Last autumn, my family visited a pumpkin farm. My son, Graham, couldn’t believe his eyes. Every row had pumpkins of varying sizes, tethered to a seemingly endless twisting vine.
He enjoyed the excursion so much that he, too, wanted to grow pumpkins. Not just for this year’s Halloween, mind you. Turns out my precious son has an entrepreneurial spirit.
Graham wants to sell his pumpkins.
Not to deter his enthusiasm, my husband has committed to helping Graham plant a pumpkin patch. I’m pitching in with the prep.
To get a garden ready for planting, whether it’s pumpkins or other vegetables, I’ve discovered a few valuable tips:
1. Select Location. While some plants like pumpkins prefer sun all day long, others do not. Conversely, not all areas of a yard get full sun. When choosing your garden location, be sure it provides the ideal sunlight to grow your plants.
2. Assemble Equipment. Necessary items include a hoe, rake, soil, hand shovel, watering can and gardening gloves. Clean tools with soap and water. Replace broken or rusted tools and sharpen any dull blades.
3. Prepare Soil. Perhaps the most important step, healthy soil is key to growing a bountiful garden. Remove weeds and leaves, break up clumps of soil and amend with new nutrient-rich soil and fertilizer high in nitrogen. Aerate then rake until surface is level.
4. Plan to Maintain. To keep soil healthy, mix in manure and compost whenever possible. Fertilizing every two to three weeks is also important (liquid variations can be added to water). Also, be sure to check the pH level with a soil tester readily available at gardening stores. The ideal level for pumpkins, for example, is 5.5 to 7.5. Water soil once a week, avoiding vines and leaves.
Adding coffee grounds is a great way to keep insects and other critters out of your garden. Simply mix in your soil before planting.