Q. Can you grow a pumpkin in a grow-bag? A. Most definitely YES!
OK so it’s unlikely to win any awards, and you’ll probably just end up with one or two average specimens, 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 be fine too but there’s nothing simpler than grabbing a large bag of compost from you local gardening centre and dropping it in the corner of your garden). It’s great fun for children to see them growing and it’s especially exciting when they finally start to change colour from green to orange (the pumpkin not the kids) …. when that happens you know that Halloween is just around the corner.
So here’s how we did it. First we bought some (good quality) pumpkin seeds from a garden centre and planted a few indoors in individual flowerpots (in compost) at the time of year recommended on the packet.
After germination and a little love and 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 they will produce some flowers. NOW FOLLOWS A VERY IMPORTANT STEP IN GROWING A PUMPKIN IN A GROWBAG. 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. You can add ‘Pumpkin Pollinator’ to your CV afterwards too.
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 compete for nutrients i.e. you’ll get one big pumpkin rather than five smallish 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. (This may help control pests too … or may not. Some gardeners recommend resting them on slate or wood instead for fear that the the straw actually encourages pests). They need plenty of 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 school playground, patio, small garden or tiny patch of earth and children will be amazed just how quickly pumpkin plants grow. Roll-on Halloween … and if you have success with a container or other type of growing method then let us now what you used and how you did it using the comment box below.