Pumpkin & Squash Delight – My Little Allotment

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My name is Kirsty, 28 and the owner of My Little Allotment in Lincoln. I work part time and I am a wife and mummy to 2 young daughters Callie and Mila. I’ve had my allotment now for coming up to a year and it’s possibly one of the best things I have done. I started out getting an allotment due to a difficult time in my life, after reading up what gardening therapy can do for your health I decided an allotment was the way to go for me. It’s changed my life in ways I would have never expected, its helped my road to recovery become a little easier providing me the time, space and solace I needed to help me heal. There is something about an allotment or gardening that seems to draw you in and get you hooked straight away. I don’t know if it’s being outside, being close to nature, getting your hands dirty, watching seeds turn into flowers or vegetables or the whole mixture, but whatever it is I am absolutely smitten with it.


Pumpkin and Squash delight

I really can’t help myself; I don’t normally like having favourites, but last year down on my allotment growing pumpkins and squash was just an absolute delight. I had a really successful season and a great crop that I am still working my way through, plus it’s a great way to get the younger generation interested in growing their own.

Getting my hands on the keys to my allotment in late April 2017 a whole world of opportunities opened up for me in terms of what I could grow. I had suddenly gone from a small vegetable patch at home suitable for salad, to a 292 square metre plot of land that I could grow pretty much everything on. The variety of fruits and vegetables I could now grow was so exciting. One of the first vegetables that sprung to mind to grow was pumpkins and squash, being a big kid at heart and having two young daughters, growing these wonderful pumpkins for Halloween would be so much fun for all the family.


This was my first growing season, and being a complete grow your own novice; I hadn’t really thought about the wide range of pumpkin and squash varieties out there, this of course was until I started looking. I had envisaged just growing some typical normal pumpkins, butternut squash and well yeah that's was it. After taking a look around shops and garden centres my eyes were fully open to the massive range of beautiful pumpkin and squash seed types available.

As it was my first year on my allotment I tried to keep things as simple as I could, trying not to give into the temptation of taking on too much too quickly. I decided to grow the normal pumpkin rocket F1 seeds for our pumpkins and a packet of patty pan winter squash seeds. I was also lucky enough to get some munchkin pumpkin plants from a very kind allotment neighbour and a squash plant that to this day have no idea what it was.

Getting started & getting the whole family involved

I started off by sowing some of my normal pumpkin seeds with my eldest daughter Callie, who was 3 at the time. We sowed each seed into a 3 inch individual pots, into peat free compost, making sure the seeds was sown on its side (as this helps germination) The pots were then placed into a tray and on a sunny windowsill in our home and watered with warm water until the seedlings have broken through the soil.

We kept the pumpkin and squash seeds on a sunny windowsill until they had grown bigger and had produced at least two sets of leaves. I would check on the plants every evening and water if the compost was dry. Once the plants were bigger and had developed a good root system I potted them up into individual 9cm pots. This allowed the plants to nearly double in size again.

Once they had doubled in size they would be ready to plant outside once all risk of frost had passed, but firstly you will need to harden your plants off. To do this I would place the plants outside in my garden in a sunny spot from morning until evening for around a week to 10 days but I would bring the plants inside at night time. This will allow the plant chance to get used to the weather conditions outside, so it won’t be such a shock to the plant, when moved to its final growing place.

I planted my pumpkin and squash plants in a large area, as they grow quickly and like a lot of space for their vines to grow into. Within 2-4 weeks of planting them the plants had taken over the whole space. The recommended space between pumpkin plants is around 1.8 meters which is about 6ft.

From planting my seeds on the 5th may 2017, I had completely harvested all of my pumpkins and most of my squash by 23rd August 2017. When harvesting your squash and pumpkins, if you cure them properly outside in the sunshine for a couple of days you can successfully store them in a cool, dry, dark place for at least 6 months. When storing the pumpkins and squash make sure that they are not touching each other as they are prone to rotting quickly. Make sure you check on your stored pumpkins and squash regularly, to check for any changes and to stop the vegetables rotting.

For me 2017 was such an excellent and successful year for my pumpkins and squash, I have attached some pictures of my harvests and photos of different stages of the pumpkin and squash plants growing.

Getting the kids involved

I truly feel pumpkins are the way to go to get the next generation interested in gardening and growing their own food. There are many ways to get young children involved with pumpkin growing so I want to give you some ideas. To make it a bit more fun and enjoyable for the kids, get them to save a large yoghurt pots to grow their own pumpkin and squash seeds in. I will be letting my girls decorate their own pots with paint, pom poms, glitter and anything else they want to use, so it makes it more personal to them. Make sure you allow children to check on their seeds daily so they can keep check on progress and to also check the soil to see if it needs watering.


You can hold a competition with the children and adults of course to see who can grow the biggest pumpkin, and then also have a pumpkin carving competition once they have been harvested. You could also get them to save their own pumpkin seeds for next year. There are many ways in which you can use the left over pumpkin, by making soups or use it in your cooking, cutting it up into pieces and leave it outside on your allotment or gardens for wildlife to eat. If you don’t like the taste of pumpkin you can always just add it to the compost pile as pumpkin is 90% water so will degrade quickly on your compost heap. I think it’s really important to teach children about wildlife so you can always save the seeds from the pumpkin and pop them in feeders for the birds. Then spend a day in the garden doing a bit of birdwatching and teaching the kids the names of the birds. There are still so many other ideas out there and these are just a few but it’s definitely a great family activity from start to finish.

My pumpkin and Squash season for 2018

After a wonderful and successful year in 2017 I have decided to branch out further and expand my pumpkin patch by at least another two thirds and put the total of 11 varieties of squash and pumpkin plants into my patch.

I have spent a lot of time working hard on my new pumpkin patch and below are the before and after picture of my progress. This was a really unused, unworked part of my allotment that hadn’t been tended to for years before I took on the plot. The space is now a large area perfect for my pumpkins and squash to be planted in. I can’t wait to see how the space transforms from its bare mud now to it being full of life with pumpkins and vines.

Images Below:
Top left - Before
Bottom left: Pumpkin ready!
Right - Getting growing!

Below are the 11 varieties of pumpkins and squash that I will be growing on my patch in 2018. I will be growing the mini and baby variety of pumpkins up some arches on the patch to make the most of the space available by growing vertically.

Winter Squash Queensland Blue

Winter Squash Turks Turban

Winter Squash Festival F1

Squash Scallop Blend F1

Squash Butternut Squash

Squash Crown Prince

Pumpkin Big Max

Pumpkin Jack O’ Lantern

Pumpkin Wee B little

Pumpkin Jack Be Little

Pumpkin Baby Boo

There are still many more varieties that I want to grow but space is limited to these ones this season. If I can recommend growing anything on your allotment or in your vegetable patch at home it would be a pumpkin or squash plant. They are simply so rewarding from the moment you sow the seed to their harvest.

If you have enjoyed reading my post and would like to follow My Little Allotments progress please follow the links to my social media pages where I will update with blogs, pictures, videos and tweets about my progress.

Thank you for reading

Kirsty- My Little Allotment

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