The most fun thing to do in the yard is plant pumpkin seeds. Just plant one tiny seed, and in a few months, you’ll have a bunch of fall’s most famous fruits. To increase your chances of success, learn how to plant pumpkin seeds.
This is true whether you’re growing small pumpkins for desk displays or big pumpkins for scary carving. It is also very important to know when to put pumpkin seeds, especially if you want a huge harvest.
Pumpkin seeds need a few things to grow, just like any other seed. The process starts with soil and water. After the leaves turn, light is very important. It’s hardest to figure out when to put pumpkin seeds.
Plant seeds between April 25 and May 15 if you want to grow a giant that will grow to be 140 days or more tall. Start seeds indoors if you plant in a place where it’s still cold. The seed coat on most big pumpkin seeds is very thick. If you file the sides of the seed, it will grow better.
Don’t touch the sharp end, though. Smooth out the sides of the seeds with sandpaper or a nail file. After you file the seeds, put them in hot water for an hour or two before planting. These steps make it easier for seedlings to come out from under the hard seed coat.
From May 15 to June 15, plant field pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns in your yard. You can start the seeds indoors up to two weeks before these dates if you want to harvest faster or get a slightly bigger pumpkin. To reach their full size, miniature pumpkins don’t need as long of a growth season. From May 25 to July, plant these seeds in the ground.
There are some things you need to do before you plant pumpkin seeds that you took out of the pumpkin.
To begin, you will need to remove the seeds. Use a strainer to drain the seeds and run cold water over them. “Once you’ve rinsed all the seeds, separate and select the biggest seeds,” says Watson. “Their chances of growing and flowering are better. Leave some space between them on a paper towel so they can dry in the air.
Putting the seeds in an envelope and putting it in the back of the fridge will keep them fresh until you’re ready to plant them.
Watson says you should pick one of these three types of store-bought seeds: Autumn Gold if you want to grow pumpkins that you can carve; You can grow Dill’s Atlantic Giant if you want to grow big pumpkins that weigh up to 200 pounds, or you can grow Casper if you want all-white pumpkins.
Watson says, “Pick a spot to plant that gets full sun to light shade.” “Keep in mind that the soil should be able to drain because pumpkins prefer soil that is not too soggy.”
They need a lot of space to grow, so clear out a big area in your yard. “Due to large vines, it is best to plant your pumpkin seeds five feet apart,” says Watson. “If you are growing a smaller variety of pumpkins, the spacing changes—instead, space them three feet apart.”
Make sure there are no bugs, weeds, or other pests in the area: You can put down weed block two weeks before you plant, and the weeds will die on their own.
Always do things the right way when it’s time to plant the seeds. The seeds of a pumpkin grow best when put straight into the ground, about an inch deep.
If you grow pumpkins outside, remember that they need a lot of room to grow. Make sure you have enough space because each plant needs at least 20 square feet.
If you live somewhere warmer, you can plant seeds right in the ground after the frost has gone away. Pumpkins do best in warm weather, so choose a spot that gets full sun to light shade. When the ground is at least 65°F (18°C), it’s safe to put the pumpkin seeds.
If you live somewhere cold where the frost lasts longer, you can start growing pumpkin seeds inside about two to three weeks before the frost ends.
In a pot full of potting soil, plant three to four pumpkin seeds. Plant them about an inch into the ground.
You can either put the containers under artificial lights or near a window that gets a lot of sunshine. A heated pad can also be put under the pot or container. After the seeds sprout, choose the one that is the best.
Once the frost has gone away, it is safe to move the sprouted seed to the dirt outside.
If you don’t know when to put pumpkin seeds in colder places, it can be hard to grow a pumpkin. In general, after the last frost has gone away is the best time to put pumpkin seeds. People who live in colder places should start planting their pumpkin seeds indoors so that they are ready to move outside when the frost goes away.
Even if it’s the middle of July, you can still plant pumpkin seeds because they grow quickly when it’s warm outside.
In early summer, a little pumpkin grows on a bush. When the plants are about a foot tall, feed the pumpkin bushes. Because they eat a lot, feed them a nitrogen-based fertilizer every other week.
Every morning, drink water. Every day, use a drip hose to give your pumpkins a deep drink at the roots, under the leaves. It gets really hot in the summer, so pumpkins need a lot of water. If you wet the vine’s leaves, the plant could get a fungus disease. So don’t drink from above.
When pumpkins start to form, take them out of the ground to keep them from going bad. Put some cardboard or folded newspaper under it to keep it from touching the wet soil.
Cut back the vines once a few pumpkins have formed so that the plant can use its energy to make flowers and feed the young pumpkins.
Keep an eye out for squash bugs, powdery mildew fungus, and bacterial wilt disease, which is spread by striped cucumber beetles and kills plants. Neem or pyrethrum can be used to kill adult bugs. Foam killer spray can be used to treat white mildew on the leaves.
From the time the seeds are put until they are fully grown, a pumpkin takes about 90 to 120 days3. In other words, it takes three to six months to fully grow up. When you buy seeds at the store, the “days to maturity” number is written on the back of the package. If the pumpkin seeds come from a bought pumpkin, you’ll need to know what kind it is to get a more accurate number. If your pumpkin has a stiff stem, full color, and a hard rind, it’s ready to be picked.
Pumpkins are a great choice for people who are just starting to grow. If you have a garbage pile and have ever thrown out the inside of a pumpkin that you carved for Halloween, you may have noticed that the seeds tend to escape on their own. Remember that the most important things are to water your plants and keep pests away.
Standard-sized pumpkin trees will produce three to five pumpkins. Sugar pumpkins and other smaller pumpkins can grow up to ten pumpkins per plant. To get the most growth from each plant, it’s important to keep your yard free of weeds, water it well, and give the plants enough space to grow.