If you’re interested in growing pumpkins at home, this article is for you. With a bit of patience and the right know-how, you can grow beautiful pumpkins of all shapes and sizes.
We’ll walk you through the basics of growing pumpkins from seeds. From how to prepare the soil to planting and caring for the plants.
When to Plant
Ideally, you’ll want to plant your seeds in late spring to early summer (late May to early July). This is because they are a warm-season crop and grow best in warm weather.
How to Plant Pumpkin Seeds
Ensure that the planting spot gets full sun and the soil is not soggy. Now get your seeds.
If you take the seeds from a fresh pumpkin, clean them up and wash them. Next, air-dry them on a paper napkin or paper towel.
If you don’t want to go through that messy process, you can always use store-bought seeds.
Plant the seeds one inch deep, three feet apart. Afterward, water the area well.
You will want to avoid letting the topsoil dry out completely, but you also don’t want standing water. Keep the soil moist but not overly wet.
Growing in Pots
You can grow them in containers as long as the container is big enough. We recommend using one that’s at least 20 inches deep and 24 inches wide.
Use a quality potting mix that will hold moisture well. You may also want to add a bit of compost to the mix to give your plants a nutrient boost.
You’ll also need to water them more often than if you were growing them outside in the ground.
How Long Do They Take To Grow?
Pumpkins take about 90 to 120 days to grow, depending on the variety.
That said, there are some experienced gardeners tips that can help them grow a little faster. For example, it is vital that you plant them in a sunny spot and water them regularly.
Adding compost or manure to the soil will also give it a nutrient boost.
It’s important to fertilize them regularly. This will give the pumpkin plants all the nutrients they need.
We recommend using a high-nitrogen organic fertilizer in the early stages of growth and then switching to a high-phosphorus fertilizer as the pumpkins start to form.
Fish emulsion is a great organic fertilizer because it’s high in nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as other micronutrients that your pumpkin plants will love.
Apply it every two weeks or so.
To get big, healthy pumpkins, it’s important to water them regularly. Make sure the soil is always moist but not wet.
You can test this by sticking your finger in the soil. If it’s wet, it’s too moist. If it’s dry, then it needs more water.
Watering requirements will depend on a few different factors, such as the weather, the type of soil you have, and how much water the plants are getting from rain.
As a general rule of thumb, try to water your pumpkin plants once a day.
Pumpkins are a big, juicy, and delicious target for pests, so it’s important to be proactive in protecting them. Common pests that affect pumpkins include aphids, squash vine borer, thrips, squash bugs, and cucumber beetles .
Do some research so you can identify these garden pests and learn how best to control them.
One common disease that affects pumpkins is powdery mildew. Another is Anthracnose. Squash mosaic virus, bacterial wilt, southern blight, and Septoria leaf spot are other common ones.
Don’t waste time or wait until it’s too late. Read up on these various plant diseases and take action as soon as possible.
Why Are Pumpkin Flowers Falling Off?
Pumpkins are a great autumn addition to any garden, but sometimes their flowers fall off too soon. This can be frustrating since it seems like so much work went into growing them just to see them go to waste.
But you can help the flowers stay on the plant a little longer. First, make sure you’re not overwatering them. This will cause the flowers to wilt and fall prematurely.
Second, allow your plants to get enough sunlight. The recommended amount is at least 6 hours of sunshine per day in order to produce flowers.
High temperatures can also cause the pumpkin flowers to dry up. While the plants like plenty of sunlight, too much heat can cause the flowers to shrivel and die. Row covers can help in this case.
If you’re still having problems with the flowers falling off, it could be the big one—poor pollination.
Try using a pollinator like bees or butterflies to help transfer pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers. You could also remove the male blossom yourself and rub the stamen of the female blossom.
How to Harvest Pumpkins
When you think the pumpkin is big enough, knock on it. If you hear a hollow sound, then it is ripe and ready.
You can also look at the color. Depending on the hue it is supposed to have, it is mature when it is fully colored.
Once those requirements are met, it’s time to harvest them! To do so, cut the fruit off the vine with a sharp object like a knife.
If you’re saving your pumpkins for later use, you’ll need to cure them. This is done by leaving them to dry in a sunny spot for about two weeks.
After they’ve been cured, you can store them in a cool place, such as your garage.
Pumpkin growing is a fun, rewarding experience that can provide food for your family and decorations for your home. By following the simple steps in this guide, you can successfully grow them at home.