Ask The Gardener: Is it too late to plant pumpkins (Halloween style), in hardiness Zone 8?

The Question

Is it too late to plant pumpkins (Halloween style), in hardiness Zone 8?

Answer

Yes, there is still time. However you will be racing the frost dates (about 15 November) and the squash vine borers.

Advice to help you beat the frost date

  • Keep in mind that the C. Pepo & C. Maxima (most of the Orange roundish varieties) of pumpkins are, generally, very susceptible to the squash vine borer.
  • Here is an accelerator approach to give yourself an added advantage on the frost date:
    • You may want to start the seeds indoors, they may not germinate with current ground temperatures.
    •  It would be best to get an early maturing variety (e.g. Montana Jack Pumpkin {90 days}).
    •  Soak your seeds overnight between two moisten towels, not overly wet, then plant them.
    •  When you plant your seedlings make sure your soil is rich and add a fertilizer stake near (large ones—not the minis), but not too close to the plant.
    •  Grow your pumpkin horizontally on the ground – not vertically.
    •  Bury the vines as soon as possible and a much as possible with loose dirt, until a couple of feet before you want the pumpkin to set.
    •  A couple of inches of loose, light, mulch on top and around the vines and plant base would be a good idea.
    •  Once the vine starts to grow side dress the leaf/vine joints with a slow-release fertilizer (before you cover with dirt).
    •  I would also add a fertilizer stack near each leaf/vine joint as well, again not to close (before you cover with dirt).
    •  Use drip irrigation aimed at the plant base and each of the leaf/vine joints and, then, deep water. You are after consistently moist soil and, hopefully, down to about 18 – 24 inches.
    •  You can, also, added some clay pot basins near the plant base to keep them full and covered.

One thought on “Ask The Gardener: Is it too late to plant pumpkins (Halloween style), in hardiness Zone 8?

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