Pre-growing pumpkin is not difficult and requires only a little patience. Here you will learn what materials you need and what you need to consider when pre-growing so that the seeds germinate successfully.
When you preplant pumpkins, you don’t plant the seeds directly outdoors. Instead, germinate the seeds indoors or in a greenhouse. This way, the young plants can grow safely, as they are protected from cold, pests and strong weather.
The advantage of growing pumpkins indoors is that the seedlings have a greater chance of survival. Thus, the pumpkin harvest will be even more abundant. In addition, it is cheaper for you to sow the seeds than to buy plants that have already been pre-pulled. Also, the choice of seeds is greater if you germinate the seeds yourself.
The culture period of pumpkin, that is, the time from sowing to maturity, is about four months, depending on the variety. After a successful pre-breeding, you can harvest the pumpkins in late summer and fall.
Here you will learn how to proceed if you want to pre-grow pumpkin.
Pre-growing pumpkin: Material and timing
The best time to start pre-growing is about three to four weeks before the last frost. This is usually mid to late April.
Before you start pre-growing pumpkin, you should prepare the following materials:
- Growing Soil: Growing soil is low in nutrients. This helps the plants grow sturdy roots as they have to work harder. Be sure to use peat-free soil to protect the bogs.
- Seeding containers: make your own growing containers instead of buying them from a store. For example, use old yogurt cups or make growing pots out of egg cartons. Make a pair of holes in the bottom. This will allow excess water to drain out.
- Foil (Optional): You can use an old plastic bag with holes to create a greenhouse-like climate. This will help the seedlings to grow. Make sure that there is still enough light reaching the soil.
- Flower pots: After the seeds have germinated, you need to move the seedlings into larger pots. Use plant pots or balcony tubs for this purpose.
- Pumpkins can be grown indoors on a windowsill or in a heated greenhouse.
How to sow the seeds
If you want to grow pumpkin in advance, first start sowing seeds. This is how you do it:
- Fill the growing soil into the growing containers.
- Make small depressions and place the seeds one to two centimeters deep in the soil. Allow a space of about five centimeters between the seeds. If using an egg carton as a growing pot, you can put one seed in each well.
- Cover the seeds with soil. Gently press the soil down.
- Moisten the soil with a spray bottle or a container from which water can drip. In this way you avoid heavy wetness. Keep the soil constantly moist for the next few days.
- If you use a plastic sheet as a cover, make small holes in it. Cover your seed pot with it.
- Choose a warm, bright place where the pumpkins can germinate.
- The optimal temperature for a short germination period is 23 to 25 degrees Celsius. Then the pumpkins germinate after about seven days.
Pre-growing pumpkin with proper care
To preplant pumpkin, you should follow some tips after sowing:
- After the germination period of about a week, the first cotyledons can be seen. Now choose a new location for the seedlings. The optimal temperature is 15 to 18 degrees Celsius in a semi-shaded place. In a place that is too warm, the pumpkins grow very quickly and are later less robust outdoors.
- Always keep the soil moist. Avoid waterlogging.
- After germination, it is no longer necessary to cover the plants with foil.
Once the pumpkins have formed two more leaves in addition to the cotyledons, it’s time to prick out the seedlings. This means that you put the young pumpkins in larger containers with more distance between them. Here’s how you do it:
- Fill flower pots or window boxes with peat-free potting soil.
- Dig small depressions with a distance of about ten centimeters in the earth.
- Lift the small pumpkin plants together with the root balls out of the growing container. Use a teaspoon for this.
- Place each seedling in a well in the new pot. Gently cover the roots with soil and press down lightly. The pumpkins will form stronger roots if you place them a little deeper in the soil than before in the seedling tray.
- Keep the soil moist.
After pre-growing: plant the pumpkin in the open field.
If you have managed to preplant your pumpkin, then set it outdoors from mid-May. Pumpkins love warm soils. Therefore, you should definitely wait until after the last frost in mid-May. Pumpkins grow best in nutrient-rich soil and in a sunny to partial shade location.
Pumpkins need plenty of room to grow. Plant them at least a foot and a half apart in the ground. Therefore, choose only small-growing species for balcony and terrace.
In another article you will learn how to plant, care for and harvest pumpkins.
Important: Plant at least two pumpkins in one bed so that they can pollinate each other.
I have 30 years of experience and i started this website to see if i could try and share my knowledge to help you.
With a degree a Horticulture BSc (Hons)
I have worked as a horticulture specialist lead gardener, garden landscaper, and of course i am a hobby gardener at home in my own garden.
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