Pumpkins cannot survive frost,
so be sure you harvest your crop
before the weather turns.
Plant them from seed two to three weeks after the average date of last frost, when the soil has warmed up. Bush varieties can be grown if space is limited. Pumpkins prefer well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. Too much fertilizer encourages the growth of vines rather than the production of fruit.
Plant seeds directly in the garden in inverted hills six feet apart. Plant several seeds per hill and thin to one plant in each hill. Thin seedlings at soil level to avoid disturbing the roots of the chosen survivor. Pumpkins need plenty of water to keep the fruit growing steadily.
The time from planting to harvest is 95 to 120 days. Leave the pumpkins on the vine as long as possible before frost. They become soft after freezing. Cut off the pumpkin with one or two inches of stem.
Types of Pumpkins
- Bushkin, harvest at 95 days, produces bright orange, 10-pound fruit; it is good for limited space.
- Jack Be Little, harvest at 95 days, produces 3-inch fruit.
- Jack-O-Lantern, harvest at 110 days, has 10-inch, bright orange fruit.
- Big Max, harvest at 120 days, has reddish pink skin and can weigh up to 100 pounds.
- Jarradale, harvest at 97 days, has gray-white skin and sweet yellow flesh.
Want even more information about pumpkins? Try these links:
- How to Carve a Pumpkin: The jack-o'-lantern is a quintessential element of Halloween celebrations. Learn about the basic carving tools and techniques.
- Vegetable Gardens: Grow a full harvest of great vegetables this year.
- Gardening: We answer your questions about all things that come from the garden.