How Much to Water Pumpkins
Pumpkins prefer soil that isn’t too wet, so you should water them infrequently. However, make sure that each watering is a good, deep soaking. A soaker hose or drip irrigation are ideal ways to water your pumpkins. These methods are also helpful to avoid certain common diseases such as powdery mildew. Most pumpkins begin to bloom around late July, so pay close attention to your watering habits during this time. 1 to 2 inches of water a week in recommended, depending on where you live. As the pumpkin fruit starts to develop, reduce watering.
Mulches, Windbreaks, and Row Covers:
Plastic and organic mulches can be very useful when growing pumpkins to reduce weeds and to make full use of your waterings. Place black plastic mulch over the soil and cut out hole where you want to plant the seeds or transplants. Use extra soil to weigh down the plastic at the edges. Plastic mulches are especially useful for when you want to plant you pumpkins earlier in the season as they help warm the soil. Organic mulches such as bark or straw work great but must be used when the soil is warm enough, around 75 degrees.
Windbreaks are another useful tool when growing pumpkins, especially young, tender plants. When vines are long and before fruit sets, strong winds can lift up and damage the vines. You can set up a small plastic windbreak between two wooden stakes, or use burlap. Snow fence and erosion control cloth can work as well. As vines get longer, you can also fasten the vines with a thin layer of soil spaced out along the runners.
Some gardeners find row covers and plastic tunnels handy when growing pumpkins. Plastic tunnels can help protect your pumpkins from cooler weather. This is especially useful if you want to start your crops early for an earlier harvest. Fabric row covers and hotcaps are also options for protecting your plants. Once temperatures stabilize and/or when blooms appear, you can remove your row covers.