How to grow a great pumpkin even if you aren’t Charlie Brown


I’ve had challenges as a grower of pumpkins. Last year, despite planting seedlings from an entire packet of heirloom seeds, I only got one (albeit a beauty) pumpkin for my troubles. That’s it pictured above. Lovely, isn’t it?

This spring I started pumpkin seedlings in my little greenhouse only to have each of the sturdy stalks that popped up die over night when I transplanted them to larger pots. It was a sad morning.

So, given my lackluster track record, I’m trying something new with the two new packets of seeds I bought last weekend. I read an article in Grow Magazine about planting squash and, knowing that pumpkins are a type of squash, I’m following their instructions. My hope is that I can, with good luck, create a vision of spooky splendour this Halloween using my own crop.

Here’s what the article suggested:

1. Make a mound of dirt in the sunniest part of the garden. (check!)
2. Dig a hole in the centre of the mound and sink a plastic nursery pot into the hole. Back fill around it so that the empty pot is submerged in the soil. (check!)
3. Plant the pumpkin seeds around the submerged pot as directed on the package. (check!)

What’s the purpose? Well, you can add water to the submerged pots and water the roots of the plants more effectively!

Will it work? Only time will tell. At this point I don’t even have sprouts showing but I’ll be sure to get back to you as the season progresses.

Do you have any pumpkin patch tips for me?


8 Responses to How to grow a great pumpkin even if you aren’t Charlie Brown

  1. Barb says:

    I wish I could help. I had similar disappointing results with cantelope and watermelon. ??? Zucchini and cucumbers take off like mad. Pictures of pumkin crops from your side of the country certainly make it “look” like an easy crop to grow but I know different. Good Luck! 🙂

  2. danamccauley says:

    Thanks Barb. I’m looking forward to conquering this pumpkin code.

  3. Diva says:

    Given my lack of yard, I’m wholly without pumpkin tips. Though there’s this wonderful farm stand in Southern Connecticut that I can direct you to, come October! LOL and j/k

    Here’s hoping you’ll have a bumper crop this time, Dana. Good luck!

  4. danamccauley says:

    If I fail at my pumpkin growing, I might just road trip to Connecticut!

  5. I’m going to try zucchini this year. I’m not brave enough for squash. Kudos to you for trying this again. I hope you get enough heirloom pumpkins for a lot of pie (hint, hint).

  6. Dana

    I wonder if it’s because you’re using seedlings instead of seeds. I don’t have good luck with seedlings. SO tempremental. A few years ago, I stuck pumpkin seeds right into the dirt early in the season and just let ’em go. They went insane!!!!! This year, I planted potatoes in containers. Wish me luck!

  7. Heather says:

    We always just stuck the pumpkin, other squash and vine seeds straight into the ground, and we always had more than enough…in fact Mom wouldn’t let us plant a whole packet of seeds because she had a hard enough time dealing with what we ended up with from the few that we planted…just remembered, we often planted two seeds together for squash and vine type plants.

    Potatoes in containers…maybe I’ll give that a try next year…we’re trying beans, peas, and cucumbers for the first time in containers this year…we’re doing tomatoes too, but we’ve grown them before…the rest are just experimental.

  8. danamccauley says:

    Hi Heather, just to clarify, the pumpkins aren’t in the containers. The containers are sunk in the centre of a group of plants so that it’s easy to water the roots of the pumpkins.

    Vicky, I think you are totally correct. I lost my seedlings this year so I’ve bought more seeds and stuck them in the ground. Fingers crossed!

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