Bright orange pumpkins are a sure sign that autumn has arrived. Often used for decorations, pies or jack-o-lanterns, this versatile fruit is usually round, and often lumpy. With a little planning, you can grow pumpkins into square shapes, adding a modern twist to these autumn favorites.
Things You'll Need
- Pumpkin seeds
- Nail file
- 1/2-gallon cardboard milk carton
File the edges of the pumpkin seed lightly with a nail file. This will allow the sprouts to break through the shell of the seed more easily. Soak the seeds in lukewarm water for two to four hours.
Create a mound of soil where the pumpkin seeds will be planted. The circular mound should be approximately 6 inches high and 3 feet in diameter. The pumpkin mound needs to be in a location that will receive plenty of sunlight every day, as pumpkins are a warm-weather squash.
Plant two or three seeds in the center of each mound, 2 inches deep. Cover with soil and water well. Within a week, the seedlings should emerge from the ground.
Wash and dry an empty 1/2-gallon cardboard milk carton. Open the top completely to make a rectangular cube container. Each pumpkin will need its own carton.
Place the pumpkins into the empty milk cartons when they have grown to approximately 3 inches in diameter. Set the milk carton next to the pumpkin with the opening facing up. Lift up several feet of the vine that holds the pumpkin and carefully lower the pumpkin into the carton. The stem and vine should be pointing up, coming out of the top of the carton.
Check the pumpkin every few days to ensure that it is still growing the right direction inside the carton. As the pumpkin grows the carton will restrict its shape, creating a square pumpkin.
Peel the cardboard carton away from the pumpkin when it reaches maturity, about 90 to 120 days after planting. Cut the pumpkin off the vine leaving about 6 inches of stem intact. Use as a decoration or carve it to make an unusual jack-o-lantern.
- "The Perfect Pumpkin"; Gail Damerow; 1997
- PumpkinNook.com: Pumpkin Seed Germination
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
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