It is Pumpkin Month! No, really! Just ask all the folks at their favorite coffee shop… ”PSL, anyone?” If we’re being honest, I am guilty too. Who doesn’t love the smell of Pumpkin treats and drinks? It means the holidays are here and all the goodness that comes with them.
But do you know how these delectable orange gourds came to be? Pumpkins originated in the early Americas. Historians located seeds of similar plants in Mexico dating all the way back to 5,500 B.C.! Love for pumpkins has bloomed, and they are now grown on 6 of the 7 continents!
What about those Fall traditions? I won’t make it through November without a slice of pumpkin pie! Colonists are believed to be the original pumpkin pie bakers – the top of the pumpkin was cut off, seeds removed, and then milk, spices and honey were poured into the gourd. They were baked in smoldering embers from dying fires.
We can’t forget Halloween, either. The first Jack-O-Lanterns were made not with pumpkins, but with turnips and potatoes! The Jack-O-Lantern was used to scare off bad spirits in Ireland during the Celtic Holiday Samhain (the festival of the dead or Summer’s end). When the Irish settled in America they discovered the pumpkin and that is when it became a Halloween tradition.
Not only are they good for scaring off evil spirits, they are good for your health too. Serving for serving Pumpkins have more fiber than Kale, and more potassium than bananas! Pumpkins are a great source of Vitamin A and B and they are lower in fat and calories than sweet potatoes.
Now that you have all these fun facts, I am sure you want to grow some yourself! Save your seeds. You can begin planting in April or May after the last frost, and up until Mid June. They grow a little faster in warmer climates so if you are down south you can plant them as late as July to make the Halloween rush! They take somewhere between 90-120 days to grow. Once the seeds have germinated select a few of the best sprouts and thin the rest out. They need plenty of room to grow, so give each plant a minimum of 20 square feet to stretch out. We recommend a quick draining soil and our Grow & Gain 10-10-5 liquid for weekly feedings. Pumpkins are heavy feeders so you want keep them fed for optimum growth!
I hope this encourages you to start your own pumpkin patch next year, happy planting!