How to Grow Pumpkin From Planting Seeds to Harvest. Choosing the ideal pumpkin at the store or patch, spending the afternoon determining how to carve it, sipping apple cider, and thinking about how you’re going to make your costume are some of the best parts of Halloween. But you can also choose to grow your very own pumpkins if you want to save money and put your green thumb to the test.
How to Grow Pumpkin From Planting Seeds to Harvest
While tending to homegrown pumpkins in the ground can take a lot of effort, if you establish a pattern, your garden will soon be filled with large orange gourds. Here, Danny Watson, a garden centre associate at The Home Depot, offers his top advice for starting pumpkin seeds indoors and growing them outside.
Pumpkin Planting Season:
For the fall harvest, the optimal period to plant pumpkin seeds is from late May to early July. Choosing ready-to-plant store-bought seeds or gathering seeds from a recently carved pumpkin is a simple task.
Before you start planting pumpkin seeds, keep in mind that you’ll need a lot of space in your backyard to space the seeds out. Aspiring pumpkin growers who don’t have a lot of outdoor space might want to stick to the pumpkin patch or store.
How to Plant Pumpkin Seeds:
Get Your Seeds Ready
Before you plant seeds that you have taken from the inside of a fresh pumpkin in the ground, there are a few preparations you must make. You must first clean off the pulp. The seeds should be rinsed with cold water and placed in a colander. Once all of the seeds have been cleaned, Watson advises separating and choosing the largest seeds. “Their chances of growing and blossoming are higher”. They should be separated on a paper towel so they can air dry.”
You can store the seeds by putting them in an envelope and putting them in the back of your refrigerator if you aren’t quite ready to plant them. Watson advises picking between these three types of store-bought seeds: If you want to grow pumpkins you can carve, try Autumn Gold; If you want to grow 200-pound big pumpkins, try Dill’s Atlantic Giant, and if you prefer all-white varieties, try Casper.
Select a Planting Site
Watson advises choosing a growing location that receives full sun to light shade. Pumpkins need soil that is not too moist, therefore keep in mind that the soil should be able to drain. You’ll need to clear a sizable area of your yard because pumpkins require space to develop. Watson advises spacing your pumpkin seeds five feet apart because of the strong vines.
“The spacing alters if you are growing a smaller variety of pumpkins; alternatively, space them three feet apart.” You may use a kit to check the pH of your soil, and it should be between 6 and 6.8. Make sure the area is free of all pests, insects, and weeds. Watson advises using weed block two weeks prior to planting so that the weeds can naturally die.
Plant Pumpkin seeds in the Ground.
When it’s time to plant the seeds, make sure to do it correctly. Watson continues, “Pumpkins grow best when the seeds are planted straight into the earth about one inch deep.
Top Tips for Growing Pumpkins:
Keep Pests Away
In particular during the early part of the season, pay attention to any pests, insects, and weeds. You can begin fertilising the plants on a regular basis using a nitrogen-based fertiliser once they are about one foot tall.
Water Early in the Morning
The vine may become sensitive to illness, so careful watering is crucial, according to Watson. Watering in the early morning (about 6 a.m.) is essential, especially in the summer when the heat can cause the veggies to become very dry. A soaker hose is another item Watson advises buying. Mulch around the perimeter will assist the pumpkins to retain moisture in addition to watering. Don’t forget to take care of the vine and shield it from harm so that it can eventually produce the pumpkin.
Prune the Vines
Once the vines start to appear, Watson advises switching to a high-phosphorous fertiliser. “Pinch off the vine’s fuzzy ends when you’re ready to inhibit vine development (after a few pumpkins have appeared). The vine can be pruned to help with space and to concentrate the growth of blooming plants.”
How Long do Pumpkins take to Grow, and when should they be Harvested?
The usual growing season for pumpkins lasts between 75 and 100 days. Remove any leaves that are shadowing the plant a few weeks prior to harvest; this will assist the pumpkins to have a richer colour. According to Watson, a ripe pumpkin will have the appropriate colouration on the outside and have skin that is hard to the touch.
“The stem can also indicate whether a pumpkin is ripe. They will start to shrivel and feel dry to the touch.” Put on gloves and trim the stem of the pumpkin when it’s ready, keeping in mind that if you trim it too short, it won’t keep as long. The pumpkin needs to be exposed to the sun for 10 to 14 days after the stem is cut in order to properly harden and ripen.