Growing Pumpkin in The Northern Territory
This warm season crop needs plenty of space, but grows vigorously with few problems. Plant your pumpkins in a sunny spot with rich soil and they’ll reward you with an abundant harvest.Pumpkins come in a wide range of shapes, colours and sizes. If your growing space is limited, then the miniature varieties are a better choice. They take up less space and are ready to harvest sooner than traditional pumpkins.
Make sure your pumpkins get enough sun and have enough space to grow.
Pumpkins like a rich soil. Work in plenty of compost and well-rotted manure.
Sow your seeds into mounds about one meter apart. Once the plants are up and established, choose the strongest two plants and remove the rest. Pumpkins are best planted from seed, because they don’t like to have their roots disturbed.
Pumpkins don’t like to have their roots disturbed, so they’re best planted from seed, directly into the spot where they will grow. If you do want to plant seedlings, then take extra care with them so as not to disturb their roots when you plant them out. Add a small amount of bonemeal to each hole before planting to help the roots establish and grow strong to support a healthy plant. Keep the seedlings well-watered for the first few days while the plants are settling in.
Once your vines reach the desired length, pinch out the growing tips to prevent them from growing longer. This will encourage them to branch out. Once you have a good number of fruit on your vine, you can start to also pinch out any new side shoots. This will encourage the plant to put more energy into growing the fruit and less into expanding.
You will need to water your pumpkin to keep the soil moist during the dry season. Be sure to regulate the amount of water your pumpkin plants get once they start bearing fruit. A drastic change in water supply can cause the pumpkins to crack open.
Pumpkins are heavy feeders and benefit from regular feeding. Feed with a balanced organic fertilizer every 4-6 weeks through the growing season. A top dressing of compost or some worm tea are great options for a well-balanced feed.
Mulching helps to keep the soil moist and cool. Apply a generous layer of organic mulch such as lucerne, sugarcane or peastraw. Since pumpkins are such heavy feeders, a compost mulch is also a good option.
Pumpkins can be harvested once their skins have hardened and thickened. Pick mature fruit as you need them. Use a sharp knife to cut them away from the vine. Be sure to leave a piece of stem attached to each pumpkin. If you want to store your pumpkins, only harvest them at the end of summer so that their skins can become hard and thick. Pumpkins should be cured before storing.
Snails and slugs
Lay down grit, like eggshells or silica sand or create barriers around your plants. Remove any slugs or snails that you see.
Milk spray or baking soda solution work well and can be sprayed on affected plants.
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