Growing Pumpkins


Expert Germination Hints for Giant Pumpkins


To maximize the odds of getting good germination and a good result with your pumpkins, here are some growing suggestions.


Option 1.

File the seed edges gently with a nail file or a piece of sandpaper. Do not file the pointed end. This makes is easier for moisture to reach the seeds and for the leaves to break through the seed shell. (Giant pumpkin shells are thick and can be difficult for the plant to germinate.)


Soak the seeds in lukewarm water (not hot water) or room temperature for 2-6 hours before planting. I have heard of growers soaking their seeds up to 24 hours, but just a few hours should be fine.


For indoor growing, you’ll need peat pots or regular pots 4” - 6” in size filled with soil, one for each seed. Plant the seeds about 1”-2” deep (no deeper).

Traditionally, the seed is placed on its side, with a narrow edge toward the sky.

Keep the soil moist, not wet.

Consider a germination mat until the seeds have germinated. Once that has happened, they can dry out or become damaged from the heat. So remove them immediately after germination. You can find inexpensive germination mats on places like Amazon.


Plant outside on a hill after all frost danger has passed. Pumpkins seeds are generally planted in the middle of small hills or mounds. Surround each hill with a moat (about 4 inches wide / 4 inches deep) to help contain water and allow for a deep soak that builds strong roots. Space plants 8 feet apart in the garden.


Option 2.

This is easier for the average person. Simply take a wet paper towel and wring out all the water. You will then be left with a moist, but not dripping wet paper towel. Place your seeds on the paper towel and fold it up a few times so it can easily fit inside a baggie. Zip up the baggie, leaving a bit of air. I wouldn't leave this in direct sunlight, but you can place it out on a table or counter top. In 2-4 days, you'll notice the seeds will start breaking through the shells. At that point you can plant them in either a pot with soil or directly into your garden. Covering with an inch of soil. This allows the seed to break the shell and start growing.