Pumpkins are warm-weather vegetables that are pretty popular around the fall. Other than being a very famous symbol for Halloween, pumpkins make pretty delicious treats that can be eaten year-round.
The surge of buying pumpkins usually begins right after September ends. Very little, however, is known about the planting phase of this delicious vegetable.
It’s time we ask ourselves this question, when can a person plant pumpkins? Is there a specific time, and are there specific conditions that must be met so we can enjoy homegrown pumpkins?
Let’s find out!
Before diving in, let’s talk a little about the vegetable itself. Familiarizing yourself with it will help you figure out the time it needs to grow.
Pumpkins belong to the Cucurbitaceae, also called cucurbits or the gourd family. It’s the same family of cantaloupe, watermelons, cucumbers, melons, and zucchini. One thing these veggies have in common is that they grow on vines.
Growing on vines isn’t a huge issue. It just means that they need extra space to grow.
It takes from 10ft to 20ft of space, for pumpkins to grow properly. Therefore, if you’re considering adding a pumpkin patch to your garden, remember that they take extra space.
When to Plant Pumpkins
Pumpkins are normally sold around the beginning of fall. That being said, there are many factors one must consider before attempting to grow this tasty vegetable on his own.
If you happen to live in an area where fall brings frost, you need to find out exactly what that first frost date is.
Finding that is quite easy. Just head over to the National Climatic Data Center. The projected data is mostly accurate and presents a 10% probability of the first frost date.
Knowing the first frost date is essential because it’ll then allow you to calculate the best time to plant your pumpkin so that it reaches full maturity by fall. All you need to do is to count backward the number of days your pumpkin variety needs to grow.
If the kind of pumpkin you chose falls within that time frame, then you’re good to go. If it doesn’t, then you need to pick another variety that’ll grow in a shorter period or start off the seeding process of the pumpkins indoors.
The biggest reason to depend on frost dates is that pumpkins can’t grow properly in cold weather. In fact, they loathe cold weather and any kind of frost is a death sentence to your pumpkin patch.
Trying to make sense of how to grow pumpkins is pretty hectic, especially if you’re not used to growing a long-seasoned crop.
Pumpkins, in general, need from 90 to 120 days to fully mature. Since pumpkins are generally sold in October, farmers usually pick October 1st as their harvest day and count backward, 90-120 days (depending on the type of pumpkin they’re planting). That way, they’re ensuring that pumpkins are ripe in their season.
The time that farmers usually go for is between Mid-June and July. Experienced farmers start their planting process around that time because there’s almost no frost at that period.
So remember, don’t plant your pumpkin until you’re sure that all the frost period has passed. Also, pumpkins can rot if they’re planted too early. So consider the timing pretty well and align it with your location.
Type of Pumpkin
There are over 73 types that can be easily grown in your backyard.
Knowing the type of pumpkin you’re planting is important since some pumpkins require more time than others to grow.
Here are some of the pretty popular ones among people who choose to plant pumpkins on their own.
Jack O’ Lantern
Jack O’ Lantern pumpkins are the most popular carving pumpkins among Halloween lovers. They grow until they’re between 12-18 inches and a fully mature one will weigh between 18-24 pounds.
They’re directly sowed in the ground, meaning you don’t have to sow the Jack O’ Lanterns seedlings indoors first like other types of pumpkins.
Jack O’Lanterns take about 110 days to fully mature. Therefore, if you want to have them ready by October, make sure to plant them by mid-June.
Rouge Vif D’Etampes
One of the remarkably beautiful types, the Rouge Vif D’Etampes pumpkins are bright scarlet in color and originated in France.
These pumpkins are usually bought for display. Their rich orange-red color makes them very attractive and they’re usually placed in shop windows or bought for baking purposes. They’re known to be slightly sweet and excellent for baking pies.
The Rouge Vif D’Etampes take about 110 days to mature, so you should start planting their seeds mid-June. They grow to be roughly 12-18 inches high and a fully mature one weighs between 10-30 pounds.
Small Sugar pumpkins are known to be the best pumpkins for pies. They, along with their bigger counterparts, Connecticut Fields are the standard pumpkins bakers go for when deciding to bake pumpkin-flavored desserts.
These smaller Pumpkins take a little less time to mature, reaching full maturity between 100-105 days. It would be pretty safe to start planting Small Sugar’s seeds at the beginning of July.
Fully mature Small Sugar pumpkins can reach a height between 12-18 inches and can weigh up to 8 pounds. They’re directly sowed into your field and its usual size has a 10-inch diameter.
The Connecticut Field is the bigger version of Small Sugar. It’s also used in pies but it’s less sugary than its smaller counterpart. Still, chefs sometimes go for the Connecticut Field when they’re cooking up a savory dish that requires pumpkin as an ingredient.
Connecticut Field pumpkins need 120 days to fully mature. So if you want to enjoy some delicious pumpkin quesadillas or pumpkin soup, you need to plant those Connecticut Field seeds by the beginning of June.
These large pumpkins normally grow to reach a height between 12-18 inches and can weigh up to 25 pounds. They’re also sowed directly in the ground.
Pumpkin Growing Tips
For a pumpkin plant to properly grow, it’ll need plenty of room. A typical pumpkin requires a 6×8-foot area. This would fit only one plant.
As previously stated, pumpkins grow in vines, so your pumpkin will grow on a fence or a trellis. A vine can hold up to nine pumpkins, and as highlighted above, this vegetable can grow to be quite heavy.
One thing you must ensure is that these fences or trellis are strong, can hold their own and properly planted on the ground.
Pumpkins love rich, well-draining soil, that’s slightly on the acidic side. A perfect ph for pumpkins to grow is between 6.0 and 6.5.
The temperature of the soil also must reach 60 degrees F. for them to grow. So make sure that the soil is warm when you start planting your pumpkins.
For proper care, you need to place mulch around the plants regularly to conserve moisture and discourage weeds from growing as well as keep the pumpkins generally cleaner.
Using organic mulch can also help with the fertility of the soil, so if you can, try to use that when planting your pumpkins.
Fertilizers aren’t usually used if your soil is suitable for pumpkin growth. However, it won’t hurt to add some fertilizer at first, especially if the seedlings were pretty slow in the growing process.
We really hope that this article did answer your question on when pumpkins can be plants. The answer is, approximately three and a half months before you want to consume them, and after the first frost date.
Pumpkins are one of the best vegetables that can be enjoyed in a multitude of ways. We really hope that this sheds some light on how these amazing treats can be planted and grown.