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When learning how to grow pumpkins from seed, it’s important to remember that pumpkins, like squash, beans, and other large seed crops, are very easy to grow by planting their seeds directly in the ground. Success for direct sowing any crop depends on your soil and how well you prepare it prior to planting. In this blog, I will teach you all the things I have learned over the past ten years of growing directly in the ground and what it takes to make direct sowing successful.
How to Grow Pumpkins: Direct Sowing Seeds
Learning how to grow pumpkins is a gateway to learning how to grow squash, beans, and corn since they have similar planting methods. These crops are traditionally directly sown in well-worked soil because they can germinate easily in garden soil. Since they have large seeds, they have a large amount of energy reserved in their seed coats to burst through the soil easily and quickly. The key to this happening is soil preparation.
How to Grow Pumpkins: Soil Preparation
Before planting pumpkin seeds in the ground, you must first prepare the soil. Prepare by removing sticks, rocks, weeds, and any other debris in the soil where you are planting the seeds; they could end up on top of the seeds and keep them from germinating. We like to use a hard rake to break up the soil crust, then a fine soft rake to remove anything from the top of the soil that could prevent good seed germination. It is a good idea to add compost, Bermuda-free horse manure, and worm castings if possible. Mix those into the soil by raking them in or double digging them in.
After preparing the soil for planting or creating a “seed bed,” the area should look clean; soil should be finely raked and light and fluffy. It is a good idea to ensure ample moisture in the soil. When you hold a hand full of soil, the soil should stay clumped together loosely, indicating moisture in the soil. If there is insufficient moisture, you need to water deeply and heavily before planting because seeds require moisture to germinate, and the seed will die if the soil dries out at any point during germination. It is a good idea to review all the requirements of good seed starting methods. Check out our Garden Wisdom Blog, YouTube channel, and more for tons of information on becoming an expert seed starter.
YouTube: Seed Starting Tutorial
Class: Seed Starting Academy
Once you prep the soil and water it well, you can start planting your seeds!
How to Grow Pumpkins: Planting the Seeds
Planting your pumpkin seeds can seem straightforward, but we have some pro tips that can help you in your direct sowing success for pumpkins and various other crops.
We recommend first making a furrow to plant your seeds in. A furrow is just an indentation in the soil that allows you a place to place the seed. You can make a furrow with your hand or the handle of a tool. This allows the soil particles to condense and moisture to be wicked up to the seeds from capillary action. It also allows you to see where the seeds are placed and not get lost in your spacing.
Using a furrow is a good habit when planting any seed directly in the soil. After placing your seeds in their furrows, water gently using a rain-like water wand, like our Dramm Water Breaker and Water Wand. Once you have gently watered the seeds and made sure they have not washed away, you can cover them with finely sifted soil or potting mix for the best results. This pro-tip allows seeds to germinate quickly and easily and avoids the possibility of sticks or large soil particles placed on top of the seeds.
The soil should remain moist during the germination period of 6–10 days. This may require watering multiple times a day during the heat. Use garden shade cloth to keep the soil moist between watering.
After your seeds have germinated, giving them some extra nutrients is a good idea. We like to feed them with fish fertilizer so they can grow quickly. You can grow Pumpkins very easily once you get over the hurdle of planting the seeds directly in the ground.
There are few other things pumpkins require except:
- a full sun location to grow in,
- regular watering at the base of the plant (do not overhead water),
- and pollinators to move pollen from the male flower to the female.
That’s it! If you follow these steps, you will have pumpkins growing in your garden.
Check out our Direct Seeding for Success blog for more information on direct sowing successfully.