Planting Pumpkin Seeds

This page provides written and visual instructions for Planting Pumpkin Seeds.

I am planting a type that can be used for making pies, the Baby Pam. I will show you how to do this once we harvest our pumpkins.

CULTURE: Fertile, composted, well-drained soil is best.

FROM TRANSPLANTS: Sow in 1 1/2-2" containers or plug trays. Thin to 1-2 plants/cell with scissors. Harden plants 4-7 days by reducing fertilizer, water, and temperature, moving flats outside if there is no frost danger.

The Baby Pam is one of the best quality pumpkins for baking pies. It has a bright, deep orange skin and thick, tan handle. The average Baby Pam pumpkin weighs four pounds. It has dry, sweet flesh, which is clearly the best of all varieties for pie.

Pumpkins are a hot weather plant, but will survive a light frost. A plump orange pumpkin is the king of squashes during the Fall. They are harvested in the Fall but not grown in the Fall.

Transplant after frost danger, earlier only if plants are to be covered with floating row covers. Transplant about 18" apart for bush and small-fruited varieties, and 24-36" apart for large-fruited varieties. Take care not to disturb roots!

DIRECT SEEDING: When Planting Pumpkin Seeds, sow in late spring after frost danger when soil is warm, minimum 62°F for treated seeds and 70°F for untreated seeds. Seeds will rot in cool soil, especially cool, wet soil.

Sow 2-3 seeds every 18" (24-36" for large-fruited varieties) 1/2-1" deep; or sow about 6" apart. Thin to 1 plant per spot. Rows 6' apart, 12' apart for larger fruit. Days to maturity: 105

DISEASES: Cucumber beetles can carry bacterial wilt and must be controlled. Gummy stem blight causes black, sunken spots to appear on fruits in storage and the tan scabby patches on Butternuts in the field.

Downy mildew may occur in cool, damp weather, powdery mildew in hot, droughty periods and in late summer.

INSECT PESTS: Plants that grow from Planting Pumpkin Seeds can be protected with floating row covers. Cucumber beetles, squash bugs, and vine borers can be a challenge. Rotenone and pyrethrin offer some control. Squash bug eggs laid on underside of leaves may be located and crushed.

Keep borders well mowed. For vine borers, use rotenone around the base of young plants. Cut borers out of vines and hill soil over the wound.

Butternuts, which have solid stems, are usually not bothered by borers.

More on Planting Pumpkin Seeds

FALL FROST: Frost kills leaves and can thus facilitate harvest; however, it can also damage fruits and cause spotting and poor storage.

Mature fruits can usually tolerate 1 and sometimes 2 or 3 light frosts without substantial damage. Sprinkler irrigation wards off moderate frost damage to fruits.

HARVEST: Before heavy frost, cut stems about 1" from the fruit when stem is drying and skin is hardening. Handle fruits like eggs!

CURING: Cure in the field to dry and toughen skins by exposing fruits to sun for 5-7 days or so, covering in the evening if frost is likely. An indoor method of curing is to expose squash to 80-90°F with ventilation for 3-5 days.

STORAGE: Store at 50-55°F (10-13°C), 50-75% humidity, and good air circulation.

The Baby Pam plants are coming up in the Cow Pots.

Above are my pumpkin sprouts.

Baby Pam pumpkin plants are now big enough to transplant to the garden.

My pumpkin plants almost ready to be planted outside.

Baby Pam pumpkin vine.

My pumpkin bud.

Go to pumpkin home page from planting pumpkin seeds.

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