When, Where and How to Plant Pumpkins in your Garden in [12 Steps]

A shady Irish man named Jack O’Lantern met the devil on October 31st.

He ended up imprisoning him and for several years the devil was a prisoner of Jack O’Lantern. However, they finally struck a deal: Jack would free him if the devil never came for him in return.

So it was. Until Jack O’Lantern died. At that time, the Irishman could not go to heaven because of the sins he had committed, and neither could he go to hell because of the pact he had made with the devil.

So he was condemned to wander the earth forever.

To make his existence more bearable, the devil gave Jack a pumpkin with a burning coal inside. Since then and for this reasonthe pumpkin is the official symbol of Halloween.

How to Plant Pumpkins Step by Step:

EITHEROriginally, the term «pumpkin» was used to designate the variety now known as Lagenaria, from Africa and widely spread throughout the Spanish Peninsula.

But after the meeting between Spain and America, the term was extended to also designate other cucurbits, such as Cucurbita pepo and Cucurbita maxima, also known as courgettes and pumpkins, respectively.

Although its origin is not completely defined (some sources claim that its origin is in America, while others show ancestral cultivation of pumpkin in South Asia) pumpkin is, without a doubt, one of the oldest vegetables that exist.

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At first, it was cultivated to take advantage of its seeds, but this custom was disappearing as varieties with better flavor and more pulp emerged.

Today, squash is grown in hot, humid terrain around the world and is one of the most versatile foods in existence.

Indeed, they can be used in savory recipes like sweets, and their health benefits are quite extensive.

Most common varieties of pumpkin

The main varieties of squash are summer and winter squash. You should take into account the variety you want to grow in your urban or home garden:

  • summer squashIt is a variety with light and thin skin and soft seeds. Within this variety are the bonetera squash, the spaghetti squash and the rondín squash.
  • winter squashIt is sweeter than the previous one, although drier and with a thicker skin. Thanks to the thickness of its skin, it is preserved for a longer time. Within this group is the banana squash, the squash and the confectionery squash.

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Another variety is the pumpkin of the pilgrim or lagenaria, also known as gourd or gourd. It is a variety with the shape of a strangulated bottle that, once dry, can be used as a container.

Did you know…In American colonial times, squash was used as an ingredient for pie crusts, not for fillings.

For its usefulness, we can distinguish:

  • Ornamental gourds, intensely colored, whose plants have orange and yellow flowers.
  • Utilitarian gourds, such as the aforementioned lagenaria. They are green while they are growing, and when they dry they take on a brownish hue. They are used to make tools, containers and utensils, due to their hard shell.
  • Vegetable sponge gourds, like luffa gourds, have a shell that can be peeled off, thus leaving the center part that can be used as a sponge. These gourds bear yellow flowers as they grow.

Likewise, we can consider Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita moschata and Cucurbita argyrosperma as a single crop group.

Although they do not hybridize with each other and have different culinary uses, they are varieties that are related and have quite similar cultivation characteristics.

This group can be harvested ripe, to take advantage of its seed and pulp, or it can be harvested immature as a seasonal vegetable.

To know more, you can see: Varieties of pumpkins.

What do we need to plant pumpkins?

When? The date

Between March and June.

Pumpkin seeds need heat to germinate heat, so they never do in very cold areas.

Therefore, it is ideal to plant pumpkins in times away from frost, that is, during spring.

However, if you live in temperate or cold regions, the sowing will take place until May and it will be necessary to sow in a seedbed.

The winter variety is sown in late summer and early fall.

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Where? The temperature and the light

Being plants from southern countries,they are very demanding in terms of luminosityis concerned, so a greater amount of sunshine will have a direct impact on an increase in the harvest.

In this way, for its location we must choose a very sunny place. Ideally, they should remain in the sun for between 10 and 12 hours.

It is not too demanding in terms of temperature, although it supports higher temperatures than other cucurbits such as melons, cucumbers or watermelons.

Temperate climates are best suited, but there are varieties well adapted to cooler climates.

The optimum soil temperature for germination is between 20 and 25 ºC, for its vegetative growth it is 25 to 30 ºC, and for its flowering, again 20 to 25 ºC.

Below 10 ºC its development is paralyzed. In fact, the cold can reduce flowering.

Above 40ºC, imbalances in plants and temperatures begin to appear.

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  • Locate your pumpkins in an area with good sun exposure.
  • To increase the temperature indoors you can make use of vine-type covers with double coating.
  • Outdoors , try to plant pumpkins in sunny spots. You can also use thermal blankets if temperatures are very low.

How do we water? Moisture and risks

Pumpkins require high humidity throughout their life cycle due to their large leaf surface and their high water content in the fruit (around 95%).

The optimal relative humidity is between 65 and 80.

Very high relative humidity favors the development of aerial diseases, prevents germination and can cause root suffocation.

On the contrary, a considerable lack of humidity can cause dehydration of the tissues, poor fertilization and, finally, a decrease in production.

Irrigation must be frequent and regular, requiring more frequent irrigations with the appearance of the first fruits.

Waterlogging should be avoided at all times, as they are very harmful, and in the early stages of cultivation excess water in the soil is not recommended for good rooting.

The most recommended irrigation systemsare drip irrigation and foot irrigation, either blanket or furrows.


  • By moistening the soil before planting pumpkins, the risk of expelling the seeds due to the force of the water is reduced.
  • The frequency of irrigation will depend on the particular conditions, however, you must always keep the soil moist, avoiding puddles.
  • If you water with a hose, you must provide at least 3 centimeters of water with each watering.
  • Maintaining optimum humidity is essential once the fruit begins to sprout.
  • If you water in the morning, it is more likely that the crop will take longer to work, since the energy of the first hours is invested in evaporating the water from the surface of its leaves.

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How do we prepare the land and fertilize?

The pumpkin is not very demanding on the soil and adapts easily to all types of substrates, although it prefers those with a texturefrank, deep and well drained.

The soil, in addition, must contain enough organic matter, since it is very demanding in terms of nutrients.

For this reason, it is very convenient to work the substrate well and add a good fertilizer. The best natural fertilizers are enriched compost or aged manures.

In addition, this type of flooring heats up faster and retains heat more easily.

The optimal pH ranges between 5.6 and 6.8, although it can adapt to soils with pH values ​​between 5.0 and 7.0

It is a moderately tolerant species to the salinity of the soil and irrigation water, but if the concentration of salts is very high, the plants find it very difficult to absorb the irrigation water.


  • If the soil is very clayey, add organic matter. You can use worm castings. In this way you will also be favoring the good drainage of the land.
  • If the soil is very dense, incorporate compost or decomposed manure.
  • Pierce the soil with a shovel or rake before adding fertilizer. This makes it easier for the additives to mix and, at the same time, favors the root system of the plant.
  • If you need to increase the pH of the soil, add agricultural lime.
  • If you need to lower the pH of the soil, add sulfur or aluminum sulfate.
  • Dark compost is recommended to keep the soil moist and warm.
  • If your garden is prone to flooding, you need to do everything you can to fix it. You can create slopes so that the water runs off to the side and install gutters to make it easier to collect the water.
  • Another effective technique to promote drainage is to create mounds of earth and plant pumpkins on them, so less water will accumulate at the foot of your plants. At planting time, add a good amount of mulch, compost, peat or manure to fluff up the soil and aerate it. If you also add river sand and mix it well with the soil, the result will be favorable.
  • In extreme cases, it is best to install a network of drainage pipes.

Did you know…In some countries it was believed that gourds could erase freckles and cure viper bites.

How to plant pumpkins? [11 Steps]

Clear the ground

Extrae malas hierba,restos de cultivos anteriores y todo tipo de residuos para garantizar que tus calabazas reciban la cantidad de nutrientes adecuada.

Todas las plantas deben ser extraídas desde la raíz para evitar que crezcan nuevamente.

Prepara el suelo con un rastrillo o motoazada para que quede bien ventilado

Es importante airear el aire y eliminar las malas hierbas que puedan haber.

Esto es recomendable en la mayoría de cultivos.

Humedece el terreno antes de sembrar calabazas

Así reduces el riesgo de expulsar las semillas por la fuerza del agua.

Fertiliza el suelo

Si usas fertilizantes naturales, mézclalos en el suelo a una profundidad de 5 centímetros.

Introduce las semillas en el suelo

To do this, create a small mound of soil and plant 2-3 seeds 3-5cm deep.

Not only will the mound help improve drainage, it will allow the sun to warm the soil faster, speeding up germination.

When you’re done, cover them lightly.

Don’t forget that each hole should be kept 40 to 90 centimeters apart.

Select the healthiest and strongest seedlings

The seeds will germinate in 5-8 days. If more than one seed has germinated in each hole, keep the strongest one.

To do this, do not pull the weak one, as you can damage the leaves. A simple pruning at ground level is sufficient.

Pruning will be necessary

It will be necessary to carry out a pruning to limit the excessive growth of the bush and favor the production of fruits.

To know more: How to prune the pumpkin?

It is necessary to hill the creeping stems

It is also necessary to hill the creeping stems so that they take root correctly and thus favor the development of the fruits.

Hilling is carried out 20 days after birth and consists of covering part of the trunk of the plant with soil to reinforce its base and promote root development.

It is advisable not to exceed the height of the cotyledons.

protect your plants

Use netting to protect your plants from pests and potential predators, especially rabbits and squirrels. Protection is important mainly during the early stages.

You will need to remove the mesh once the plants

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