When deciding to grow pumpkins, you should start by finding out about the pumpkin growing stages, from seed to harvest. Learn the main three stages of growing a pumpkin, so you know what to expect. Get advice and tips to have a successful harvest and get the most from your growing experience.
Generally, pumpkins take 90-120 days to mature after seeds are planted, depending on the variety. Pumpkins are ripe when they are fully colored and have a hard rind and woody stem. Carefully cut off the stem with a knife, leaving several inches of stem on the pumpkin.
The seedling emerges from the soil with the seed shell attached to the tip of the leaves. The first two leaves to appear are oval shaped leaves known as seed leaves or cotyledons. About a week later the first true leaves will appear.
Pumpkins are very thirsty plants and need lots of water. Water one inch per week. Water deeply, especially during fruit set. When watering: Try to keep foliage and fruit dry unless it’s a sunny day.
Sun is what fuels pumpkin production. Leaves convert sunshine into internal plant food that’s shuttled to vines and growing pumpkins. More sun yields more pumpkins and bigger pumpkins. At minimum, plant your pumpkins where they’ll receive at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sun each day.
Pumpkin Growth Stages. Pumpkins have a long growing season, needing on average 75 to 100 days. Small decorative varieties are on the shorter end of this range, and large types may take up to 120 days to mature.
A pumpkin that’s ready for harvest should be fully colored—whatever that hue might be. The rind should also be firm. If your fingernail easily pierces or creates an indentation in the skin, the pumpkin isn’t ready to harvest. Pick a pumpkin that’s too soft, and it will shrivel within a few days.
Fruit After Flowering After successful pollination, the time it takes for the pumpkin to grow to maturity is between 45 and 55 days. During this time, the pumpkin will grow in size and change color until it is fully colored a deep orange, or the appropriate shade for that variety.
Although some pumpkins grow on long vines that extend more than 20 feet, there are compact varieties that fit nicely in smaller gardens. LET this be the year that you carve a jack-o-lantern that you grew in your own backyard. Pumpkins are not difficult to grow – even in raised beds or containers.
Pumpkins generally take about three months to reach maturity, but it can depend on the variety. Check seed packet for the “Days to Maturity” to determine when you can expect to harvest your crop.
Space full-size plants 5 feet apart, and mini pumpkins 2 to 3 feet apart. Plants need ample water when flowers and fruits are forming. It is best to use a drip system or soaker hose to directly water soil at the base of vines so as to avoid wetting foliage.
By looking at the first flowers that develop on your pumpkin vines, which are male blossoms, you’ll be able to compare their look to the female blooms that develop later. Male pumpkin flowers are held atop a stem; female flowers are, too, but female blooms have a slight swelling on the stem just below the flower.
While it’s not absolutely necessary to trim the vines, doing so can encourage a more abundant harvest, and larger pumpkins. … Additionally, by sacrificing some of the younger fruit, it allows the plant to put all its energy into developing the remaining pumpkins.
Indoors and out, pumpkin seeds usually germinate within 10 days. If 10 days come and go and you see no signs of growth, consider making a second planting. You can gently try to excavate planted seeds, but if the seed has germinated, you risk damaging emerging roots.
The primary drawback to watering pumpkins, and most plants, every day is they do not get deep root water. … The roots will also not usually grow as deep if they always get a shallow watering. By watering pumpkins in large amounts every few days rather than every day, you enable the plant to grow a healthy root system.
Place a piece of wood or cardboard under growing pumpkins. This elevates the pumpkins off soggy soil to help prevent rot. Water the pumpkins near the base of each plant rather than watering over the entire patch.
When Should I Stop Watering Pumpkins? Once pumpkins are close to their expected harvest date and are near their full size you can cut back on watering. Stop watering pumpkins 7-10 days before you harvest them to help them increase their flavor and cure to store longer.
After planting, pumpkins and squash plants will rapidly put on growth. Depending on space, either let them trail over the ground or train them up a support. Stems touching the ground can be pegged down to encourage them to root down into the soil. Pumpkins and squashes have separate male and female flowers.
Pumpkins thrive at a temperature of 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Even though some varieties can tolerate heat, they may not bear fruits when temperatures are consistently above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Pumpkins will die when exposed to extreme heat, wet weather, cold, pests, and diseases.
Pumpkins prefer full sunlight, but they do grow excellently in partial shade. … If you choose an area that is shaded from buildings, trees, and other obstructions, they will not grow to their full potential.
You should leave pumpkins on the vine as long as you can. They’ll only ripen and change color while still growing. Unlike tomatoes and bananas, pumpkins won’t improve after picking.
Green pumpkins will not turn orange after a killing frost, but green pumpkin harvesting is better than allowing them to rot in the field. Green pumpkins may ripen up slightly given some time, warmth, and sunlight.
Wait to cut the main vines until the fruit has developed enough to determine which fruit is the healthiest looking on the vine, then prune the vine to remove weaker pumpkins. Continue to cut the main vine as it grows to allow the plant to put all of its energy into the remaining fruit instead of vine growth.
Does each flower turn into a pumpkin? Only female flowers become pumpkins, and this only happens if pollen is transferred from the stamen of a male pumpkin flower to the female stigma in a process known as pollination.
Male flowers will be on long, thin stalks. Female flowers will grow on shorter stalks with a very small bulb at their base; that is the baby pumpkin in the making. You really only need to remove the female flowers to prevent additional pumpkins. … It’s not unusual for baby pumpkins to shrivel on the vine.
Pumpkins. (Curcurbita spp.) Most plants grow faster in the evening and at night than they do during the day. … In recent years, research on circadian rhythms in plants has shown that the night-time growth spurts of plants is under control of the plants biological clock.
Pumpkin vines can quickly take over a small garden, so train plants to grow on a trellis to save space. … But it is possible to raise pumpkins on a small patch of land. Think vertical, and train your pumpkins to grow on a trellis with the fruit supported with netting or old pantyhose.
It is generally not a good idea to take a seed directly from a Pumpkin and plant it straight into the ground. The reason for this is that not all seeds are immediately ready for germination, once removed from the fruit.
To squirrels, pumpkins are an irresistible treat that they’ll do almost anything to eat. … Covering pumpkins with a scent they hate is one of the best ways to ward them off.
Pumpkin plants have two kinds of flowers, male and female, which appear in early July. The male flowers show up first, followed by the females. Look out for the first female flowers. Look for vines to be strong and well-established before letting a female flower set fruit.
“The best time of year to plant pumpkins is from early May through June, but it also depends on the variety to be grown,” Wallace said. “Some varieties mature in 85 days while others may not mature for 120 days. So those with 120 days to harvest should be planted early.”
One way to know for sure your blossoms are pollinated is to do it yourself. In the early morning, while the blossoms are open, snip a male blossom from the vine and break away its petals to reveal the anther. Use this as a sort of paintbrush to dab pollen onto several female blossoms, then repeat with a new flower.
First, you’ll want to avoid large root crops like potatoes, beets, and onions. Overcrowding can result in tangled vines and may encourage fungal disease. This is because the roots can disturb the shallow squash roots come harvest time, and compete for nutrients in the soil during the growing season.
When pumpkins are planted too close together, the vines compete for nutrients and water. The flowers and young fruits may drop off, and the remaining pumpkins won’t grow to their full size.
If the weather is overly hot and humid early in the season, some plants delay the production of female flowers. … Also, too much nitrogen in the soil can result in the production of primarily male pumpkin vine flowering or even lush, healthy pumpkin vines but no flowers or pumpkins.
True Pumpkin Leaves About a week after the sprout has emerged from the ground, you will see the first leaves appear. … True leaves grow from the center of the plant between the sprout leaves. The leaves are dark green.
When flowers or baby gourds get too hot – with several days in a row of temperatures 90°F or above and nighttime temperatures of 70°F or above – the heat stress can cause them to drop flowers, or the developing fruits. If they don’t actually fall off the plants, flowers may shrivel and cease to grow.