Pumpkins grow in the ground through a process that begins with planting seeds. During the growing season, pumpkin plants develop into 20 to 30 feet long vines. By the time of harvest, a single hill of pumpkins of the jack-o’-lantern variety can cover between 50 and 100 square feet. But do pumpkins come back every year? The answer is no, as pumpkins are an annual plant that completes their life cycle within a single growing season.
You can also use a pumpkin spinner to produce pumpkins indoors year-round successfully. This device helps distribute sunlight and moisture evenly throughout your pumpkin plants, making it easier for them to develop large fruits.
Table of Contents
How Pumpkins Grow
- Pumpkins grow in the ground by growing roots and then sending up shoots.
- The first shoot usually appears towards the end of August or early September and will become a mature pumpkin after about 75 days.
- From that point forward, budding pumpkins will rapidly appear every week until late November/early December, when they reach their full size and are ready to be harvested.
- During this time, you’ll need to pay attention to how many flowers are on the plant (the number should correspond with the size of your pumpkin) as well as whether there seems to be any discoloration or yellowing near the stem (this is often a sign that pests have been active).
- Once everything is going according to plan, it’s time for harvest!
A Helpful Guide on How To Grow Pumpkins
Choose Your Variety
Before you can plant your pumpkin, you need to choose the variety of pumpkins that best suit your needs. There are a few different types of pumpkins available today, including butternut squash, sugar pie pumpkins, and hybrid seedlings. Choosing the right type for your climate and growing conditions is important as each variety has its specific requirements.
Plant Your Seeds in Container
For those who don’t have a lot of space to plant, several seed-starting kits can help you get started. Once your seeds have germinated, transfer them to their permanent garden spot and water them regularly.
Allow the Seeds to Germinate
Germinate your pumpkin seeds in a warm, moist place at 70°F. Check on the progress of germination every day and water as needed. Once the seeds have germinated, transplant them to their garden spot and water them regularly until they reach maturity.
Location & Preparation
Once you have chosen which type of pumpkin you want to grow, it’s time to find a suitable location for your patch. Pumpkins love fertile soils that are well-drained and have a warm temperature range. Make sure the soil is moist but not waterlogged before planting and select a spot in full sun or partial shade according to your variety of pumpkins.
Get the Ground Ready
When planting seeds, amend the pots with moist but well-drained compost. Grit or perlite, a type of natural volcanic rock, can be added to compost to improve the soil’s ability to absorb and retain large volumes of air and water. Prepare the Soil for pumpkin cultivation by pulverizing organic matter such as compost or leaves into the soil before planting.
Planting & Spacing
Plant them about two inches deep and four inches apart if growing in pots. If planting directly into the ground, space plants about two feet apart. Keep in mind that pumpkins grow quickly, so be prepared to divide your plants every six to eight weeks once they reach maturity.
Let Your Seedlings Grow
When the seedlings have grown two inches tall, pinch off the top of each stem to induce more branching. Thin out plants to maintain a healthy spacing of four inches apart.
Raise Off Your Pumpkin Using Trellis
If you want to grow your pumpkin on a trellis, begin by anchoring the trellis to a sturdy post or tree using wire ties. Next, position the posts 2-3 feet away from each other and space them evenly across the width of your garden. Pumpkin vines will quickly spread and create an unruly mess if left unchecked! Once your trellis is in place, tie it off at both ends with some new wire ties — this will keep it firmly attached while your vines grow.
Water As Needed
Once your pumpkin vines have reached a height of 6-8 feet, it’s time to start watering them regularly. Aim for an evenly distributed water flow throughout the vine by using a drip system or hand watering when in doubt. Once flowering begins, encourage heavy fruiting with fertilization around harvest time as directed on your fertilizer label.
Begin fertilizing your pumpkin plants around this time with an all-purpose organic fertilizer diluted 1:5 according to the label directions. Fertilize again at harvest time if needed.
When the fruits are ripe, they will be a deep orange color and have decreased in size. Transfer them to a container for storing or use them immediately in your favorite recipes!
How Long Does It Take for Pumpkins To Grow?
After seeds are planted, it typically takes pumpkins between 90 to 120 days to mature, but this time frame can vary depending on the variety. When pumpkins are fully colored, have a tough rind, and have a woody stem, they are ready to be harvested. Using a knife, carefully remove the stem, leaving several inches of stem attached to the pumpkin. When pumpkins are ready to be picked from the vine, some may fall off. Pumpkins have a long shelf life and can be stored for a long time in a cool and dark location. You can use pumpkins for fun fall activities and delicious recipes well into the winter. After you have harvested your pumpkin, clean the seeds and roast them to make a delightful snack. Of course, if the pumpkin was especially lovely, you may want to save some of the seeds to plant the following year. This is something you should consider doing. In ancient times, gourds were prized not only for their flesh but also for the seeds, which were considered a valuable source of protein.
What Factors Can Affect Pumpkin’s Growth?
Pumpkins grow quickly, but different factors can affect the speed of pumpkin growth. The weather is one such factor; warm temperatures promote faster pumpkin growth while cold temperatures slow it down. So make sure to check the weather forecast before planting your pumpkins and be prepared to adjust your plan accordingly.
Another important factor that affects pumpkin growth is soil quality. Good organic soil will help increase the nutrients and enzymes available for plant uptake, promoting faster pumpkin growth. Finally, water availability also plays an important role; when plenty of moisture is available, plants respond by growing more quickly. Ensure adequate watering during August and September so that your pumpkins reach their full height as soon as possible!