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Pumpkin growing in a grow bag
Q. Can you grow a pumpkin in a grow-bag?          A. Most definitely YES!.

It's unlikely to win any awards, and you'll probably just end up with one or two, but you'll see from our photograph that we have successfully grown a pumpkin in a small grow-bag with very little effort. (A small container would probably be fine too). It's great for kids to see them growing and it's especially exciting when they start to turn from green to orange (the pumpkin not the kids) .... you know that Halloween is just around the corner.

Here's how we did it. First we bought some pumpkin seeds from a garden centre and planted a few indoors in individual flowerpots in some compost (at the time of year recommended on the packet).

After germination and a little nurturing, the strongest were planted outside in a grow-bag when they were about 15cm to 20cms tall with nice healthy leaves. They need lots of sun plus shelter from the wind .... so not surprisingly you'll need a sunny sheltered spot.

You'll need to keep the soil moist (but not soggy!) and keep a sharp lookout for slugs and snails who seem to consider them a delicacy. Water the surface of the compost - not the leaves - to avoid disease and other problems.

Eventually you will have flowers. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT BIT! Some are male flowers and some are female flowers ..... if you cannot be absolutely sure that bees and insects have pollinated the female flowers (who produce the pumpkins) then you must carry out hand pollination. We suggest you Google 'hand pollinating a pumpkin', there's lots of advice from professional gardeners on how to identify a male flower and female flower and how to pollinate by hand and it's very very easy to do yourself.

When you eventually get pumpkins growing you must feed them well; liquid tomato feed seems to work and is available from most garden centres and many large supermarkets. If you want big pumpkins then you will need to limit the number of fruits on each vine so that they don't fight for nutrients i.e. you'll get one big one rather than five little ones.

You may need to support the pumpkins as they grow bigger; also, resting them on a bed of straw is recommended to prevent them from rotting (may help control pests too ... may not. Some gardeners recommend resting them on slate or wood instead for fear that the the straw actually encourages pests). They need sun to turn them from green to orange so your end results may very well depend on the weather.

Pick your pumpkins before the first frosts (leaving plenty of stork if possible). Some types need curing to harden them up .... you'll need to check for the variety that you've grown.

So, can you grow a pumpkin in a grow-bag? We did ... and we wish you every success with growing your own. It's a great project for a patio, small garden or tiny patch of earth and children will be amazed just how quickly pumpkin plants grow. Roll-on Halloween ! (If you have success with a container then let us now what you used and how you did it).

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