How to germinate pumpkin seeds

Written by g.k. bayne
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How to germinate pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds (Pumpkin Seeds image by Sarpy from

With the rise of saving seeds from garden vegetables, many gardeners germinate last year's seeds to ensure they are viable before putting them into the ground. Pumpkin seeds are no exception, especially if the seed is from an unknown source, such as from seed trading with other gardeners. Germinating pumpkin seeds, because of their size and ease, is also a project used in many schools to teach the cycle of seed to pumpkin.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Paper towels
  • Dinner sized plate
  • Gallon size zipper type storage bags

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  1. 1

    Tear off three or four paper towels from the roll and place the towels in an even stack.

  2. 2

    Lay the paper towels on a dinner plate and pour approximately 1/4 cup of water over the paper towels. Allow the water to absorb into the paper towels.

  3. 3

    Place the desired number of pumpkin seeds on the wet paper towels.

  4. 4

    Start at one end of the paper towel and begin rolling them into a cylinder, gently squeezing out excess moisture as you roll.

  5. 5

    Place the towel roll in a zipper type storage bag and set the bag in a warm area of your kitchen.

  6. 6

    Unwrap the paper towel roll after seven days to check for germination. Germinated pumpkin seed will have tiny sprouts indicating that the seed is viable. If the seed has not germinated, roll the towels back up, moisten the roll and allow to sit for another two to three days.

Tips and warnings

  • If the soil is warm enough, around 21.1 degrees Celsius, the germinated pumpkin seed can be planted directly into the ground. If not, use peat pots and potting soil to start the young plants indoors.

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