How To Grow Pumpkins

From the mini-pumpkins, to the jack-o-lantern size to the monster pumpkins - there is sure to be a variety which is your favorite.

  1. Choose a site for your pumpkins that will receive as much sunshine as your property allows. Keeping your pumpkin plants in the sun will lessen how long moisture and dew will stay on their leaves. This is important to keep disease and bacteria away.
  2. Prepare your soil by adding well-rotted manure and compost to it. You do not want to add any material to your soil that is not thoroughly decomposed.
  3. When adding your soil amendments, be careful that you do not compact the soil. Pumpkins like to have soft soil so their roots can grow and spread without any difficulty.
  4. You should create mounds for planting your pumpkin seeds. Mounds should be about five to six inches taller than the surrounding garden soil. Mounding allows the soil to have better drainage and it will also help to heat the soil which speeds germination. Leave a space of three to five feet between each mound -- depending upon which variety you are planting.  
  5. When planting, keep in mind that pumpkins will need more room than their vine cousins the squashes and cucumbers. You may end up with only one good pumpkin plant for each mound. Spacing varies depending upon which variety of pumpkin you are growing. Be sure to check your pumpkin seed packet for proper seed placement.

    It takes about a week for pumpkin seeds to germinate.

  6. Once your seedlings are growing, you should mulch with hay. This will keep your pumpkins cleaner, and it will also help to keep weeds from taking root.
  7. Make sure your pumpkin plants get adequate water. They need a deep watering at least once a week, especially if your region is experiencing a dry spell.
  8. Once your plants begin to blossom, you can side dress them. Place a tablespoon of 5-10-10 fertilizer in a ring about four inches from the stems. Cover the fertilizer with soil.
  9. You can rotate your pumpkins if you are worried about their shape. Just be mindful that you don't break or damage the brittle vines.
  10. To keep pumpkins from rotting, you can place them on straw or an old board. This will keep them from having contact with the ground.
  11. Harvest your pumpkins when the vine shrivels and before the first freeze of the fall. Wash them thoroughly and allow them to air dry.


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