Large Pumpkin In The Garden
(Image credit: AMANDA JACKSON)

Growing pumpkins in the garden can be a lot of fun, especially for children who may use them for carving their jack-o-lanterns at Halloween. As many gardeners know though, successfully growing pumpkins in the garden for Halloween pumpkins can be difficult to do. With a few pumpkin growing tips, you can grow perfect Halloween pumpkins in your garden.

Halloween Pumpkin Growing Tip #1 - Plant at the right time

Many gardeners will tell you that growing pumpkins is easy, it's keeping the pumpkins from rotting before Halloween that is hard. Mature pumpkins will rot quickly, so it's important that your pumpkin is ripe right at Halloween. The best time for planting pumpkins depends on the variety and your climate. Normally, in the north, you should be planting pumpkins in mid to late May. In warmer, southern climates (where pumpkins grow rapidly) you should probably be planting pumpkins in June.

Halloween Pumpkin Growing Tip #2 - Give your pumpkin lots of room

Growing pumpkins requires a lot of room. Many pumpkin plants can grow to be 30 to 40 feet (9-12 m.) long. If you don't provide enough room for your pumpkin plant you may cause it to shade and weaken itself, which makes the plant more susceptible to disease and pests.

Halloween Pumpkin Growing Tip #3 - Pumpkins love sunshine

Plant your pumpkins where they will get lots of sun. The more the better.

Halloween Pumpkin Growing Tip #4 - Pumpkins love water

While growing pumpkins will tolerate some drought, it is best to make sure that they get regular watering. Make sure your pumpkin plants get 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm.) of water a week. Supplement with the hose if you are not getting this much rainfall.

Halloween Pumpkin Growing Tip #5 - Plant your Pumpkins with Companions

Squash bugs are the number one killers of pumpkin vines. To repel them from your pumpkin plant, plant some companion plants near your pumpkin plant. Plants that squash bugs don't like and will keep squash bugs from the growing pumpkins include:

Halloween Pumpkin Growing Tip #6 - Keep the Stem

When you harvest your pumpkin plant, make sure you leave a good, long piece of the stem on the pumpkin. Once you cut potential Halloween pumpkins from the vine, a "handle" or stem will help slow the rotting process. Conclusion: With these pumpkin growing tips, you should have a much better chance of growing all the Halloween pumpkins you could want. Remember also, not only is growing pumpkins fun, but after Halloween, they make a great addition for your compost pile.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.