Growing your own fall decorations
Written by Abby Read
Raising your own pumpkin patch, whether it is for decorations or pies, can be a fun a way to introduce gardening for your family.
Plant pumpkins now for fall decorations.
Even though pumpkin season is several months away, it’s important to know the prime pumpkin-planting time is now.
Russ Wallace, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service vegetable specialist, Lubbock provides tips and basic requirements for growing your own personal pumpkin patch.
Pumpkin planting season in Texas is summer
Sunlight hours and temperature play an important role in how well pumpkins grow in Texas. While too much sunlight and extremely hot weather can damage some plants, pumpkins thrive in early Texas summers.
Different varieties need various amounts of days to become completely ripe. You should choose the planting variety based on when you plan on harvesting your pumpkins for your fall activities.
“The best time of year to plant pumpkins is from early May through June, but it also depends on the variety to be grown,” Wallace said. “Some varieties mature in 85 days while others may not mature for 120 days. So those with 120 days to harvest should be planted early.”
Pumpkins require good drainage to thrive
Knowing the soil in your area is crucial as pumpkins thrive in soils with good drainage. Without good soil, pumpkins might need a change to their water intake, explained Wallace.
“Pumpkins can grow on any soil that has good drainage. In the High Plains pumpkins are generally grown on sandy loams to clay loams,” Wallace said. “If grown on sandier soils they will require more irrigation.”
If the soil in your area does not drain water well, adding organic matter such as peat moss and compost to the soil will give it better drainage. This should allow the soil to become suitable for growing pumpkins and other plants that need good drainage.
Pumpkin water requirements may be higher than you think
With their growing season in the middle of Texas’s hot and dry summers, it’s important to keep in mind that pumpkins need a lot of water to thrive.
“Pumpkins require about 25-30 inches of rain plus irrigation,” Wallace said. “They need most of their water when the fruit is developing/maturing. If water is not uniformly applied while fruit is maturing, the ends of the pumpkins may not fully develop. We see that a lot in high heat, drought conditions.”
Proper watering conditions will set your pumpkin plants up for successful ripening for harvest. Irrigation and good, draining soil will help your pumpkin patch thrive in Texas weather.