Grow a Pumpkin from Seed – A Step-by-Step Guide

One of the biggest indicators that fall has finally arrived, for me, is when our pumpkins are ready to harvest.  They are full size, orange (blue, green and yellow).  The look so colorful and I can't wait to add them to my porch.

However, to get to this point, you have to start at the beginning which means you have to grow a pumpkin from seed.  Growing pumpkins is rewarding, fun, and relatively easy. Learn what it takes to grow a pumpkin from seed.

    How Long Does it Take To Grow A Pumpkin From Seed?

    It takes about 95-120 days for a pumpkin plant to go from seedling to fully mature fruit. That said, some varieties of pumpkin take longer than others, so it’s important to check the label on your seed packet in order to get an accurate picture of how long it will take for your particular variety of pumpkin.

    When To Plant Pumpkin Seeds

    Pumpkin seeds can be planted outdoors in mid-May or early June. Most regions require at least two weeks after the last frost date before planting, so you should always check your local weather forecast before getting started.

    For us, in Zone 7a, that means mid May at the earliest.  Generally speaking, the soil should be around 60°F or warmer before planting so that your seeds have a chance to germinate properly.

    We can plant a little sooner if we have a winter sown garden in our milk jugs.  Basically we make mini greenhouses for our pumpkin plants and they can grow starting in April.  That gives us an extra month or two for plants to grow.

    how to grow a pumpkin

    Where To Plant Pumpkin Seeds

    Pumpkins prefer full sun exposure—at least six hours of direct sunlight every day—so choose a location that receives plenty of bright sunshine. 

    If your yard doesn’t provide enough space for a large patch of pumpkins, consider container gardening instead; just make sure the container is at least 12 inches deep and 16 inches wide to provide enough room for the roots.  The plant will grow out of the pot, so it will still need lots of space to grow.

    grow a pumpkin from seed

    How To Care For Pumpkin Plants

    Once your plants are established, it’s important to water them regularly and keep them well-weeded. Depending on the variety of pumpkin you’re growing, some may require extra support like poles or stakes as they mature—especially if they become quite large! 

    Additionally, many pumpkin varieties require pollination or the transfer of pollen from one plant to another.  That means you'll either need to plant more than one plant or you will want to hand-pollinating with a small paintbrush.

    how to grow pumpkins from seeds

    What Month Do Pumpkins Grow The Most?

    This often depends on when you planted your pumpkins.  But if you've direct sown, pumpkin plants typically grow rapidly during June and July when temperatures levels are high.  

    However, they can continue producing new leaves and stems through September or even October if weather conditions remain favorable. 

    Depending on the variety that you’re growing and the conditions in which they’re being grown, it may take anywhere from 2–4 months for a pumpkin patch to reach their full size and be ready for harvesting.  

    The pumpkins themselves will start turning orange in late August or September, depending on the variety being grownn.

    grow a pumpkin from seed

    What Month Are Most Pumpkins Harvested?

    Most pumpkins are harvested between September and October (mid-fall). The exact dates vary depending on the location and season.  

    Generally speaking most pumpkins are ready for harvest when they turn an orangey hue and have developed hard rinds that make them difficult to puncture with your nail or finger tip.  

    how to grow a pumpkin

    Do Pumpkins Come Back Every Year?    

    Some varieties of pumpkin can come back every year if they are not harvested completely—meaning that some vines will remain intact from season to season and produce fruit again next year without having been replanted or reseeded. 

    This is because certain types of pumpkin are self-seeding annuals, they produce their own seeds each year.  Which means that once established they can return without having been planted again each season!

    grow a pumpkin from seed

    Getting Started Growing Pumpkins

    The first step in growing pumpkins is selecting which variety of pumpkin you want to grow. There are many different types of pumpkins, each with their own unique characteristics. 

    Popular varieties include Jack-o-lanterns, Cinderella pumpkins, and Baby Bears. Once you have decided on the type of pumpkin you would like to grow, purchase seeds from a garden center or online store.

    how to grow pumpkins from seeds

    Preparing The Soil

    Before planting your seeds, prepare the soil for maximum growth potential. Pumpkin plants need plenty of sun and well-drained soil that is amended with compost or manure. If your soil has poor drainage or gets too much water, consider building raised beds to ensure proper drainage while still providing adequate water retention. 

    Plant your seeds directly into the ground after all danger of frost has passed (typically around mid-May). Each seed should be planted 1 inch deep and 24-36 inches apart in rows that are 3 feet apart.  Give your plants lots of room to spread out as they grow.

    how to grow pumpkins from seeds

    Water & Fertilize

    For optimal growth, water your plants regularly throughout their growing season especially during the hot months of July and August. Keep the soil moist but not saturated as this can cause root rot and other diseases. 

    Feed plants every two weeks with a balanced fertilizer to help retain moisture and reduce weeds.  Once the vines start to grow out, they begin to choke a lot of the weeds.  But in the first month or two, you'll want to weed regularly. 

    grow a pumpkin from seed

    When to Harvest Pumpkins

    Typically, you'll want to wait until after the first fall frost to ensure that the pumpkins are ripe enough for picking. Although, they can be picked before this.

    Often times you'll be able to tell from their color — if the pumpkin has turned from green to its signature deep orange hue that covers most of it's skin- your pumpkins should about ready for harvesting regardless of frost. 

    Also keep an eye out for any tendrils near the stem becoming dry which is another sure sign of ripeness.  If it is dry and crunch, that means your pumpkin is nice and ripe.

    grow a pumpkin from seed

    Growing pumpkins from seed is an enjoyable way to add some color and flavor to your garden this season! While there are many variables involved with successful growth, following these basic steps should give you everything you need to get started growing healthy pumpkins from seed today.

    Learn what it takes to grow a pumpkin from seed.


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