Days to Germination: 5-10 days
Germination Temperature: 65°-75°F
Pumpkins need space to ramble, as well as a hot growing site in full sunlight. They may be started outdoors shortly after the last frost. Direct-sow 3 to 5 seeds per hill, then thin to the 2 strongest seedlings. To start seedlings indoors, sow singly in pots 3 to 4 weeks before transplant date. Provide seedlings with good ventilation, strong light and even moisture. Transplant outdoors after the last frost date. Enrich soil with organic fertilizer, compost and/or well rotted manure. Cover seedlings with cloches if it gets cool, water regularly and feed as needed with kelp or fish emulsion. (Powdery mildew on leaves won’t affect the pumpkins.) Harvest when mature with a sharp knife, leaving 2" of stem at the top. To cure Pumpkins, if there is no danger of frost, leave outdoors in the sun for 10 days or place in a warm, dry room for 5 to 7 days. Store in a cool, dry place until use.
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We’d be happy just to grow Rouge d'Étampes Pumpkins for their beauty alone, but they also make heavenly, velvety soups. Since they often grow quite large, we cut them up into large chunks, blanch briefly in boiling water, then wrap the chunks individually in foil and put them in the freezer for a winter-long supply.