Pumpkins can be grown easily in the UK and once ripe can be stored as long as six months. Many varieties are available, depending on what you plan for your pumpkin. The Crown Prince variety has grey skin and bright orange flesh and is ideal for cooking. The Jack of All Trades variety is also good for cooking and perfect for carving Halloween lanterns. The Baby Bear has seeds that are tasty when roasted, and its flesh is ideal for making pumpkin pie.
Sow a pumpkin seed in a pot between April and June. Use a pot that is 3 inches deep. Fill it with compost, placing the seed on its side 1 inch deep.
Water the seed and place the pot on a windowsill or in a propagator.
Transfer the seed into a larger pot as soon as roots begin to show through the bottom of the original pot. Go for a pot around 5 inches deep.
Remove the seedlings from the pot once they have established and plant them in a sunny, sheltered outside spot. Space them 6 to 10 feet apart in groups of two, 1 inch deep in compost-rich soil.
Remove the weakest seedling after they have both germinated.
Feed seedlings with fertiliser or tomato plant food and water regularly.
Restrict larger varieties to two or three pumpkins per plant. Train them to grow using wire, removing some fruits before they fully develop. This allows the plant to put all its energy into producing the remaining fruit.
Raise the pumpkins up on to a piece of wood or brick as they get bigger; this helps prevent rotting. Make sure no leaves are blocking sunlight from the fruit as this could stop them from ripening.
Protect the pumpkins from an early frost by using cardboard and straw.
Seeds can also be sown directly into the ground from late May to early summer.
Tips and warnings
- Seeds can also be sown directly into the ground from late May to early summer.