Tips for Growing Pumpkins in Plastic Mulch
Using plastic mulch in your garden has a variety of benefits. Because it is plastic, it does not biodegrade. It provides additional heat and warmth for the soil in the garden, which is needed when gardening early or late in the season when temperatures are lower than they are at the apex of summer. Plastic mulch also provides both drainage to the soil, so that it doesn't get marshy, as well at helping the make the most of the water that is received in the area. Plastic mulch is ideal for growing pumpkins, which is a tremendous amount of fun come the fall. Pumpkins come in a wide variety of sizes and colors, and are perfect decorations, as well as a food source. Here you will find some tips for using plastic mulch when growing pumpkins.
Benefits of Plastic Mulch
The benefits of plastic mulch are many. The plastic serves to retain moisture in the soil, making needed watering less frequent and with less quantity. It also serves to act as a weed barrier, reducing the need for cultivation and additional work of the soil, as well as chemicals, to keep it free of weeds. It also prevents fertilizers and soil from leeching away from the plants, keeping everything where it needs to be so that it is of the biggest benefit to the plants.
The primary drawback of using plastic mulch is the disposal. Because it is plastic, it is not biodegradeable. Reuse plastic mulch whenever possible, and if you must dispose of it, recycle it.
Pumpkins require hills to grow properly. This enables the root systems to develop properly, and ensures that they get the most of the moisture received in watering. You will want to make hills for the plants by piling soil about one foot high, and spacing them one hill every five feet. Plant five or six seeds per hillock, and cover each hill with the plastic mulch. Use garden stakes or rocks to hold the plastic mulch in place. Cut a hole in the plastic mulch about a foot in diameter, at the top of the hillock where the seeds are planted. You will want to water the hills gently the first couple of weeks to allow the plants to grow and to avoid washing away soil where roots are trying to develop. You can use a wand or watering can to ensure that they are treated gently. When the plants appear, after about two weeks, you will want to eliminate several of the seedlings, leaving the biggest and most hardy plants. Apply the fertilizer of your choice when you first plant the seeds, and again after about three to four weeks.
Pumpkins are members of the gourd family. The younger they are when harvested the more tender they will be. The more tender fruits are better for cooking. Older, tougher fruits make perfect jack-o-lanterns and decorations, and will last longer as such. Pumpkin can be pureed and canned or frozen for storage, and the seeds roasted.