Nursery owner

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner.

This is a time of year when pumpkins are usually very popular. Whether it’s for carving or decorating at Halloween or for decorating and eating during Thanksgiving.

Kids can get a kick out of growing pumpkins. If you’d like to turn your kids into gardeners show them how to grow pumpkins, it can be a fun easy crop to grow.

Pumpkins even come in different colors — orange, white, blue and silver.

Of course, some pumpkin varieties are delicious as pumpkin pies or dry roasted for a crunchy, healthy snack.

When deciding to grow a pumpkin crop, be sure to check which varieties are the right type for you. Some big carving pumpkins will not make good eating and are mainly for show and holiday decorations.

Some of the smaller variety pumpkins can be good for pies but not great for jack-o’-lanterns.

Plant your pumpkin seeds in the spring after frost weather as passed. Sow the seeds 1-2 inches deep in mounded rows spacing plants 4 feet apart. Sow 10 to 12 seeds per plant location, thinning them to two plants when the seedlings are well established. Water the soil well and mulch the area. Be sure to avoid splashing water on the stems and the leaves to help prevent diseases.

Classic variety type pumpkins will be a deep orange color at harvest time. You can test by scratching the pumpkins surface with your fingernail, if the skin is too hard to dent, the pumpkin should be ready for harvest.

I’d suggest cutting the pumpkin off the vine, leaving 2 or 3 inches of stem so you can carry the pumpkin with it.

Aphids and cucumber beetles can become a very common pest for pumpkin plants so keep a watch out for these pests and treat with Insecticidal Soap and/or D.E. Powder.

Until next time, let’s try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.