I am the perfect addition to your garden, haven’t you always wanted your own pumpkin patch?  Find a nice sunny bare spot in your garden, plant me, water me, and I will do the rest.  I grow huge leaves and tons of vines.  Try to keep one pumpkin per vine and I will grow about 18” wide and 26” tall and weigh up to 35-60 pounds.   I start out green and turn orange under full sun.  Every time you water me start thinking of how you’re going to carve me for Halloween.  When the time comes, don’t forget about my seeds; ask a grown up to roast them while you carve me. 

Growing instructions:
What can be more rewarding than carving a pumpkin you grew yourself?  You will have all summer to think about the perfect face to carve as you watch your pumpkin start as a small vine, that flowers and turns into a giant orange Jack-O-Lantern.
First thing you are going to do is to pick the perfect spot.  Pumpkin vines can take a lot of room, so I usually plant them toward the back of my garden in an area that gets 6 or more hours of sun.  As the vines grow, I try to train them into straight rows.  Some people train their pumpkins to grow in between rows of corn, or along a fence.  However they have a mind of their own and tend to wander off to where ever they want.  A single vine can reach 30 feet, so think about this when you plant your pumpkin vine. 
Pumpkins start as small little cluster with a few leaves, and quickly create tons of roots between the soil.  Next vines start to grow, as fast as six inches a day.  Two months after planted you should see your first flowers.  They only bloom for one day.  They start to open just before dawn and open into what looks like giant bowls.  During this time, the bees and other insects will climb in and out collecting and dropping pollen.  By the afternoon the flowers start to close and seal shut.  Male flowers will appear first, and sit on long thin stems, female flowers have small round spheres that look like baby pumpkins.  Do not be alarmed when the flowers fall off, this is perfectly natural and a good sign.
Your plants will continue to produce tons of leaves to collect sunlight and feed your pumpkins.  However if your vines get to big it is ok to trim some of the extra vines and leaves.  Be careful not to damage the main vine.  It is ok to trim some of the shoots that branch off of the vine.  Make sure you use clean scissors or have an adult help you with a clean sharp knife.    It is also important to trim off extra fruits.  If you only have a few pumpkins on one plant, they will be bigger and grow better than a vine with many pumpkins.  The plant can work on just growing a few big pumpkins rather than using extra effort to produce a bunch of little ones.
When Fall comes, when the leaves start to change colors, so should your pumpkin.  The vine starts to wither, the leaves start to wilt and to look beat up.  The plant focuses its energy on ripening it’s fruit rather than the rest of the plant.  Your green pumpkin should start to change to orange, if you hear frost is coming, cover your pumpkins at night to protect them.  Leave on the vine as long as possible, when the vines have completely withered away, have an adult cut the pumpkins from the vine using a clean, sharp knife.  Make sure to leave a long enough piece of vine for a handle, it not only gives you a handle for your Jack-O-Lantern it aids in the curing of pumpkin.  If your pumpkin is still green two weeks before Halloween, harvest it, and move it to a location where it will get sun all day long.  You will be amazed at how fast it changes color.
Perfect Pumpkin Seeds
Clean all seeds from pumpkins
Olive oil (vegetable oil works as well)

Wash all goop and slime off of your pumpkin seeds and dry in a strainer.
While you carve your pumpkins, have an adult do the following:
Preheat oven to 400 °F
Place pumpkin seeds in an oiled baking sheet.  Stir seeds around to coat evenly, arrange into a single layer and sprinkle with salt.
After 10 minutes stir with a spatula, flipping over as many seeds as possible and rearrange in a single layer.
Check after another 10-15 minutes to see if they are crunchy enough.
Let them cool and store in an air tight container.

Did you know:
The story of the Jack O' Lantern comes from Irish folklore. Jack was a crafty farmer who tricked the Devil into climbing a tall tree. When the Devil reached the highest branch, Jack carved a large cross in the trunk, making it impossible for the Devil to climb down.

In exchange for help getting out of the tree, the Devil promised never to tempt Jack with evil again. When Jack died, he was turned away from Heaven for his sins and turned away from Hell because of his trickery. Condemned to wander the earth without rest, Jack carved out one of his turnips, took an ember from the devil, and used it for a lantern to light his way. He became known as "Jack of the Lantern."


How did the ghost patch his sheet?
With a pumpkin patch.
What do you get when you drop a pumpkin?
What do you get when you divide the diameter of a jack-o-lantern by it's circumference?
Pumpkin Pi