Do your pumpkins have healthy vines, but no fruit? What could the problem be? Pumpkins are one of the easiest things for beginning gardeners to grow. That doesn’t mean they’ll bear fruit every time someone attempts to grow them. Gardening is a bit of a science, isn’t it? Plus, some people just don’t have a green thumb, right?
That second statement is dead wrong. Anyone can be a good gardener. They just have to play by the rules. Like all garden produce, pumpkins have their own set of rules. Follow them and your pumpkins will grow plenty of fruit. Ignore them and you’ll be buying your Halloween pumpkin at the supermarket.
Pollination is vital:
Pumpkins won’t bear fruit if they’re not pollinated. Recently, a lot of experienced gardeners are talking about how their pumpkins aren’t bearing fruit. It may have something to do with the bee colony collapses. Fewer bees means less natural pollination. Hand pollinate my pumpkins and other crops, just to be safe. If you’re not sure how to do that, you can watch a video.
About fertilizing pumpkins:
A good rule of thumb is to fertilize pumpkins well and early with organic fertilizer. That should be all they need. When pumpkin plants are over-fertilized, particularly with nitrogen based fertilizer, the vines go absolutely crazy. They look incredibly healthy, yet no fruit is produced. Keep in mind, pumpkins can have more than one problem when they don’t bear fruit. They may be over-fertilized and under-pollinated at once. They may also be unhealthy because you didn’t follow the pumpkin rules.
Basic pumpkin planting rules:
Plant pumpkins in a sunny location.
Pumpkins don’t like to be incredibly hot. They hate the shade even more. Follow the 6 hours of sun per day rule. Watch the yard to see which areas get the most sun. That’s where your pumpkins will grow best. Do you live an an area that gets intensely hot? Cover your pumpkins with shade cloth at the end of the day. This should only be done if they seem to be closing up or wilting. Take the cover off when the sun goes down. Only use a cover when there is an issue. Pumpkins need the sun.
Test your soil.
This rule applies to anything you plant, not just pumpkins. Every type of vegetation has different soil type and nutritional needs. Catering to those needs before you plant insures that pumpkins bear fruit and thrive. So will your other plantings.
Don’t plant pumpkins in low spots.
Plant seeds (in hills) in a high spot that gets good drainage. Pumpkins are susceptible to fungus. Sitting in a pool of water will make them even more vulnerable. Planting pumpkins in hills on high ground or in raised beds can alleviate this problem.
Plant pumpkins far apart.
They need plenty of room to spread out. This also helps keep away disease and pests. Fungi and pests love crowded conditions.
Basic pumpkin watering rules:
Water pumpkins well, but only when soil is dry.
Pumpkins love water. They hate too much water. How can one strike a balance so pumpkins stay healthy enough to bear fruit? Wait to water pumpkins until the soil is dry. Water them thoroughly, yet not so thoroughly that the water puddles around them. Once again, this is to prevent fungus issues.
Avoid watering pumpkin leaves.
Powdery mildew is a big issue for pumpkins. It’s more likely to form when leaves are left damp.
Does it seem like water always puddles around your pumpkins?
You may be watering too frequently or you may have a lot of clay in your soil.
Water pumpkins in the morning, for best results.
Some gardeners prefer morning watering. Some prefer night watering. Watering pumpkins in the early morning gives water plenty of time to dissipate. Once again, you don’t want your water to pool up. Watering at night can be an issue because there is no available sun to dry the soil.
Healthy pumpkin plants bear healthy fruit.
The goal is not merely to bear fruit. It’s to bear healthy fruit. Keep your pumpkins healthy using the above tips for a plentiful harvest.
Portions of this article were originally published on a now closed Yahoo property.