Tag Archives: pumpkin

OS19 Counting Pumpkin Seeds

It’s easy to say the bigger the pumpkin the more seeds inside. But is this really true? And just how many seeds are in a pumpkin, anyway?

One way to find out is to count all of them. As you found out in the last Investigation, there are lots of them. Maybe it’s possible to estimate how many seeds there are.

In this Investigation, you can compare how many seeds are in two different pumpkins, a big one and a small one. You compare two different ways of counting the seeds.

When you are done counting the seeds, you can roast them to eat or save them to grow new pumpkins next year.

 project materials

Question: How many seeds are in a pumpkin?

Materials:

2 ripe pumpkins (a small one and a big one)

Knife

1 Custard cup

3 Medium Empty Bowls

1 Big Empty bowl

Scale

Procedure:

Step 1: Open your Science Journal, write Investigation 19 and the date.

mass of cup

It’s important to mass the cup empty before putting the twenty seeds in.

Step 2: Label two bowls 1 and 2. Mass the custard cup and two bowls. Record these in the Table.

mass empty bowl

Be sure to write down the mass of the empty bowl so you can find the mass of the pumpkin seeds later.

Step 3: Cut one pumpkin open.

Step 4: Carefully pull handfuls of the strings and seeds out of the pumpkin dumping them in the unlabeled bowl. [You can use the seeds from Investigation 18.]

pulp and seeds

I like to use a soup spoon to scrape out all the pulp and seeds.

Step 5: Separate the seeds from the strings putting the seeds in Bowl 1. Some of the seeds may be very small and flat. Discard these with the strings.

Step 6: Mass Bowl 1 and the seeds. Record this in the Table.

Step 7: Count out 20 seeds. Put them in the custard cup and mass them. Record this in the Table.

mass of 20 seeds

Does the size of the seeds matter when you get the mass? If you include lots of little flat seeds, how will this change the mass?

Step 8: Count all the seeds moving them from one bowl into the unlabeled bowl. Be sure to add the 20 seeds put in the small bowl after massing them.

Step 9: Repeat with the second pumpkin using Bowl 2.

Observations:

table 1

How many seeds did you count for each pumpkin?

 

Pumpkin 1:

 

Pumpkin 2:

table 2

Counting each pumpkin seed individually takes a long time. Perhaps using seed mass will give an easier way.

Analysis:

Calculate the masses of the seeds [Subtract the mass of the bowl from the mass of the bowl and seeds mass]. Record this in Tables 1 and 2.

Estimate the number of seeds by first dividing the mass of 20 seeds by 20 to get the average mass of a seed. Then divide the mass of all the seeds by the average mass of one seed to get an estimate of how many seeds were in the pumpkin.

Do these two calculations for the second pumpkin.

 

mass of seeds

Does the pulp or the seeds have more mass?

Conclusions:

Compare the total number of seeds from each of the two methods. Are they about the same?

How accurate is using mass to find the number of seeds? Why do you think this?

Which method is easiest to do? Why do you think this?

Do you think different sizes of pumpkins would have different numbers of seeds? Why do you think this?

Do you think different kinds of pumpkins have different numbers of seeds? Why do you think this?

Do you think using more than 20 seeds for a sample would make that method more accurate? Test this and find out.

Can you think of any other ways that might make these methods more accurate? Test these and find out.

 

OS18 Inside a Pumpkin

Pumpkins look nice setting on a table but the parts to eat are inside that orange rind. Pumpkins have vitamins and minerals inside. It takes a chemistry lab to look for those. But other things are easy to look for so let’s look inside a pumpkin and see what we can find.

 

Note: Part of this Investigation asks you to cut a pumpkin into pieces. Pumpkins are difficult to cut. You may want an adult to cut the pumpkin up.

Note: If you use a clean table and kitchen knife, bowls and spoon, you can use the pumpkin to cook up some delicious pumpkin treats from the recipe section.

 pumpkin

Question: What is a pumpkin made of?

Materials:

1 Ripe Pumpkin

Kitchen counter or newspapers on a table

Knife

Paring knife

Large spoon

Metric ruler

2 Bowls, labeled

Bathroom scale

Oven

Scale

Procedure:

Step 1: Open your Science Journal. Write “Investigation 18” and the date.

Step 2: Pick a ripe pumpkin. Describe and draw your pumpkin.

Step 3: Break off the stem piece. [It should snap off if pushed flat.] Draw and describe the end of the stem and where it joined the pumpkin.

Step 4: Weigh it on the bathroom scale to the nearest tenth of a pound. Record the weight in Table 1.

cut open pumpkin

How is the seed pattern like the ovule pattern seen in Investigation 16? Why are some pumpkin seeds small and flat?

Step 5: Use the knife to split the pumpkin into top and bottom halves. This is difficult to do. Look at the seed patterns and compare it to the pattern of ovules you saw in Investigation 16.

Step 6: Measure the diameter in cm of the pumpkin. Record it in Table 2.

Step 7: Measure the diameter in cm from the inside edges of the flesh. Record it in Table 2.

Step 8: Measure how thick the rind is (You will have to estimate it.). Record it as the Middle thickness in Table 4.

Step 9: Measure how thick the flesh or wall is. Record it as the Middle thickness in Table 4.

Step 10: Mass Bowl 1. Record it in Table 3 in two places.

Step 11: Try to pull a seed out. Try to follow the string attached to the seed to the other end. Describe the string and seed.

Step 12: Pull the seeds and pulp out putting them in Bowl 1. Use the paring knife and spoon to remove as much of the strings as you can.

pumpkin pulp and seeds

It takes a lot of scraping to get all the pulp and seeds out of a pumpkin.

Step 13: Mass the bowl, pulp and seeds. Record it in Table 3.

Step 14: Mass Bowl 2. Record it in Table 3.

Step 15: Separate the seeds from the stringy pulp putting them into Bowl 2.

Step 16: Mass Bowl 1 with pulp and Bowl 2 with seeds. Record these in Table 3.

Step 17: Weigh the empty pumpkin on the bathroom scale to a tenth of a pound. Record the weight in Table 1.

Step 18: Cut each half in half. The stem part will be difficult to cut through.

empty pumpkin

Will the circumference around the middle of this pumpkin be bigger than the circumference around the top and bottom? What’s in the middle of a pumpkin?

Step 19: Measure how thick the rind is at the stem end or top and at the blossom end or bottom of the pumpkin. Record these in Table 4.

Step 20: Measure how thick the flesh is at the top and bottom of the pumpkin. Record these in Table 4.

Step 21: Hold top and bottom pieces together and measure the diameter. Record it in Table 2.

Step 22: Measure the diameter between the inside edges of the flesh. Record this in Table 2.

Step 23: Write down the percentage of water you think is in a pumpkin.

Step 24: Cut out three square pieces of the flesh and rind about 1.5cm on a side. Mark 1, 2 and 3 on the rind end with a marker or pen.

original pumpkin pieces

Measuring several pieces of pumpkin instead of just one should be more accurate. Right?

Step 25: Mass each of the pieces. Record the masses in Table 5.

Step 26: Dry the pieces. You can use an oven set very low [200º or less], a dehydrator or a warm place. The time needed will depend on how you dry the pieces. The heat must be low so the pieces do not cook.

Step 27: When the pieces are very dry, mass them again. You may want to let the pieces dry a while longer just to make sure, then mass them again.

Note: Use the seeds for Investigation 19. Use the pulp for making pumpkin puree for the recipes.

Observations: 

Describe your pumpkin.

OS18 Table 1

Is more of a pumpkin’s weight in the flesh or the pulp and seeds?

Describe the stem end of your pumpkin.

OS18 Table 2

How does the circumference change for the inside and outside of a pumpkin?

Describe the arrangement of the seeds inside your pumpkin.

Describe the seeds.

OS18 Table 3

Is there more pulp or seeds in a pumpkin?

Describe where the string goes from a seed to the pumpkin wall.

Describe how the seeds attach to the pulp.

OS18 Table 4

Are the rind and pulp thicknesses the same all over the pumpkin?

Write down the percentage of water you think is in your pumpkin.

OS18 Table 5

How much water is in a pumpkin? Does it matter how long since the pumpkin was picked?

Analysis:

 

empty pumpkin halves

After the pulp and seeds are out, the two halves of a pumpkin look like two thick orange bowls.

Table 1:

Subtract the weight of the empty pumpkin from the original pumpkin weight. Record it in Table 1.

Multiply the pounds by 2.2kg to find out how many kilograms each of the weights would be. Record it in Table 1.

Table 2:

Find the average outside diameter by adding the two outside diameters and dividing by 2. Write this in Table 2.

Find the average inside diameter by adding the two inside diameters and dividing by 2. Write this in Table 2.

Multiply the two diameters by p or 3.14 to find the circumference for the outside and inside of your pumpkin. Write these in Table 2.

Table 3:

Subtract the masses of the bowls to find the masses of the pulp and seeds together, pulp and seeds.

To do these calculations, be sure all the masses are in kilograms or in grams, not in both in the same calculation. Divide the mass of the empty pumpkin by the mass of the original pumpkin and multiply by 100%. Divide the mass of the pulp by the mass of the original pumpkin and multiply by 100%. Divide the mass of the seeds by the mass of the original pumpkin and multiply by 100%.

Table 5:

Subtract the dry mass from the original mass for each of the pieces. Write this in Table 5.

Find the averages by adding the three values in each column and dividing by three. Write this in Table 5.

Divide the difference by the original mass of the piece and multiply by 100% to find the percent. Write this in Table 5.

 

dried pumpkin pieces

Dried pieces of pumpkin are much smaller than the original pieces. How much water is in a pumpkin?

Conclusions:

Is most of the weight of a pumpkin in the seeds and strings or in the pulp? Why do you think so?

If you wanted to breed a pumpkin for the most weight, is the size of the whole pumpkin or the thickness of the pulp more important? Why do you think this?

If one pumpkin is tall and thin and another is short and fat, how will this affect the width and height diameters?

When you average the width and height diameters, what shape of pumpkin are you ending up with? Why do you think so?

If you have a very heavy pumpkin and another the same size but much lighter, how will the outside and inside circumferences compare for the two pumpkins?

If you add up the separate masses of the seeds and pulp from Table 3, do you think it will be the same as the original mass? Try it. If the two masses are not the same, why is there a difference?

Why do you think the diameter of the rind stays the same but the diameter of the pulp changes in different parts of the pumpkin?

What does the rind do for the pumpkin?

Giant pumpkins are flat when they get very big. Why do you think this happens?

Why do you think each seed has a string attached?

What do you think would happen to a developing seed if its string broke?

Drying the pieces of pumpkin evaporated the water. How important is water to the weight of the pumpkin?

Why did you dry more than one piece of pumpkin? Were the percentages of water the same for all three?

Do you think a pumpkin picked a week before you dried pieces would have as much water in it as one you picked the morning before? Why do you think so?

If you were growing a pumpkin for a competition, how important is it to water your pumpkin plants regularly? Explain why you think this.

 

Winter Pumpkin

Most of my pumpkin vines have succumbed to squash bugs or just being old. Yes, pumpkin vines do get old with yellowing leaves and smaller new vines and leaves.

Pumpkin vines have one great purpose in life: producing a ripe pumpkin. Since pumpkins are not picked until they are ripe, as soon as the first pumpkin ripens the vine has accomplished its life mission. Some kinds of plants quit growing right then. Luckily pumpkin vines are ambitious and produce more than one pumpkin.

My vines started early in the season so my pumpkins ripened early in the season. Most pumpkins ripen in October. My pumpkins will be history before then.

pumpkins in pantry

Pumpkins will keep several months in my pantry normally. That isn’t pumpkins from such a wet season. That isn’t pumpkins in warm and humid August. These must be worked up or fed to the goats.

My purpose in growing pumpkins is to eat them over the winter. That means preserving the pumpkins until I want to enjoy them as muffins, bread, cookies, pudding or pie, maybe soup.

Freezing works well. Whole pumpkins waste too much freezer space. Puree is ideal.

The first time I made pumpkin puree I boiled chunks of pumpkin until tender. The puree was bland and wet.

The next time I baked the pumpkin until tender. This works but takes a lot of time plus a hot kitchen.

pumpkin puree

Scooped out of the pumpkin shell, pumpkin pulp is chunky. I use a potato masher to break it into puree. A blender will work too.

Microwave to the rescue. Just cut the pumpkin into top and bottom halves, remove the seeds, put in a baking dish with a scant half inch of water and microwave on high until done.

I set my old microwave for five minutes at a time so I can check progress. A nice sized pie pumpkin half takes about fifteen minutes.

A soup spoon scoops out the pulp. A potato masher turns the pulp into puree. Two cups of puree [the amount I normally use at a time] goes in a quart freezer bag. Freeze the bags flat so they are easy to stack and store for later use.

puree in freezer bag

The puree is pushed out flat so most of the air is pushed out of the bag. When frozen flat, the puree stacks or lines up in a box easily for storage.

The nice thing about this pumpkin puree is how dry it is. Purchased canned puree is dryer but doesn’t contain the satisfaction of growing my own pumpkins.

Using home pumpkin puree is a bit tricky because it does contain more moisture. I add less other liquid to the recipes. The trick is to add the liquid a little at a time and mix it in until the batter or dough is right.

Once I have ten or fifteen packages of pumpkin puree in the freezer I can dream of pumpkin treats until next year’s crop ripens.

OS15 Male Pumpkin Flowers

Pumpkins have two kinds of flowers. One flower makes pollen and is called a male flower. Most flowers on a pumpkin plant are male flowers. These have long thin stems called petioles. On the day you want to do this Investigation, go out early in the morning and pick a male flower. It may have insects in it. Use a long grass stem to push them out. Don’t knock the flower about, especially upside down or all the pollen will fall out! Put the flower into a glass of water until you are ready to look it over. It will wilt in just a few hours so let’s start early and find out about a male flower.

 

Question: What parts are in a male pumpkin flower?

Materials:

Male Pumpkin Flower

male flower

A male flower has a long, slim petiole. They rise up from leaf nodes, places where the leaf petioles join the pumpkin vine.

Metric ruler

Knife

Magnifying glass

Microscope

Slide and coverslip

 

Procedure:

Step 1: Open your Science Journal, write “Investigation 15” and the date.

Step 2: Examine the outside of the male flower. Measure how tall it is. Compare it to the diagram of a flower and label your drawing with the parts.

inside male flower

Looking inside a male flower it is easy to see the flower has five petals joined together. The stamens are joined into a single column. Around the base of the column is a trough evidently filled with nectar as insects congregate there. Larger insects would come in contact with the pollen on the stamen column getting it on their bodies so the pollen will be carried off when the insect leaves hopefully stopping by a female flower next.

Step 3: Smell the inside of the flower.

Step 4: Carefully tear or cut off the petals of the flower and lay them out on the table.

Step 5: Examine the petals. Compare the inside and outside surfaces – look, color, feel.

Step 6: Examine the stamen. Measure the stamen. Touch the stamen. Draw and describe what you observe.

stamen

Splitting a stamen lengthwise shows the inside is solid. The yellow concentric loops form a thin skin on the outside of the top half of the stamen.

Step 7: Put a drop of water on a slide. Put some of the pollen from the stamen on the water. Put on the coverslip.

Step 8: Examine the pollen with the microscope.

Step 9: Carefully slice the stamen in half lengthwise and examine the inside.

magnified stamen

Magnifying the top of the stamen shows the concentric loops are yellow ridges on a pale base.

Observations:

Petals

male flower petals

The inside of the joined petals is smooth, slick, changing from yellow at the bottom to orange at the top. Large veins run down the center of each petal. The flower wilts quickly after being picked.

outside male flower petals

From the outside the joined petals are more greenish yellow at the base but still orange at their tops. Three veins are obvious on each petal lthough only the middle one is really big on the inside. The petals still feel smooth but don’t have a slick feel.

Conclusions:

Explain why you think a pumpkin flower has only one or has many petals joined (fused) together.

If a pumpkin flower has fused petals, how many petals are there? How can you tell?

What advantages would fused petals instead of separate ones give a pumpkin flower? (You might want to look at some flowers on your pumpkin plant in the early morning to get some ideas.)

Each seed in a pumpkin flower needs one grain of pollen to become a seed. Why are there so many more male flowers making pollen than female flowers (These have tiny pumpkins under them.)?

Why do you think the flower makes so much pollen since only one grain or piece is needed for each seed?

male flower stamen

The large stamen has a big base with three feet. It sits in the center of a moat. The five sepals and petals are on the outside edge of this moat. The top of the stamen looks like an unexpanded mushroom but with concentric loops all over it. Pollen is found in the troughs of the loops.

Many flowers have lots of little stamens. A pumpkin flower seems to have only one. Does the pumpkin flower have fused stamens? Explain why you think so.

Different kinds of plants have pollen grains (separate pieces of pollen) with different shapes. Archeologists use fossil pollen to identify the kinds of plants that grew in an area long ago. What special things about a pumpkin pollen grain do you see?

OS5 What Seeds Need to Grow

Different kinds of seeds end up on or in the ground in different ways. Pumpkin seeds are inside a pumpkin. Lots of animals eat pumpkins and the seeds. The seeds may just fall on the ground and be forgotten by the animal. Or the pumpkin may not get eaten but just rot and the seeds fall to the ground. However a seed gets to the ground, once there it wants to grow. How does a seed know it’s time to grow? Let’s find out about some things that might affect when and how a seed grows.

 

Question: Do light, water and temperature matter to a pumpkin seed and sprout?

Materials:

3-Styrofoam cups filled with dry potting soil (Let the soil sit out in a tray to dry, stirring it every day until it is very dry.)

3-Styrofoam cups filled with potting soil

24-Pumpkin seeds

Water

Plastic wrap

Flashlight

Metric ruler

A dark closet or box, a refrigerator [ask first], a warm, light counter

 

project set up

Each cup must be labeled so it is put in the right place. When the cups are compared later, the labels tell which cup is which.

Procedure:

Step 1: Open your Science Journal, write “Investigation 5” and the date. Draw Tables 1 and 2 in your journal.

Step 2: Label the cups DW, DY, LW, LY, CW, CY [D dark, L light, C cold; Y dry, W wet].

Step 3: Add water to all the cups with a W label so the dirt is damp but not muddy.

Step 4: Push two seeds 2cm deep in each cup, cover them and firm the dirt. Remember the best way from Investigation 4.

Step 5: Lay two seeds on top of the dirt in each cup.

Step 6: Cover the cups with plastic wrap.

Step 7: Put the two cups with a D label in a warm, dark closet or under a box.

Step 8: Put the two cups with an L label in a warm light place.

Step 9: Put the two cups with a C label in the refrigerator.

Step 10: Check the seeds everyday until the first seeds start to germinate. Take the plastic wrap off.

Step 11: Check and measure the sprouts everyday for seven days. Measure only the length of the stem. Try to do the ones in the closet quickly and use a flashlight with the door closed so they stay in the dark as much as possible. If the cups are under a box, wait until the room is dark and use a flashlight. Don’t shine the flashlight on the sprouts.

Note: Some of the seeds may not sprout. Start counting the seven days when the first seeds germinate.

Observations:

Write down how long each sprout is in the table and what it looks like in your notes.

 

pumpkin sprouts

Only a couple of cups had pumpkin seeds germinate. Can you tell which one was in the light? Why are the tips of the cotyledons dark green when the rest is yellow green?

Conclusions:

Are the seeds pushed into the dirt in the light or in the dark? Why do you think so?

Is this the same as putting the seeds in a dark closet? Why do you think so?

Why are some seeds pushed into the dirt and others left on top?

Does it matter if the seeds are in the light or dark to germinate? Why do you think so?

Does it matter if the sprouts are in the light or dark to grow? Why do you think so?

Does it matter if the seeds are wet or dry to germinate? Why do you think so?

Does it matter if the seeds are wet or dry to grow? Why do you think so?

Do you think how wet a seed is would matter? Can you think of a way to test your opinion? When you have, try it and find out if it matters how wet a seed is.

Does it matter if the seeds are warm or cold to germinate? Why do you think so?

Does it matter if the seeds are warm or cold to grow? Why do you think so?

Do you think these results would be true for all seeds? Why do you think so?

Which two cups do you think these are? Why do you think so?

Why do you think the tips of some cotyledons in the cup on the right are green when the rest is yellow?

[The dark green seedlings were in the light. The yellow green seedlings were under a box. The tips of the cotyledons poked out under the edge of the box.]

The Pumpkin Project

OSP1Pt2 Let’s Grow a Pumpkin

Project 1

Part 2

Let’s Grow a Pumpkin!

You know where your pumpkin plants will grow. You know what kind of pumpkin you will grow. You have purchased your seeds. Now let’s plant your pumpkin seeds.

When Do I Plant My Pumpkin Seeds?

Pumpkin plants will die if frost gets on them. So you must wait until after the last frost date for where you live. You can look this up.

If you can protect the plants from frost, you can plant earlier. There are lots of ways to help with a mild frost. Make a plastic tent over the plants. When the plants are very small, you can scatter some straw over them for the night.

Pumpkin plants like the weather warm but not really hot. They will not make pumpkins above 90°. So you must plant them early enough to start making pumpkins before your summer gets too hot. It takes sugar pie and Halloween sized pumpkins about six weeks to start making pumpkins.

Giant pumpkins take a lot longer so many people who grow giant pumpkins start their plants indoors. If you want to do this, think back to your Investigations to know the best way to start your seeds. Use 16oz cups or bigger. Don’t start your seeds more than four weeks before you can transplant them outside. Usually they are transplanted when the first or second true leaves appear. They must be transplanted before the fourth true leaves or the vines won’t grow as well. If you have enough room, you can test this.

You can start the other pumpkins indoors too but you don’t need to.

How Do I Plant My Pumpkin Seeds?

How you plant your pumpkin seeds depends on the kind and where you will plant them. Let’s begin with starting giant pumpkins indoors.

Giant pumpkins do take extra care. A good place to get instructions is at www.bigpumpkins.com or in the books by Doug Langston.

Starting Your Pumpkin Seeds Indoors

Step 1: It’s important to give pumpkin roots lots of room so use big Styrofoam cups 16oz or bigger. Only one seed will go in each cup so have enough cups for the number of plants you want plus a couple.

Step 2: It’s important to not make the dirt too wet in the cup so you need to make a hole in the bottom for extra water to drip out of. These cups have a little button on the bottom. You can cut this button out and have a good hole.

Step 3: Put a small rock over the hole inside the cup so the dirt won’t fall out. Then fill the cup with potting soil. Firm it down and add water so it is moist but not soggy.

Step 4: Make a hole 2.5cm deep in the soil and put in a seed. Cover the seed up. Set the cup aside in a warm place until it germinates. You can put plastic wrap over the top to keep the soil moist or check it every day and add water when needed.

Step 5: Light is very important for a sprout. If you use a grow light, it must be only 2.5cm over the sprout. If the days are warm, you can set the cup and sprout outside for the day. It can be in light shade outside. Even the shade is brighter than a grow light. The sun may be too bright for an indoor sprout. Be sure to bring it in at night.

Step 6: Transplant your sprout into your garden spot when it has two true leaves. Be sure you transplant it before it has four true leaves as it will have run out of room in the cup by then. If the sprout gets crowded in the cup, the plant will never grow as fast or as big as it should in your garden.

How To Transplant Your Pumpkin Sprout

Step 1: Prepare your planting hills the same way as in the directions for Planting Outside.

Step 2: Water your cup so the dirt is very wet. This makes it easier to get the sprout out of the cup.

Step 3: Make a hole in the top of the hill big enough for the cup to fit in. The sprout should not be planted deeper than it is in the cup.

Step 4: Slide the sprout and dirt out of the cup. Put it into the hole. Fill the hole with dirt and firm it against your sprout.

Step 5: Sprinkle water on the hill so the dirt settles around your sprout.

Growing Your Pumpkin In a Pot

Perhaps you don’t have a garden or other place outside. You can still grow a pumpkin. It must be a miniature pumpkin but there are several to choose from.

Step 1: Choose your pot. Even a miniature pumpkin plant needs room so the pot must be 16 inches or more across the top. Be sure it has a pan under it. You can use a big bag of garden soil in a box. Be sure you line the box with plastic then put the bag of soil in it.

Step 2: Decide where you will put your pot. Your pumpkin plant needs plenty of light so a south facing window or outside is the best. Once all the dirt and your pumpkin plant are in the pot, you won’t want to move it.

Step 3: Position your pot. Place rocks over the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Put three or four inches of gravel on these rocks. This helps water get into and out of your pot.

Step 4: Fill your pot with potting or garden soil. Add water to settle the dirt but don’t make it soggy.

Step 5: Make a small mound in the middle of the pot. Plant three or four seeds in the mound. Water them.

Starting Your Pumpkin Seeds Outdoors

Only giant pumpkin seeds really need to be started indoors. Even they can be planted outdoors. All other kinds of pumpkins can be started outside when spring arrives with warm weather.

Planting Your Pumpkins Outside

Step 1: Dig a hole one shovel length deep (only the metal part, not the handle), two shovel widths wide, and one meter long where you want your pumpkin vines to grow. Put a shovel full or two or three of compost in the hole. Put the dirt back on top of the compost to form a hill. Use the shovel to tamp the dirt down firmly. You need one hill to grow two miniature or sugar pie pumpkins, two hills two meters apart to grow two Halloween pumpkins and two hills three meters apart to grow two giant pumpkins.

Step 2: Make a moat or trench at least ten cm deep around the base of the hill to hold water.

Step 3: If you did not spread manure in the fall, spread composted manure over the garden area. I like it three or four inches deep. Use the tiller or a shovel to mix the manure into the dirt.

Step 4: Push 4 to 6 pumpkin seeds into each hill. Cover the seeds. Water the hill gently so you don’t wash the seeds out but get the dirt wet so the seeds are wet.

Step 5: Watch for your seeds to sprout.

Keeping Records

Write down when you plant your seeds. Write down when your sprouts appear. Every day write down what is happening to your pumpkin plants. How do your plants change as they grow? When do their first true leaves appear? When do your vines appear?

Questions

How do the cotyledons change as the pumpkin vines begin to grow? Compare this to what you saw in your Investigations. If this is different, why do you think it is?

 

The sun is very far away. Compare how sprouts grow in the sun to how they grew in Investigation 7. Is the sun brighter than a grow light?

 

What happens when the pumpkin roots find the manure? How can you tell? Why do you think this happens?