To grow the biggest, scariest pumpkin in time for Halloween isn't easy as they take some time to mature and prefer a warm climate. To have the best chance of success Martyn Loach recommends sowing seed indoors during April and then planting out in late May or June.
To have mature pumpkins ready to decorate your home for Halloween, you must sow the seed early in the year.
Visit your local garden centre in the spring and you'll see a good range of pumpkin seeds on offer, some more suitable for our modest summer temperatures. I've always found 'Jack of All Trades' is a good variety to grow.
Sow two seeds on their sides in 3" pots filled with good quality compost, the temperature needs to be about 20°C, so you may have to use a propagator.
Following germination, the seedlings that develop true leaves will be large enough to transfer outside after about a month. They should first be hardened off in a cold frame or by leaving them outdoors for gradually longer periods of time.
Good Soil and Warm Sunshine
Pumpkins love moist rich soil, warm temperatures and a sunny sheltered position, so don't plant them out too early.
A growbag is easy to use or, if you are growing them in the garden, you'll need to dig a large hole and fill it with a mixture of well rotted manure and compost with a general purpose fetilizer. Make sure that the soil is slightly raised to ensure good drainage.
Always keep the roots well watered and support the fruits off the ground to avoid rotting. Pinch out unwanted flowers and apply tomato feed every fortnight.
At Halloween, harvest by cutting the stem several inches away from the pumpkin to create a good handle. Then refer to our blog on how to carve the scariest halloween pumpkin in order to deter both evil spirits and trick or treaters.