Above: Photo by Marius Ciocirlan on Unsplash

I know spring is here and it’s almost time to start thinking about summer. However, for harvesting purposes, you need to start thinking about autumn. Especially if you’d like some pumpkins to make your fall festive.

Pumpkins need to be planted in May or June so that they’ll be ready in time for the fall. They grow all summer and are ready to be picked for jack-o’-lanterns and pumpkin pie in late September and October.

They’re relatively easy to grow from seed. You need a large space and good sunshine. There are so many pumpkin varieties to grow that the hardest part is deciding which ones to plant.

When you finally decide which pumpkins to grow, sow the seeds directly into the soil. You can plant the seeds in clay soil that has had some topsoil or compost added to it, but make sure to mix the compost or topsoil in well with the clay.

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Follow the directions on the seed package for the correct spacing and depth when you plant the seeds. Once they start to sprout, be sure to keep the seeds watered; fertilize them with a garden fertilizer every 4 to 6 weeks.

You’ll want to get the pumpkins off the ground once they start to appear. Place cardboard or a large rock underneath each. This helps with airflow and keeps insects from boring into them.

When the stems turn brown, you can cut them off the vine and enjoy. Growing pumpkins is easy as pie—pumpkin pie, that is.

Contact the UGA Extension in DeKalb County for more info, including gardening and food health/safety. 

Sarah E. Brodd is a Natural Resource Agent for UGA Extension in DeKalb County.