This week, taking advantage of the drier weather we have been busy planting out the pumpkin plants, Halloween seems to get bigger and bigger each year and is now an important part of our business.
We grow the transplants from seed in a polytunnel. The pumpkin seeds are sown in to individual cells in black trays around about the middle of May. Once established the plants are moved outside to harden off before planting out.
Ideally, the transplants wanted planting out about 10 days ago but the wet weather prevented this. The plants have grown a little leggy in the trays, which makes them harder to plant and a little more floppy.
Fortunately there is a good degree of mechanisation in the planting process and it doesn’t take too long. The plants are transported to the field and then removed from their cells as required, at this point it is important not to let the plants dry out before they go in the ground.
The final step is planting. A two man job which is still fairly tough on the back, but not as hard as planting with a spade! The plants are carefully placed in a furrow created by shears on the front of the machine and the soil is closed around the plant by a couple of wheels on the back.
Last year we had to irrigate the plants because it was so dry, this year it looks like this will not be necessary. The plants will not take long to establish and it should only be a matter of a couple of weeks before the first flowers are forming. By mid September we should have a field full of pumpkins.