Kids - Pumpkin Jack O'Lantern

Step 1 - Sow pumpkins seeds on their sides in small 7.5cm (3") pots of seed compost at a depth of about 2.5cm (1"). Step 2 - Place them in a propagator or seal the pots inside a plastic bag at a temperature of 20C (68F) until germination, which takes 5-7 days. Step 3 - Once germinated, grow pumpkin plants on for about 4 weeks until they are large enough to be transplanted outdoors. Step 4 - Gradually acclimatise them to outdoor conditions over 7-10 days before transplanting pumpkins into warm, well drained, humus rich soil in full sun, with shelter from winds. Choose a spot that receives at least 6 hours of direct sun per day and prepare the soil in advance, adding plenty of well rotted manure or compost. Step 5 - Planting distances can range from 90cm apart to 3m apart depending on the variety, so you will need to check the seed packet. At each planting station, pile the soil into mounds about 15cm (6") high. Plant each pumpkin plant on top of a mound to ensure good drainage and keep them well watered until they are established. Step 6 - Pumpkins enjoy plenty of nitrogen so they will appreciate a feed of general fertilizer a few weeks after planting. They will begin to produce long stems which can be trained in a circle around the plant to prevent them spread too far. They have deep roots and are normally quite capable of finding their own water within the soil, but in very dry periods some supplementary watering may be required.

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