Pumpkins are a great option for growing at home for a hearty and filling vegetable. Pumpkins are high in vitamin A which can help to boost your immune system. They make great sweet pies or a filling savory vegetable dish and everything in between. Sadly Pumpkins can take up a lot of your garden space so if you are growing in a limited garden space or do not have room in your garden beds you have the option of growing pumpkins in pots.
Can you grow pumpkins in pots?
Yes, you can grow pumpkins in pots. Many people do not realize this because of just how big pumpkin plants get but they do make a great large pot plant.
Why should you grow pumpkins in pots?
Growing pumpkins in pots is a great way to grow this vegetable even if you do not have a lot of extra space. You can even use a decorative pot with the vines flowing over to make your pumpkins look like beautiful but of decor for your front porch or near your entertainment space in your garden.
How to choose a pot for growing pumpkins
In order to grow pumpkins in pots, it is vital that you choose your pot carefully. You will need a very large pot in order to grow pumpkins. You may be able to get away with a 10-gallon pot for smaller pumpkin varieties like pie pumpkins but larger pumpkins would not thrive in such a small pot.
To grow most varieties of pumpkins, you will need a larger pot, at least 20 to 25 gallons to ensure that there is enough room for the root system and enough nutrition to grow your pumpkins. Planters with large whisky barrel-style planters are ideal for pumpkins. You can add some Nasturtiums or sweet peas with the pumpkin vines to create a beautiful decorative effect in any area in full sun.
How to deal with vines when growing pumpkins in containers
Growing pumpkins in pots present a couple of challenges. The biggest challenge is not in choosing the type of pot but in dealing with the large vines that are produced. When pumpkin vines spread out in mass, they look spectacular in any container you choose though the more decorative ones make your pumpkin plants truly shine. If you choose to leave them, you can add blooms such as Nasturtiums or Sweet Peas to add color to the vines, though you will have to move the vines out of your walkways if you do this.
If you’d like to control your pumpkin vines, you can train them up a trellis. There is a bit more challenge here since pumpkin vines are not naturally inclined to climb. If you want to grow pumpkins on a trellis, your best bet is to use a frame trellis or a Teepee-style trellis. As a result, your pumpkin plants will have more room to grow and will be able to grow upwards from different locations in the pot.
How to grow pumpkins in containers
Start with the largest pot you have available. Food-safe containers can be anything from a large blue barrel drum cut in half to a commercially produced resin decorative planter. Wherever you plan to grow your pumpkins, make sure to place your planter in a full sun spot. After filling the container with soil and compost, moving it will probably prove impossible due to its weight. Position it before you begin your project.
Proper drainage is essential when growing pumpkins. They tend to rot if they sit in water. As a result, they are grown in mounds that elevate the pumpkin plants above the main soil that can get wet. You should cover the drainage holes in your container with screens. Put a couple of layers of rocks on top of this screen to create more drainage.
Add a mixture of well-draining soil substitutes to your containers, such as peat moss and compost. You will get a heavy dose of nutrition without having to worry about your soil being compacted or slow draining. Create a mound of soil inside your pot, similar to what you would do in the garden, so that your seeds are planted above the lip of the pot.
Add three or four pumpkin seeds to the mound by poking a hole an inch deep. You’ll get a few quality sprouts this way. Trim the plants to just the two strongest ones after the first set of true leaves has formed.
Overwatering your pumpkins will cause the soil to become soggy and wet. Check that the soil is drying out after a heavy rain and doesn’t pool at the bottom of your mound. By muddling your potted pumpkins, you will be able to protect them from the summer heat without having to soap them to get water to the hungry vines.
You can train your vines to grow up the trellises by tying them with thin loose fabric ties. You can make these by cutting thin fabric like muslin into strips. This is a great way to upcycle t-shirts or old baby blankets. Your vines will eventually climb themselves. If you want the vines to cascade down your pots, make sure you move the vines to the desired position. Keep them away from walkways where they will be crushed.
You will want to give your pumpkins some support once they form if you are growing them on a trellis. In this case, you can wrap them in nylon fabric loosely enough to ensure they have plenty of room to grow. Provide some support for your pumpkins on the ground, such as a basket or trivet, if allowing them to vine out freely. This will keep them from rotting when water accumulates under them.
After you have a few pumpkins start to remove flowers to force energy into the pumpkins that have already formed. Keep fertilizing and harvest your pumpkins once they are ripe.