of organic gardening on a more regular basis. To join in the fun just use this link.

 
   

Easy to use My Design Kits come in a 50 foot Flower and Garden Kit and a 30 foot Deck and Patio Kit. The only tool you need is a pair of garden shears to cut the tubing.

Add an electronic water timer for automatic watering or a manual timer to regulate how long they run for. The right watering aids make summer a lot more fun and your plants a lot happier.

PUMPKIN PUREE

Pumpkins are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Like all food the fresher it is, the better it is for you. Using your homegrown pumpkins to make pumpkin puree is easy and economical. Plant Baby Pam Pumpkins now for delicious and nutritious fall eating.

1. Cut the pumpkin in half.
2. Scoop out the seeds and place them on unbleached parchment paper for later baking.
3. Place both halves face down on a cookie sheet lined with said same parchment paper.
4. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until fork tender. Start checking after 45 minutes. Depending on the thickness of the flesh it can take more than an hour. Baking helps to dry out the flesh.
5. After they cool, peel the skin off.
6. In a food processor, add the pumpkin flesh and puree.

Alternatively, the pumpkin can be cooked in a large crockpot on high for about two hours or until fork tender.

Depending on the pumpkin, you should get about four cups of puree. What can't be used fresh right away, can be frozen.

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