Plant pumpkin seeds directly in the garden two weeks or more after the last frost. Transplant pumpkin seedlings to the garden 2 to 4 weeks after the last frost; start seeds indoors 4 weeks before setting out seedlings.
The optimal planting soil temperature for pumpkins is 60-85°F (16-29°C). The optimal growing temperature for pumpkins is 60-75°F (16-24°C).
In reverse-season climates, a second crop may be planted in early autumn for harvest in winter.
Pumpkins are easy to grow but they generally take up a lot of garden space. A pumpkin plant needs about 10 square feet of growing room if allowed to sprawl.
Pumpkins grow best in humus-rich, well-drained, sandy loam. Add aged compost or a commercial organic planting mix to a depth of 12 inches. Pumpkins are often planted atop mounds or hills allowing the vines to run down the hill where they can be trained to circle the mound.
Pumpkins are heavy feeders needing a moderate amount of nitrogen and a high amount of phosphorus. Add a slow-release organic fertilizer to the soil at planting time. Plant pumpkins in full sun.
Pumpkin harvest time
Pumpkins mature in 90 to 115 days. Pumpkins are ready for harvest when skins lose their sheen. The shells should be hard enough to resist denting by a thumbnail.
Pumpkins are best harvested as late as possible in autumn, but before the first hard frost.
Pumpkin planting dates
(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)
|Average date of the last frost||Planting dates|
|Jan. 30||Feb. 1-Apr.15|
|Feb. 8||Feb. 15-Apr. 15|
|Feb. 18||Mar. 1-Apr. 15|
|Feb. 28||Mar. 15-Apr. 30|
|Mar. 10||Apr. 1-May 15|
|Mar. 20||Apr. 10-May|
|Mar. 30||Apr. 10-June 1|
|Apr. 10||Apr. 20-June 1|
|Apr. 20||May 1-June 15|
|Apr. 30||May 1-Jun. 10|
|May 10||May 10-June 15|
|May 20||May 20-June 15|
|May 30||June 1-20|
|June 10||June 10-20|
Pumpkin planting details
- Sowing depth: 1 inch (2.5cm)
- Space between plants after thinning: 3-4 feet
- Days to sprout: 7-10 (soak seeds in water overnight before planting)
- Days to harvest: 90-115
- Storage period: 8-24 weeks
- Seeds per 100-row feet: 1 ounce
- Yield per 100-row feet: 200 pounds
- Suggested varieties: Jack O’Lantern, Small Sugar, Cinderella, Lady Godiva, Green-Striped Cushaw
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