Yes! You can carve jack-o-lantern in your own grown pumpkin. And yes, it is easy to grow pumpkins. They are not just used to make scary faces, sweet and savory dishes can be made by pumpkin. You can grow them in the normal ground, in containers.
But here we are going to grow pumpkins in a raised bed garden. Because we can grow more pumpkins by doing less work in raised beds. We can easily control the soil and use which is best for our varieties of pumpkins. If you are a beginner in growing pumpkins, go with classic orange colored pumpkins. But there are so many different colors are available now like white and yellow.
Health Benefits Of Pumpkin
1: Tons Of Dietary Fibers
Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin flash contain great numbers of dietary fibers in them. A single cup of mashed pumpkin has 2.5g of fibers in them. These fibers can make you feel fuller by slowing down the digestion process and help you in maintaining your good weight.
2: Improve Sleep
If you have a sleep problem, pumpkin can help you in this matter. An amino acid named tryptophan is present in pumpkin, which converts into serotonin and serotonin is great for sleep.
Pumpkin contains tons of magnesium in it and magnesium is a very important element for many many functions in the body like better bowel movements, nervous system relaxation, production of ATP and muscle growth. So if you have a magnesium deficiency, pumpkin can help you in this matter too.
4: Heart Health
As I mentioned before, pumpkin is filled with fibers. Fibers are great to keep your blood pressure and blood sugar in check. Normal blood pressure means no heart problem.
5: Help You In Losing Weight
Tons of fibers and low in calories, pumpkin is a great choice for weight-conscious people. Fibers also keep your blood sugar normal and keep you away from food and sugar cravings. All these factors are great for losing extra weight.
In this post, I will tell you everything about growing pumpkins in a raised bed garden. Keep reading to find the best time to grow pumpkins, best soil for them, top varieties and how to take care of pumpkin plants.
What Is The Best Time To Grow Pumpkins In A Raised Bed?
Pumpkin plants are very sun-loving plants. They do not like the cold at all, infect they are very cold-sensitive plants. You can buy seedlings of pumpkins and grow them, but they did very well if you sow the seeds directly in the soil of the raised beds.
Sow the seeds of pumpkin after the last frost which is late spring. You can also sow the seeds in early summer. If you have a thermometer to check the temperature of the soil, then 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 21.1 degrees Celcius is the best temperature to sow the seeds. The growth time of pumpkin is 95 to 120 days, so you can harvest pumpkin fruits in fall.
If you are growing pumpkin for making jack-o-lantern in Halloween season, you should wait for late July and then sow the seeds. That’s how you can harvest the fruit exactly around Halloween season.
If the growing season in your area is too short, you should buy the seedlings after the last frost. Or you can sow the seeds indoors or in a mini greenhouse using any small container and multipurpose compost or peat pots. Sow the seeds of pumpkin before 3 to 4 weeks of the last frost. After the germination of seeds, wait until the seedling harden off and then plant them in your raised bed.
Best Varieties Of Pumpkin To Grow In Raised Bed
Here are the top five varieties of pumpkin you can start to grow in your raised bed garden.
1: NEW ENGLAND CHEDDAR PUMPKIN
This is an heirloom variety of pumpkin. This variety of pumpkin produces medium-sized fruits. You can make the best sweet pumpkin pies using the fruits because they have high sugar content. So these pumpkins can satisfy your sweet tooth.
2: HYBRID PAM PUMPKINS
This variety is great for carving and painting. The fruit can reach up to seven pounds. The growth time of this variety is just 90 days. This is a high yield variety, you can not go short in these pumpkins in your raised bed. This variety is not just for crafting, you can also make pies using hybrid pam pumpkins.
3: CRYSTAL STAR PUMPKIN
This is a white color variety, which makes it perfect to carve jack-o-lantern. Because white color is more ghostly then orange color.
4: BLUE DOLL PUMPKIN
This is a very mysterious variety. Because it is green from the outside and bright orange from the inside. You can cook the inner orange side or you can serve it in salads or pasta dishes. The fruit can grow up to 20 pounds, which is insane. The orange inner flesh of the blue doll is very sweet, so they are best to make pumpkin pie recipes.
5: KNUCKLEHEAD PUMPKIN
I know! This one has so funny name. The fruit of this variety has warts on its skin, that is why they called knucklehead pumpkins. The skin of this variety is orange, but the warts are green in color. The fruit can grow from 10 to 20 pounds. They are the best to carve scary spooky jack-o-lantern.
Prepare Soil Of Raised Bed To Grow Pumpkin
As I mentioned above, the growing season of pumpkin is starting just after the last frost of spring. Before sowing the seeds, you should prepare the soil. This is a new growing season, you should add some compost on the top of raised bed soil.
This is the benefit of having a raised bed, you don’t need to till the soil, just add a layer of compost and you are good to go. Before adding a layer of compost, check if there are any weeds growing in the raised bed. Remove the weeds, and kill them by burning. You should add mulch around the seedlings when they are about 6-8 inches.
If you are new in a raised bed garden and don’t know how to prepare it and add a best soil mix recipe in it, you should read these guides first:
How To Water The Pumpkin Plants In Raised Bed
Pumpkin plants require a lot of water to grow properly. You should always check the moisture level of soil the soil before watering. Use your finger to check the soil, if the top 6 inches of soil feels dry, water the plants. Do not use any kind of overhead sprinkler to water the pumpkin plants, because the water on leaves can cause fungal infections. So always use drip irrigation or another way to water the plants.
Water the plants early in the morning, so the extra water on leaves dries before night. If you don’t have time to water early in the morning, you need to be careful about watering in the late afternoon. Do not leave any water on the leaves, as this water can cause fungal and pest problems for you. You should water deeply and slowly.
Pollination Of Pumpkin Flowers
A pumpkin plant has both male and female flowers on the same plants. The female flower produces fruits for you. But for that, the female flower needs to pollinate with pollen. That work is usually done by bees in your garden. If you don’t have bees in your garden, you should do the process of pollination by your hand. For that, you need to recognize the male and female flowers.
If you saw a swollen base under the petals (like a mini pumpkin) it is the female flower. Others are male flowers. Now you have to perform the pollination. The female flower opens up early in the morning and stays open for half a day.
You will require an artist brush for doing the process. Gently rub the brush to the center of the male flower and then rub it in the female flower. That rubbing will transfer the pollen from male to female flowers.
Provide Support To Plants
Pumpkin plants can grow up to 20 feet. It can cause a space problem in your limited raised bed garden area. So you can overcome this problem by using trellis or cages. Because pumpkin plants produce huge fruits, so you will need a bigger and strong trellis. You can use the cucumber trellis as a support if you have one.
When plants start to produce fruits, you will need something to hold the fruits as it grows to a humongous size. You can use a piece of flexible cloth to hold the fruit. If the fruit is on the ground, you should use a pumpkin pedestal to keep the fruit off the ground, which is a good thing. It can save your fruit from diseases and pests, also it promotes uniform coloring.
Here are a few tips to grow pumpkin in raised beds
- Pruning the plants of pumpkin is necessary because these plants can grow up to 20 feet. So it is good to thin the vines of plants by pruning.
- As the plants grow and start to produce fruits, you may need to add fertilizers. Carefully add some fertilizers close to the plants, so roots absorb them.
- If you wanted to grow the biggest pumpkin, remove all the pumpkin fruits from the vine except one, which looks healthy. Water your plant regularly and add some fertilizer and watch your pumpkin grow day by day.
- Cucumber Beetles is the nightmare of pumpkin seedlings. A single attack can kill all your seedlings. Use garden fabric to cover your seedlings and remove the cover when flower produces.
- Powdery mildew can affect your plants if you are living in a wet and humid area. First chose the varieties that are mildew resistance and water your pumpkin plants early in the morning so that the extra water dries by sunlight.
As I mention above, pumpkins will be ready to harvest in 90 to 120 days. One of the biggest indications of the harvest is the color of fruits. And it depends on your variety.
Like if you are growing knucklehead pumpkin, and the fruit turns from green to deep orange, its time to harvest. Use a cutting blade to cut the stem of fruit from the vine, leave at least 3 to 4 inches of stem with fruit.
You need to harvest the fruit before the first frost, it can damage your fruits. You can store them in a cool and dry place or use them to make a pumpkin pie or scary faces.
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