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Grow Your Own
Jack-O-Lanterns

Spooky, Fun & Active

Growing Pumpkins

Pumpkins are a wonderful plant to include in your summer garden. Now only do they come in many varieties and styles, but they also are one of the most versatile garden veggies to grow. Not only are they tasty in pies and recipes, but their seeds make a tasty treat and pumpkins are a staple of fall festivities and decor. Growing pumpkins is relatively easy, they just need lots of sun and space to grow out. When they are ready to harvest, you can bring them in and make delicious recipes with them, or save them to carve out spooky jack-o-lanterns.
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Growing Pumpkins

Click below to see how to grow pumpkins in your garden: 

Step One

First, choose your seeds. As you plan your summer vegetable garden, there are many choices of pumpkins that you can plant that will all be available to harvest in October. Consider a mix of large and small pumpkins, smooth and textured or even white pumpkins. Some pumpkin varieties have thinner walls which make them easier to carve. Smaller pumpkins or white pumpkins, or even gourds, make excellent fall decor. The "warty" gourds are excellent for sensory activities with kids. The care for most pumpkins is very similar.
an image involving pumpkin seeds table

Plant Seeds

Plant your pumpkin seeds when you plant other summer garden favorites. They can be started indoors in seedling mix and transplanted after last-frost, or you can direct sow them after last-frost. Plant them about a half of inch deep. Ensure they have full sun exposure for at least six hours a day, and plant them several feet apart, as the vines grow long and pumpkins need lots of room to grow.


an image involving person outdoor holding seeds

Water

After planting your seeds indoor or direct sown into the garden, mist the surface of the soil with a light layer of water daily. When your seedlings emerge, they will have two oval leaves. You can begin watering a little more deeply. Eventually, the vine will begin to mature and grow and start producing flowers. As the days get hotter, watering more often is essential, especially if it hasn't rained recently.


Pumpkins don't like water on their leaves, so when watering, trying to water under the leaves toward the base of the original stalk. Too much moisture in the leaves can cause disease and bacteria.

a close up of a flower

Fertilize

Fertilizing pumpkins depends on the life stage of the plants. After the second set of leaves appear, you want to start fertilizing weekly with a nitrogen heavy fertilizer to encourage the vine to grow quickly and strongly. When your pumpkin begins producing flowers, switch to phosphorus heavy fertilizer to support the production of flowers. More flowers means the opportunity for more pumpkins.

a close up of a green plant

Harvest

Most pumpkins take four months from seed to grow a mature pumpkin. If you plant your seeds or transfer your seedlings after last frost, the pumpkins should be ready to harvest right during fall season. Every pumpkin variety will have a different recommended harvest size so follow the directions on your seed package. If kept in a cool, dry place, pumpkins can last off the vine for many weeks.


After harvest, store or begin using them in fun fall activities or cut them open to make delicious recipes or toast the seeds for a healthy, crunchy snack. Enjoy.

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Supplies List 

  • pumpkin seeds
  • water
  • fertilizer (nitrogen heavy and phosphorus heavy)
  • a sunny spot in your garden