Plant Pumpkins Now, So They’ll Be Ready for Halloween

Since pumpkins generally require around 75 to 100 frost-free days, it’s a good idea to get a jumpstart on planting them.

Yes, it is June and I am writing about pumpkins. (Shudder.) But this isn’t a put-up-the-Christmas-decorations-in-October kind of thing. It’s that winter squash takes forever to grow and requires the long game ľ so now is actually the perfect time to start talking pumpkins.

People have been growing pumpkins in North America for almost 5,000 years … and is it any wonder? They are bright, nutritious and completely delicious. Plus, jack-o’-lanterns, of course ľ so if you want pumpkins in time for Halloween, you need to get a jump on things.

When to Plant Pumpkins in Time for Halloween

To have pumpkins ready for Halloween, they should be planted from late May in northern sites to early July in the southernmost states. If pumpkins are planted too early, they may become mush before Halloween. Too late, and they won’t be ready in time.In general, they require 75 to 100 frost-free days. Someábig gorgeous heirloomsátake 120 days or more, but evenálittle cutie-piesácan take 90 days or so.Also, make sure all threat of frost has passed and the soil is warm.When it comes time to harvest, here are some tips from The Old Farmer’s Almanac to help extend the post-harvest life of your pumpkins.

  • To slow decay, leave an inch or two of stem on pumpkins and winter squash when harvesting them.
  • To harvest the pumpkin, cut the fruit off the vine carefully with a sharp knife or pruners; do not tear. Be sure not to cut too close to the pumpkin; a liberal amount of stem (3 to 4 inches) will increase the pumpkin’s keeping time.
  • Handle pumpkins very gently or they may bruise.
  • Pumpkins should be cured in the sun for about a week to toughen the skin and then stored in a cool, dry bedroom, cellar, or root cellar ľ anywhere around 55║F.

For more on how to grow pumpkins, visitáThe Old Farmer’s Almanac; and for some very lovely varieties, visitáBaker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

by Melissa Breyer

Related at Care2

Photo via Getty Images

115 comments

Teresa W
Teresa W5 hours ago

thanks

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Donna T
Donna T11 hours ago

thank you

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Leo C
Leo C12 hours ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Danuta W
Danuta W16 hours ago

Thank you for sharing

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Lisa M
Lisa Myesterday

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa Myesterday

Thanks.

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Teresa W
Teresa Wyesterday

I don't have a garden, but thank you.

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Naomi Dreyer
Naomi D1 days ago

hmmmmm

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Martin H
Martin H2 days ago

Very nice article. TY.

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James Knepp
James K4 days ago

I haven't had much luck growing pumpkins but I'll try again.

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