An Idiot’s Guide To Growing Your Own Pumpkins At Home

“What the fuck am I supposed to do with those?” says I as my dad dropped three flower pots at my front door with what appeared to be a living thing growing inside.

“Pumpkins” says he. “They’ll be ready for Hallowe’en”.

We had literally just moved back into our house after building the extension and I was surrounded by a garden full of rubble, unpainted walls and layers of dust so thick we could all (and did) write our names in it.

In hindsight, the three little green pumpkin stalks sticking their heads above the flower pots were a welcome bit of greenery in an otherwise dull grey building site.

We let the stalks grow a little stronger for a few weeks before transplanting them into a veggie patch that Ass Monkey hastily threw together as I wailed, “The pumpkin babies! They’ll die if we don’t put them into the feckin’ ground!!”

And then we waited and observed…

Lo and behold, it’s Hallowe’en week and we just harvested FOUR mighty pumpkins from those brave little stalks.


Here’s what I’ve learned about being an unwitting pumpkin farmer:

  1. The growth rate is unreal. One day you have a small stalk, the next, they are trying to climb into your wheelie bins. I was calling the patch ‘The Little Shop Of Horrors’ at one point.
  2. The kids LOVE watching them grow. It was literally our go-to ‘job’ every morning and when anyone came to visit, bringing them to see The Pumpkin Patch was all they wanted to do. The pride!
  3. I know nothing about growing pumpkins: I watched a YouTube video for an hour about how to REALLY grow pumpkins – hay and mulch and greenhouses and all sorts of crazy stuff were required. Me? I chucked them in the ground on a wing and a prayer (and on my dad’s orders) – they seemed to do alright.
  4. Not every bulb turns into a pumpkin. At one point we thought we were going to have about 20 pumpkins because there were so many bulbs growing on the vines. What I’ve learned is that they often end up feeding the main pumpkins and so disappear after a while.
  5. They’re ready when they’re ready. I was worried there for a bit that I was leaving them in the ground for too long and wouldn’t cut them at the right time. As it happens, we cut them today and the biggest one had actually already removed itself from the vine so it was ready to rock and roll.
  6. There are so many pumpkin recipes to try out! From pies to soups and now butter! Great recipe over at Fraulein.Umlaut that you must check out.

Happy Hallowe’en!

Like talking food and stuff? Try this;

Recipe: chorizo, chicken & chickpea casserole