Growing pumpkins


Imagine the sun’'s delight when a frail stem musters the strength to poke its head up through the soil. That was my first thought when I discovered that my pumpkins, planted only a week earlier, had sprouted; their green leaves spread wide in praise of the Great Pumpkin in the sky.

In the past, a too-small yard made growing this eager plant a problem. Pumpkins need ample room for their vines to stretch and tendrils to curl. Determined to grow my own in time for Halloween, I grabbed a planter box and an old step ladder for a vertical solution to the conventional pumpkin patch.

To build your own, fill a planter box with rich soil and plant seeds according to the package directions. Make sure to grow the variety of pumpkin that best suits your purpose. Traditional Jack O’'Lantern pumpkins are great for carving, but aren’'t the tastiest for pie.

Place the ladder in a sunny spot and set the planter box on the top tier. Pumpkin vines thrive in the sun, so before long you’'ll find them spilling over your planter box. When this happens, ease them down the ladder. Use the descending steps to support your flowering pumpkins as they grow into beautiful orange bulbs.

—Sarah J. Montoro, Editorial Intern