Brightly coloured pumpkins help to bring in the fall harvest, Halloween and Thanksgiving. With relatively fertile soil, a long enough growing season and enough open space, you can grow your own pumpkins for jack-o'-lanterns and edibles, says Cornell University Home Gardening.
Plant pumpkins for Halloween from late May in northern locations to early July in extreme southern locations, the University of Illinois Extension says. The best soil temperature is about 21.1 degrees Celsius.
Grow pumpkins in soil of at least average fertility. Avoid wet, poorly aerated soils. Plant seeds in an area where they will get full sun and vines have space to spread out. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension recommends adding nitrogen for fertilisation to the soil before planting. Plant pumpkins seeds in rows 1.2 metres to 1.8 metres apart. Dig holes about .5 metres apart and place two seeds in each hole. When plants have three or four leaves, thin to one plant every 5 metres.
Watering and Harvesting
Water plants deeply but infrequently to encourage good vine and root growth. Keep plants watered in late July and early August, when they bloom and set fruit. Harvest pumpkins when they are a deep, solid colour and rinds are tough, recommends the University of Illinois Extension.