The Best Time of Year to Plant Pumpkin Seeds

There is a reason pumpkins are such attractive plants for gardeners of all skill levels; there are many different types to choose from. Once you know how to plant one kind, you can plant them all.


Choosing the Right Seeds

There is no science to choosing which seeds to plant; it’s all about personal preference. However, it is best to make sure the seeds come from a reputable company or save seeds from pumpkins you have previously planted. They should be white and free of blemishes with no signs of mold.

Identify Your Planting Zone

The perfect time to plant the pumpkin seeds is based on the planting zone in which you live. For example, if you have a relatively short growing season, you need to wait until the soil reaches a consistent temperature of 65° F (18°C). A longer growing season indicates you should plant your pumpkin seeds to coincide with the typical harvestdate of early to mid-October.

Expert Gardener Tip:  Typically, pumpkins in zones 1-5 can be planted in late May or early June. Planting times in zones 6-9 generally start in early to mid-July.

Prepare The Ground for Planting

To ensure the best start for the pumpkin seeds, prepare the ground accordingly. Pumpkins do grow best mounds, especially in colder areas. The small hills allow the sun to heat the soil more rapidly, which encourages more rapid germination of the seeds. Pumpkin seeds also grow well in rows provided there is adequate spacing between them. For either hills or rows, there should be 4-6 feet between each one.

Planting the Seeds Directly in the Ground

When planting in hills, plant the four or five pumpkin seeds around the perimeter of the hill. For rows, plant each seed about six inches apart. For both hills and rows, do the following:

  • Watch carefully for emerging plants.
  • wait for the second set of leaves to develop.
  • Pull the weakest plants from the hill or row.
  • Thin plants to 3 per hill/18 inches in rows.

Starting Seeds Indoors

Although pumpkin seeds grow best when planted directly in the ground, shorter growing seasons sometimes require sowing the seeds indoors and transplanting them into the ground when the weather warms up.

To start indoors, plant the pumpkin seeds into a small peat pot. Water and place in a sunny location. Once the seeds have grown a full set of leaves, pull the smaller plants and allow the strongest ones to continue growing. Once the second set of leavesappears, and the weather is warm enough, place them into the prepared soil.

Just remember, the best time to plant pumpkin seeds depends on the growing zone of your area. Once you know that, planting pumpkin seeds is a snap.