Fall is in full swing here at R7 and before I find my other earring and get my own porch decorated, I want to take a minute and remind you of the best way to make sure your mums and pumpkins stay beautiful all season!
Tips to enjoy your pumpkins & gourds longer:
- Buy pumpkins that are ripe, clean and have a good stem.
- Bathe those little pumpkins. If they will be outside you can use a spray bottle to shower them with a bleach solution (1:10) every other week. If indoors go ahead and soak those pumpkins in a bath for 20-30 minutes. This takes care of any bacteria or mold growth that could cause rot.
- For the longest life — keep it dry and out of harsh direct sunlight
- If you want a shiny pumpkin that will last even longer — coat it with Vaseline, WD-40 or a floor wax solution
In our area, simply buying clean pumpkins and keeping them from getting soggy is usually enough to preserve it. The shelf life of pumpkin is quite long making it a favorite for settlers in early America. They would store them in dry attics or pantries and enjoy all winter long. When it is time to carve or cut that pumpkin — fresh pumpkin pie is easier than you think and everyone enjoys baked pumpkin seeds — delicious!!
For mum care:
- Mums love morning sun and afternoon shade
- Cooler nights and day time temps in the 70’s are best. If the weather heats up to the high 80’s and 90’s for a day or two — put them in full shade or in the garage or house for a short time to slow the blooms
- Mums usually require daily watering but good drainage, so make sure to remove any excess water from a drip tray after watering
- If you plant mums here in Iowa and Illinois, do it in early fall so the roots have time to develop before a hard frost. When blooms expire, cut the plant down to ground level and mulch 4-5″ deep. Mums are for zones 5-9 and we are on the border of zones 4-5. If your mums come back in the spring they will bloom in early summer, so keep them clipped back until closer to fall to enjoy fall blooms
Although, our mums are hardy, most people simply enjoy them as a potted plant for fall and enjoy shopping for fresh blooms each fall along with pumpkins and gourds. Have you decorated for fall yet? I’m taking my cues from nature and adding bits of fall a little at a time.
R7 Barn is open weekends through September and early October.
Shop Saturday 9-3, Sunday 1-4 or online 24/7 at ShopR7.com