Starting Giant Pumpkins - Knowledgebase Question

Edison, NJ
Question by Ntropea
March 28, 1999
I am an amateur pumpkin & gourd grower from New Jersey, and I am interested in getting a head start on my pumkin planting (starting the seedlings indoors), so I can get the biggest pumpkins possible. It is almost the beginning of April and the weather is starting to get warm (into the 70's). In essence, would it be a good idea to get the seeds started inside so that in a few weeks I can plant the plants outside? If not, when would be the earliest I should start off the seeds to maximize my growing season?

Answer from NGA
March 28, 1999


Pumpkins germinate and grow very fast indoors and starting them too early puts them at risk for stress -- both for the intense sun they crave and for space. Pumpkin seeds and transplants are generally planted out about two weeks after the last frost date so the soil has had time to warm sufficiently. The seeds are only started indoors about a week or ten days at most before the last frost date. Your best bet might be to work on warming the soil outdoors by using windbreaks, raised beds, black plastic and so on so that they really hit the ground running when you plant them out.

You may find some helpful hints in this FAQ on growing gourds and this one on giant pumpkins. Good luck with your project!

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