Pumpkins are fragile annuals that should be planted after the last frost of the colder months in temperate locations between November and December. They can be grown all year in frost-free subtropical zones, while high temperatures exceeding 30°C can hinder fruit production.
As a result, the pumpkins must be transplanted every year to ensure a consistent harvest. Even though pumpkins can self-seed, it doesn’t happen very often. This is because pumpkins are usually big, and there aren’t many on each plant. This implies that the fruit is rarely left to reseed on the vine.
The only way to plant is by seed, and germination occurs at 20°C. If you wish to get started early, sow directly into the plant’s final place or in pots indoors.
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When Should Pumpkins Be Planted for the Following Year?
According to Russ Wallace, Ph.D., of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service vegetable specialist, “The optimal time to plant pumpkins is between early May and June, but it also depends on the variety.” Some cultivars mature in 85 days, while others may take 120 days. Therefore, crops with a 120-day harvest window should be planted early.”
Time for Pumpkin Maturity
Pumpkins mature at the end of October when they are about an inch in diameter. The pumpkin will grow between 25 and 70 centimeters each week before producing its ripe fruits again in November or December.
Depending on weather patterns and the variety of pumpkins, they can take anywhere from 50 to 100 days to full maturity. But in practice, all types are harvested between 75-100 days after planting once matured.
No set rule dictates what ideal thumbprint shape pumpkins should have when you dig them up for eating or other use. The orange flesh deteriorates gradually during storage without being consumed by enzymes present in the fruit itself.
The pumpkins should be ready to harvest in roughly 100 days, depending on the size of the pumpkin type you planted. Pumpkins weighing more than 25 pounds may take up to 120 days to mature. However, little cucurbits, commonly used for tabletop decorations, might be ready in as little as 80 days.
When the vines begin to wither and the shell turns a rich, solid orange, the pumpkins are ready to harvest. But don’t pick them just yet. Allow 10 to 14 days for field ripening. This aids in the hardening of the outer shell, extending the pumpkin’s shelf life.
Depending on the type, pumpkins develop about 90-120 days after seeds are planted. Ripe pumpkins have a hard rind and a woody stem and are entirely colored. With a knife, carefully cut off the stem, leaving a few inches of stem on the pumpkin. Some pumpkins may fall off the plant when it’s time to harvest. Pumpkins may be stored for a long time in a cool, dark location and used for all of your favorite fall activities and delectable recipes far into the winter.
How to Plant Pumpkins
- Pumpkin seeds can be planted indoors in trays 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost. When planting seeds in trays with limited space, it is best to plant two seeds in each cell to ensure at least one plant in each cell. They should be planted about an inch deep in a mix for growing seeds.
- If more than one plant grows from a seed, pull out the weakest. Pumpkin seeds germinate quickly in the right conditions and can be ready to plant outside in as little as 3 to 4 weeks, but this depends on how they are grown.
- Suppose you live in a cool climate and plant vegetables every year. In that case, you might want to consider buying a heated propagation tray. They aren’t too expensive and give you more control over how the plants grow.
- The other option is to plant the pumpkin seeds directly in the garden, but you can’t do this until the risk of frost has passed. Just like with the seeds in trays, you should plant at least two or three seeds in each spot where you want the pumpkin to grow to make sure at least one plant comes up.
- Pumpkins need a lot of nutrients while they are growing, so seeds or seedlings should be planted about 3 feet apart in rich, moist soil. The soil should also be covered with mulch to help keep in moisture.