Pumpik - Jack O Lantern
Delicious in soups, pies and curries. Pumpkin ‘Jack O Lantern’ produces a number of small pumpkins per plant. For larger fruits, simply stop the stems when 2 pumpkins have begun to develop and these will grow up to 4-7kg (8-15lbs). Height: 45cm (18"). Spread: 2m (78").
Grow your own
Difficulty – Medium
Sow - April-May
Plant Out - May-June
Harvest - September-October
Seed Packet - Aprox 25 Seeds
Pumpkins are best grown from seed indoors, but may be sown later outdoors in a sheltered spot.
For earlier crops or in cold regions sow seeds indoors on their side 1cm (0.5in) deep in 7.5cm (3in) pots of compost from mid- to late April at 18-21°C (65-70°F).
If you don’t have the space to raise pumpkin seedlings, garden centres often sell young plants.
Sow directly outdoors where you want your plants to grow. Sow two or three seeds per planting hole 3cm (1in) deep in late May or early June. Cover with cloches, jars or plastic. Leave this in place for two weeks, or as long as possible, after germination. Thin the seedlings, leaving the strongest one to grown on.
Pumpkins need a sunny position, moisture-retentive soil and shelter from cold wind.
Two weeks before planting or sowing seed outdoors, make individual planting pockets 1.8m (6ft) apart. Do this by making a hole about a spade’s depth and width. Backfill with a mixture of compost or well-rotted manure and soil. Sprinkle a general-purpose fertiliser over the soil.
Although it will be hard to keep up with their watering requirements, you can also grow pumpkins in growbags or containers (at least 45cm/18in wide). Plant one or two per growbag, or one per container.
In late May, start hardening off (acclimatising) indoor-raised young plants. Do this by moving them into a coldframe for a week. If you don’t have a coldframe, move plants outdoors during the day, then bring them in at night for a week. The following week, leave them out in a sheltered spot all day and night. Plant into your planting pocket in early June when the risk of frost has passed.
Pumpkin plants need plenty of water. To make watering easier, sink a 15cm (6in) pot alongside the plants when planting out. Water into this to help ensure the water goes right down to the roots and does not sit around the neck of the plant, which can lead to rotting.
Feed every 10-14 days with a high potash liquid fertiliser such as tomato feed once the first fruits start to swell.
The fruit of pumpkins should be supported off the soil on a piece of tile or glass.
Let the fruit mature and colour on the plant before harvesting. Protect from any early frost.
After harvesting, allow their skins to harden (cure) in the sun. Curing helps prolong storage.