When to Plant Pumpkins to Obtain Heavy Fall-Crops

Deciding when to plant pumpkins will determine the right time to yield lots of squash for treats and fall ornament. Thus, they are perfect for both carving and cooking.

Growing pumpkins is easy and fun. Therefore, you can encourage kids to join this gardening activity. Since it takes a tedious period, start the cultivation by considering the frost dates in your region.

Once more, planting squash seems to be effortless as long as you provide spacious sites for them. Then, keep on reading the following information about when to plant pumpkins.

Fun Facts of Pumpkins

A pumpkin, from a botanist's perspective, is a fruit because it's a product of the seed-bearing structure of flowering plants. Vegetables, on the other hand, are the edible portion of plants such as leaves, stems, roots, bullbs, flowers, and tubers.
Pumpkins Fruits

Pumpkins or Cucurbita pepo belong to similar species as zucchini and squash. In other words, they are the same plants but getting different names.

These hard-skinned gourds with bright orange flesh become one of the oldest plants in the world. The initial time when to plant pumpkins might be about 10000 BC.

Then, this ancient squash is natively from Mexico. People in Oaxaca cultivate them along the highlands.

Thankfully, the plants are fast-growing and hardy. Pumpkins become a survival food since these fruits can substitute for barley and wheat.

Therefore, many preparations for any celebrations will use pumpkins for their recipes. The first dish with this squash serves a baked pudding in a crust, or you may call it a pie.

Besides, pumpkins are proper ingredients to pair with corn, meat, and other cuisines. Indeed, they tend to be more savory in taste.

Instead of being a substitute food, these cheap plants are useful for feeding livestock. It is due to a few people consume pumpkins, although most farmers grow them.

Before being a symbol of bounty and fall crop, growing pumpkins relates to nostalgic images of poor American farmers.

At that time, when to plant pumpkins is very common, people stop consuming the squash. They mostly become painting objects to represent a rustic farm.

Moreover, many people believe that carved pumpkin functions to scare evil spirits that walk around the earth during the night.

Jack-o’-lantern comes with an orange grinning face. Now, this carving squash becomes the image of Halloween. It is an epitome of the fall tradition.

Surprisingly, a California grower has successfully planted a giant pumpkin that reaches 922 kilograms. This largest has broken the world’s record in 2013.

How to grow pumpkins successfully in a gigantic size? To cultivate this overgrown squash, the farmer adds fish food to cover the soil.

How to Plant Pumpkins with Different Purposes

Pumpkins do best when the seeds are planted directly in the ground. Wait until the plant soil is 70ºF or more before sowing seeds outdoors. If your growing season is very short, seed indoors in peat pots about 2 to 4 weeks before last spring frost. Be sure to harden off before transplanting.
Growing Pumpkin

Considering when to plant pumpkins from seeds should relate to the plan on consuming the fruits. Besides, the different purposes will determine how you grow them.

When to Plant Pumpkins with the Proper Climates

Baby Bear (small, flattened shape; fine stem) Autumn Gold (hybrid, yellow when immature) Aspen (hybrid, deep orange, uniformly large) Buckskin (hybrid) Atlantic Giant (most true giants come from selections of this variety) Casper, Lumina and Snowball.
Pumpkins Variety

For instance, if you want to use pumpkins as lanterns, grow the plants after the frost dates. Wait until the soil gets warm at about 18 degrees Celsius.

Indeed, hot weather will help the squash plants grow faster than cold temperatures. Therefore, the best time when to plant pumpkins may differ from one to another depending on the locations.

The end of May is the best time to cultivate seeds throughout the cold regions. Meanwhile, any countries with warm climates can start in mid-July.

Those growing plans are suitable for celebrating the Halloween tradition. However, if you aim to plant the fruits as food crops or contest, start sowing the seeds indoors before the frost date ends.

Select the Right Seeds to Grow

The seedlings take about four weeks from seeding to transplanting. They should have two to three true leaves at the time of transplanting. Harden off seedlings started indoors before planting them in the garden.
Pumpkin Seedling

Instead of deciding time when to plant pumpkins, picking the seeds that suit your purpose is a must.

Indeed, pumpkin cultivars come in many textures, colors, tastes, forms, and sizes.

For instance, if you need pumpkins for carving, choose jack-o’-lantern seeds. Meanwhile, the Atlantic giant cultivar is perfect for planting big fruits.

Additionally, lumina pumpkins work best for painting, whereas Musquee de Provence is tasteful for cooking.

The Best Time When to Plant Pumpkins

Do not plant until all danger of frost has passed, and the soil has thoroughly warmed. Plant pumpkins for Halloween from late May in northern locations to early July in extremely southern sites. If pumpkins are planted too early, they may soften and rot before Halloween.
Best Time to Plant Pumpkins

As we stated before, pumpkin growing time may vary from one region to another since each place has different soil conditions. Generally, the plants cannot grow in cold temperatures.

Both growing seeds outdoors and indoors work well as long as you do the stages at the right time when to plant pumpkins.

Planting Pumpkin Seeds Outdoors

 If you're planting in a raised bed or garden, choose a spot where vines have room to ramble. In a raised bed, plant pumpkins near the edge of the bed so you can train the vine over the edge, leaving the rest of the bed for other plants.
Outdoor Pumpkins

When you deciding to plant pumpkins outdoors, make sure that you have enough space to grow them. Each specimen requires six squares meters. Thus, it is the minimum planting area.

Then, warm climates become a successful key for germination. Prepare warm soils by maintaining the temperature at about 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Firstly, form an elevated mound in the middle of the planting area. It is to allow the sun to heat the seeds.

How much sun do pumpkins need? More sunlight is better to germinate the seeds fast. Expose the soil until getting warm enough.

In every mound, place about 3 to 5 pumpkin seeds at a depth of 2.5 cm. After that, when seedlings develop, choose two healthy individuals and keep the remaining for thinning.

Planting Pumpkin Seeds Indoors

Plant the seeds 1 inch deep into the hills (4 to 5 seeds per hill). Space hills 4 to 8 feet apart. Your plants should germinate in less than a week with the right soil temperature (70 degrees F) and emerge in 5 to 10 days.
Pumpkin Germination

Prepare containers with holes to allow drainage and add potting soil. Then, place two pumpkin seeds at a depth of 2.5 cm. After that, water the topsoil to make it humid.

Next, move the pots to a heating pad to provide a warm condition for germination. If the seeds have developed, choose the greatest seedlings, whereas thinning the others.

To prevent very fast-growing, pass the potted pumpkins from the heating pad to another place with a light source such as fluorescent bulbs and bright windows. Furthermore, the perfect time when to plant pumpkins after young plants have grown is at a season that there is not any danger of frost.

Transplant the seedlings carefully without bothering the roots. Then, prepare some holes at a depth of 5 cm to allow the rootball. After that, cover with soil and water the plants.

When to plant pumpkins with Proper Growing Sites

In most cases, it takes 90 to 100 days from planting seeds until the squash are ripe. Cold-climate gardeners may want to get an early start by planting seeds indoors about three weeks before the last spring frost. Plant two seeds per 3" pot, and cut off one if both grow.
Planting Pumpkins

Generally, a planting site with full sun exposure helps the pumpkins to grow fast. Light-shaded areas are also acceptable.

The pumpkins have sprawling vines to develop in the very spacious ground. However, if your area is narrow, grow them at the garden borders and in big buckets. Besides, choose the small varieties if desired.

The right time when to plant pumpkins is after you prepare the right soil requirements. The ground should be well-drained, rich in nutrients, manure, and organic compost.

How to Take Care of Pumpkin Plants

When your pumpkin is still immature, slip it gently inside your mold, being careful not to break it from the vine. As it grows, it won't necessarily stay in the mold, so stretch a strip or two of duct tape across the open side to keep it from escaping.
Pumpkin Mold

Protect the vines from any health problem by covering the mounds. However, remove the row covers when to plant pumpkins with bearing flowers. It allows some insects to pollinate the plant.

Moreover, deep watering is necessary after the vine produces fruits. The plants need more water, so do it weekly.

While watering, the pumpkins and the leaves must dry. It is to avoid fatal diseases due to dampness.

Another essential factor when to plant pumpkins is adding mulch to manage humidity. Besides, it can reduce pests and weeds.

Interestingly, you can train both small and large varieties with trellis. Old stockings and netting can support the fruits and protect the delicate vines.

When to Plant Pumpkins to Avoid Pests and Diseases

Squash bugs are most commonly found on squash plants (hence the name) such as zucchini, winter squash, and pumpkins, but they may also affect other crops in the cucurbit family (like cucumbers, cantaloupe, and watermelon).
Pumpkin Pests

Pumpkin plant growing might face some health problems and diseases. Several pests might appear at the end of summers like cucumber beetles and squash bugs.

Other infections come from squash vine borer, aphids, powdery mildew, and anthracnose. Besides, some unpleasant conditions can cause a problem with bearing fruits.

Moreover, insufficient light, over-fertilizing, bad climates, and less activity of pollinators may affect pumpkin production.

Several Pumpkin Growing Tips

If you really want big tasty pumpkins, you do need to tend them as much as any other plant in your garden. Pumpkins are considered to be “heavy feeders”, so your soil should be rich and added compost can help a lot. Regular fertilizing will also make sure you get the biggest pumpkins.
Pumpkin on Backyard

Some tips on the proper time when to plant pumpkins for a perfect yield include regular fertilizing and pruning.

Support better growth of the pumpkin plants by applying fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen for the initial stage.

Then, switch the fertilizer to phosphorus formula when the plants have grown. It helps to bear the blossoms. After producing some pumpkins, prune the end of each vine to discontinue the growth.

Thus, the nutrients focus on developing the fruits rather than the sprawling vines. Choose three pumpkins that have superior quality to grow and eliminate the others.

Additionally, expert gardeners suggest cultivating the plants in pumpkin hills or rows. Thus, small mounds are useful for fast-growing, pest control, and drainage.

Remember to add compost or manure before creating the hills. Also, add spacing about 30 cm apart for each specimen in the same row.

Harvesting Season

A pumpkin that's ready for harvest should be fully colored—whatever that hue might be. The rind should also be firm. If your fingernail easily pierces or creates an indentation in the skin, the pumpkin isn't ready to harvest. Pick a pumpkin that's too soft, and it will shrivel within a few days.
Harvest Time Pumpkins

The final step of pumpkin plant growth stages is the harvesting time. Its vines turn brown in the last period of the growing season.

Some tips on how to yield the pumpkins are waiting for fully-mature fruits and changing the skin color. Besides, harvesting on a dry day will be the best time.

Do it after the outer surface turns hard, and the vines die back. Importantly, use a sharp knife to cut the pumpkins without tearing the top part of the fruit.

Then, cut the stem at a length of 10 cm to increase the storing time. Also, a gentle hold is necessary to avoid any bruise.

Therefore, when to plant pumpkins will end and start to have a heavy yield of the orange squash. Enjoy the fun time to prepare cooking some dishes or use the fruits to create spooky lanterns.

In conclusion, when to plant pumpkins to get the precise harvesting time for fall celebration? The answer is depending on your local climates and soil conditions.

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