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Home Help: What to know about growing pumpkins

Staff Writer
LA Junta Tribune

Contributed by More Content Now

Fall is fast approaching and with it your last chance to grow pumpkins. While the air outside might not remind you of pumpkins, you should plant them soon due their long gowing time. Here are some pumpkin-growing tips from Good Housekeeping:

• Check the growing time on your seeds. Every packet of seeds should list "days for maturity," which will give you an idea when to plant. Small Sugar Pumpkins, for example, require 100 days to mature.

• Plant in full sun. Pumpkins require a lot of sun, so select a spot in your garden that receives full sunlight. Again, check the packet to see how much sunlight your variety needs.

• Space out the seeds. Pumpkins vines can extend far from their original location, so plant seeds a good distance from each other.

• Water carefully. Pumpkins need 1 to 1.5 inches of water every week. Take rainfall into account when calculating how much to water your plants. "Pumpkin leaves can look wilted in the afternoon heat, even if the soil is still moist," notes Good Housekeeping. "Resist the temptation to douse the dirt even more if the foliage perks back up again in the evening or under cloud cover, as overwatering can contribute to root rot. Mulching your beds will help keep pumpkin plants more consistently hydrated and also tamp down weeds.

• No need to prune. Large leaves will help the plant produce more carbohydrates, resulting in larger pumpkins.

• Fertilize as needed. An all-purpose vegetable garden fertilizer is good for pumpkins. Don't use general lawn fertilizer. Test your soil to see what kind of soil you have. Pumpkins prefer neutral soil with a pH between 6 and 6.5

• Harvest before frost. A heavy frost will damage pumpkins, so factor in growing time before planting and remove fruits from the vine before a cold snap.

GARDENING

Preventing tomato "catfacing"

Catfacing is the malformation of the blossom end of the tomato is called catfacing. According to BobVila.com, "it is caused by temperatures (below 58 degrees Fahrenheit) during fruit development or excessive nitrogen in the soil. It also can come from pollination problems or damage to the flower during or just after pollination. Cultivars that make large tomatoes are most susceptible to this condition."

To prevent catfacing, plant resilient varieties of tomatoes, ensure overnight temperatures are warm and will continue to be throughout growth, and avoiding high-nitrogen fertilizer.

DECORATING TIP

Make staying home feel like a vacation

Many have put vacations on hold due to the pandemic, but using clever decor, you can make your home feel like a vacation destination.

"Use naturally occurring textures from your favorite vacation spot in your home," recommends HGTV. For a home reminiscent of beach vacation, for example, "a set of driftwood table lamps [can be] used to accent a natural wooden table in [a] sundrenched dining room. Pull more inspiration from the space and incorporate elements like the weathered, white-washed wicker chairs and bamboo chandelier."

Umbrellas, beachy hues and cushioned, rattan seating can add a luxurious and exotic feel to your own backyard. Try creating an outdoor bar for extra resort vibes.

CLEANING

No need to rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher

Throwing a dirty plate with food residue still visible directly into the dishwasher might seem counterintuitive, but many dishwashers and detergents are up to the task. Rinsing your dishes then washing them in the dishwasher can be a waste of water and energy. Detergents can remove most food particles from dishes, so, instead of wasting time and water making the plate look clean, simply discard any large pieces and load.