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Start Growing Fall Pumpkins this Spring

Shirley Bovshow shares tips on how to have a bountiful Fall Harvest of Pumpkins by planting them now.

Gardening is all about planning ahead and Spring is the time to start growing pumpkins for the Fall. There are dozens of varieties of pumpkins that you can grow from seed and growing from seed is less expensive than buying pumpkin plants!

How Do We Know What Types Of Seeds To Choose From?

Consider how much space you have to grow pumpkins, length of your growing season, and how you want to use the pumpkins! There are three major uses for homegrown pumpkins:

  • Varieties for decorating like this “X” seed
  • Varieties for baking like “Sugar Pie”
  • Varieties like “Big Max” for growing GIANT pumpkins like this Monster Pumpkin!
  • Today I’m going to show you how to grow baking pumpkins vertically in a small space using a trellis or arbor to grow pumpkins up!

When Should You Start Growing These Plants Indoors?

Start pumpkin seeds indoors 2 or 3 weeks before last expected frost date. Pumpkins need 90 to 190 days to mature from the time you sow the seed and temperatures over 70 degrees.

  • Sow 1 seed, one inch deep in a moist peat pod
  • Cover peat pod with plastic to retain moisture and place on a warm surface like a seed heating mat or on top of warm appliance like a refrigerator.
  • Just look (photos) it’ll start sprouting after just one day!
  • When the first leaves grow, place near sunny window
  • Don’t allow seedling to dry, water gently as needed
  • Plant outdoors when warmer temps arrive

What Are The Steps For Sowing And Caring For Pumpkin Plants Outdoors?

Find a spot that gets 6+ hours of direct sun.

  • Use an arbor like metal wire mesh to train the pumpkin vines up.
  • Sow 3 or 4 pumpkin seeds 1”-inch deep in “hills” that are 18 inches in diameter and filled with soil, compost, and aged manure. Once they grow, keep strongest plant and remove the others
  • Space the hills for small pumpkins 4 to 6 feet apart
  • Debbie you can plant one of the pumpkin plants that I started indoors in the hill on the opposite end.
  • Water is CRUCIAL. Pumpkins need at least 1” inch of water per week- so check that soil doesn’t EVER dry out
  • Fertilize pumpkins 1x week with a nitrogen rich fertilizer like blood or bone meal and once the flower buds start to emerge, switch to Tomato fertilizer that will help the pumpkin fruit grow.

How To Secure The Pumpkins To The Arbor

Allow the first 10 feet of vine to sprawl on the ground and then secure the rest of the vine to the trellis and use panty hose to tie the little pumpkins to the arbor!