You can’t have enough pumpkins during fall.
Not only do they make for great decorations, they are also a key ingredient for many fall dishes and treats.
If pumpkins help get you in the fall spirit, and you’ve always wanted to harvest your own, you can. The bad news is if you’re just thinking about planting pumpkins when the leaves start to turn, it’s too late.
If you plant your seeds in late spring to early summer and take good care of your crops, it’s likely you may have beautiful pumpkins just in time for fall dishes and Halloween pumpkin carving.
Planting pumpkins in your own backyard isn’t hard to do as long as you have the space and get the timing right. Below is a five-step guide to planting your own pumpkins in time for fall.
- Plant your pumpkins after the last frost
- Choose your seeds carefully
- Choose a place with compost-rich soil and plenty of sunlight for your pumpkins
- Plant seeds in pumpkin hills
- Give your pumpkins plenty of water and watch them grow
1. Plant your pumpkins after the last frost
One key to planting pumpkins is timing. If you plant them too late, they won’t fully grow before temperatures drop.
You’ll want to plant your pumpkins right after the last frost of the season. Late spring to early summer is usually an ideal time to plant.
If it’s not warm enough to plant your seeds at this time of year, you can always start growing your pumpkins inside and then transfer them outside once the weather is more ideal.
2. Choose your seeds carefully
There are many different varieties of pumpkins.
Make sure you know the kind of pumpkin you are planting before dropping seeds in the ground.
Certain pumpkins can grow to be extremely large, and you may not have that kind of space available. If you are buying pumpkin seeds from a store, make sure to read the details on the package so you know how big they will get and how far apart to plant your seeds.
On average, four to eight feet apart is a safe bet.
3. Choose a place with compost-rich soil and plenty of sunlight for your pumpkins
The ideal environment for pumpkins to grow is a nutrient rich, well-draining soil.
You can accomplish this by mixing compost into your soil.
Pumpkins also need plenty of sunlight, six hours a day at a minimum.
When choosing the spot for your pumpkins, make sure they are going to get plenty of direct sunlight throughout the day.
4. Plant seeds in pumpkin hills
When you are ready to plant your seeds, create pumpkin hills — slightly raised mounds of dirt — to plant your seeds.
This will allow the soil to warm up quicker.
You can put about four to five pumpkin seeds in your mounds of dirt, about an inch deep.
5. Give your pumpkins plenty of water and watch them grow
Pumpkins need a lot of water to grow. They should get around an inch of water per week.
Pumpkins aren’t a high-maintenance crop to grow. Other than plenty of space, water and sunlight, they won’t need too much attention.
Some people opt to turn their pumpkins slightly while they grow to give them a more even shape. If you do this, be careful when turning your pumpkin, or the stem could snap.
On average, pumpkins take 90 to 120 days to reach full maturity. You’ll want to harvest all your pumpkins prior to the first frost of the season.
When they are ready, use shears to remove your pumpkins from the vine, leaving some of the stem attached.
Then, you will have perfect pumpkins just in time for Halloween and the fall season.