If you are a real gardening enthusiast or aspiring to be one, you may be growing pumpkins in your garden, backyard, or lawn, right? However, you might have seen pumpkins growing from green to orange as the fruit matures slowly. But with some genetic modifications, it is possible to retain the green color in a pumpkin, thus making it a whole new species – the green pumpkin.
Green pumpkins have evolved through manual intervention and naturally, too. Genetic modifications and varied harvesting methods can help in producing green pumpkins. Even better, green pumpkins are edible and can also be converted into orange pumpkins if you wish.
In this article, we will be learning about the characteristics, where to find, how to grow, and many other details regarding planting green pumpkins in your backyard, front yard, or commercial lawn.
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Characteristics of Green Pumpkins
Green pumpkins can be of different shapes and sizes. Many of them are spherical, and they might have deep ridges and are hard, and some might have smooth outer skin. Also, green pumpkins might be oblate in shape, have speckled stripes, or might be covered in bumpy warts.
The inside of the green pumpkins is no different from a typical orange or yellow pumpkin, with large, flat, and white seeds. Moreover, the inner flesh is starchy and resembles just like the insides of a potato.
Where to Find Green Pumpkins?
Green Pumpkins can be bought from a grocery store, a farmer’s market, pumpkin patches, and even pumpkin festivals. You might want to research a bit about choosing a green pumpkin because some of them are less commercially sought after. For your reference, we will be discussing some of the best types of green pumpkins in the world, down below.
However, if you wish to grow green pumpkins yourself, you can buy green pumpkin seeds from specialized seed vendors or any garden and home improvement store. Since there is less demand for the seeds in the market, they might cost a bit cheaper than regular pumpkin seeds.
Varieties of Green Pumpkins
In comparison to the other colored pumpkins, green pumpkins have fewer varieties. Let’s have a look at some of them:
Marina Di Chioggia
This pumpkin originated in Chioggia, a fishing village along the south coast of Italy. It is easily one of the most beautiful and unique types of green pumpkins in the market. They have sweet, rich flesh, which is deep orange-yellow, and DIY gardeners can prepare delicious pumpkin pies out of it.
These pumpkins can be distinctly noted for their highly warted rinds surrounding the exterior of these fruits.
Kabocha is an Asian pumpkin variety grown in Japan and has a classic sweet taste. The inside of this pumpkin has a fluffy texture that is similar to a chestnut.
The pumpkin can be noted by its hard rinds on the exterior, which are spotted or thin, and might also have light green stripes.
The Lakota squash is a delicious form of winter squash, having nutty and fine-grained flesh. They may be recognized instantly by their pear-like shape, which has beautiful orange rinds with green streaks.
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Green Hubbard is another type of winter squash that is oblate or tear-like in shape. The exterior of this variety is bumpy and thick. Additionally, the inner flesh is golden yellow and tastes sweet, making it the perfect choice for baking or steaming.
Bonbon squashes have a uniform look with some flattening around the poles and a round shape boasting sort of square shoulders. They have a dark green-grey rind covered in thin, silver-green stripes and are semi-bumpy and tough.
Underneath the rind is the smooth, dense, and bright orange flesh. This variety has an aroma similar to a cucumber when sliced and when cooked, the flesh gives a sweet, honey-like flavor.
Planting Green Pumpkins
Now that you know about the basic types of green pumpkins, we will focus on planting and growing the fruit.
Prepare the Soil
Pumpkins need nutrient-rich soil, which is well-drained and loose. By using manure, fertilizer, and organic compost, the soil will provide adequate and relevant nutrients for the pumpkins to grow. Ideally, a pH of 5.8-6.8 is essential for these green pumpkin plants.
The pumpkin plant can be planted both inside and outdoors, thus giving gardeners a choice regarding the location and setup they want the plants to grow.
Planting Pumpkins Outdoors
The pumpkin seeds must be sowed approximately one to two inches apart in mounds, and there must be even rows almost six feet apart. You should plant nearly four to six seeds per hill. Keep in mind, separating the mounds by 1.5 to 2 feet will help provide ample sunlight for the plants to grow while preventing overcrowding.
Regarding the climate, pumpkins grow well in tropical climates since the temperature is warm. On the contrary, in temperate climates, the best time to grow pumpkins is just after the cold season, in late May or June, since frosting can be harmful to the plant.
Planting Pumpkins Indoors
In case you live in a cold area, you can grow pumpkins indoors as well. In that case, three or four seeds need to be planted in small pots and placed for four to six weeks nearby a sunlit windowsill. If you cannot figure out a source of natural lighting, consider placing a combination of a heating pad and fluorescent lamp to boost the plant’s growth.
The soil should be damp but never excessively wet. Further on, germination will be evident in about two weeks. Not to forget, DIY gardeners should be patient since slowly and steadily, each plant will have about three to four mature leaves and well-built roots.
Also, reduce the water supply and temperature before transferring the plants outside. Then follow the steps as stated in the “planting pumpkins outdoors” paragraph.
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Here are additional factors to account for when caring for a green pumpkin plant:
Pumpkins can easily withstand dry conditions. However, extended dry periods can adversely affect the size and growth of the fruits.
At the same time, over-watering pumpkin plants can lead to diseases, and the fruit might rot. For best results, try and perform deep watering or irrigation of about 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 4 cm) per week.
For gardeners struggling with soil maintenance, using mulch can help preserve a healthy amount of moisture in the soil where the pumpkins are growing. Finally, as the fruits ripen, slowly reduce the amount of water.
Temperature and Atmospheric Conditions
Pumpkins require direct, abundant sunlight and warmth, with temperatures ranging from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
Another point to remember is that frost is harmful to these plants. Thus, it is better to plant pumpkins indoors in case of harsh cold temperatures.
Treating pumpkins with all-purpose fertilizers and nitrogen fertilizers will help them to grow evenly and healthily.
If you’re wondering how often to use fertilizers, no more than twice before planting and merely once when you see signs of developing vines is enough.
Since pumpkin plants grow fast and require a lot of space, there is a high chance of overcrowding in the field. Overpopulation can cause small, underdeveloped fruits to stay that way and may lead to other kinds of plant trauma, for which the plant might self-abort.
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To control overcrowding, you can prune the vines and leaves to thin out the plants. When the newly formed plants are well-developed, lessen the mounds until two or three plants are left on each. In addition to that, keep the best-looking or fastest-growing pumpkins for better results. Finally, prune out the diseased fruits and other plant parts that can spread infections to other pumpkins.
As the pumpkin vines start to grow, they will naturally prevent the formation of weeds. However, to prevent and inhibit the growth of highly invasive weeds, you can apply mulch to your pumpkin garden.
Pro Tip: Hand-weeding, hoeing, and herbicides can help remove weeds.
Pest & Disease Control
Although there aren’t many serious pests or disease-related complications that might affect green pumpkins, it is vital to protect them from external threats.
Some of these possible dangers may be in the form of:
Pests like squash bugs and cucumber beetles cause holes, droopy leaves, and dying vines that undergo severe discoloration. Even worse, these insects are a significant threat to the pumpkin’s vines, seeds, and fruits.
Although squash bugs can be trapped and destroyed easily, cucumber beetles require more than pyrethrin-based insecticides. You can also use a mixture of ammonia and soapy water to drown the beetles. Also, forming mounds around the plants can help prevent the insects from laying eggs.
Another hack to distract these pests is the presence of sunflowers. On spotting a sunflower, beetles are more likely to feast on these yellow plant marvels than the pumpkins. Thus, try to plant sunflowers in each row of your pumpkin plantation to keep your green pumpkins safe from infestation.
The growth and unorganized spread of powdery mildew is the worst type of pumpkin illness. This mold-like fungus can grow when leaves and other above-ground plant parts are exposed to water for a long time. What’s devastating, it can adversely affect the pumpkin’s growing stages and kill certain plant parts altogether.
To get rid of powdery mildew, you must avoid wetting the foliage and overcrowding plants. Moreover, it is advised to water plants early in the morning to allow them to dry as quickly as possible during the day. Furthermore, feel free to use fungicides to end the threat for good.
Pro Tip: Crop rotation can help to curb infections as well.
Besides pests and diseases, even wild and hungry wandering animals such as squirrels, deer, and groundhogs consider the pumpkin fruit irresistible. They thus pose a threat to any pumpkin garden.
Pumpkins are annual plants and can grow at any time, depending on the place and the climate. In temperate climates, pumpkins might grow from spring to fall.
Yet, the pie pumpkins and mini pumpkins could be ready for harvest as early as August, but most medium-sized pumpkins will need about four months before they’re ready for harvest.
Once the pumpkins attain a bright, even green color and have a hard exterior, DIY gardeners shouldn’t hesitate to utilize shears or a knife to begin the harvesting process. It is imperative to ensure that you make a clean cut from the vine and take care not to bruise the fruit or damage the stem, as pumpkins without stems begin to rot within a few days after harvesting.
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After removing all the damaged fruits, transfer the remaining harvest to a storage area with a temperature ranging from 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. This storage environment kickstarts the curing phase.
Curing is a two-week drying process that allows the stem and some minor injuries to the pumpkins to heal. This phase prolongs its shelf life and lowers the chance of any disease. What’s best, curing helps in hardening the pumpkin’s shell and improves the quality of the fruit.
After the curing process, arrange the pumpkins neatly on shelves, leaving enough room while keeping at least 5 inches of space between them.
Note: Some pumpkins are known to last for up to a year in storage.
Other methods of storing pumpkins include canning or freezing them for later culinary use.
There’s no harm in combining a tinge of sale to water and spraying it on the infected sections of the plants. This mixture can help the plant to heal fast. Even better, it behaves as a natural pesticide. Remember, using artificial pesticides and fertilizers might cause leaching, thus polluting the groundwater.
Be warned, using too many artificial fertilizers might have an adverse effect on the plants as well.
Green pumpkins are no doubt unique in their way, and they are more delicious as compared to their yellow family members. However, these green pumpkins must not be confused with the unripe form of yellow or orange pumpkins, as they taste a bit different from the actual green pumpkins.
From planting to maintenance to harvesting, every pumpkin plant growth stage may be a unique learning experience. Under proper conditions, pumpkins can grow to be a rewarding delight for all those who invest in their upkeep and care!