Pumpkins are a popular garden crop, as both children and adults enjoy watching the vines crawl and the pumpkins grow and develop. The next time you are cleaning out a pumpkin, whether it be for a pie or a Halloween decoration, save some of the seeds to plant in your home garden. Planting pumpkin seeds from a pumpkin is one way to teach children about the circle of life, seed time and harvest.
Harvesting The Pumpkin Seeds
Cut open the pumpkin. Pumpkins can be tough and thick, so the easiest way to cut it open is the same way you would cut it to carve it. Insert a knife into the top of the pumpkin and cut a circle around the top stem. Once the cut is complete, lift the top off the pumpkin.
Using a long-handled spoon, scoop the string and seeds out from the inside the pumpkin and put them in a colander.
Rinse the pumpkin seeds under lukewarm water until all pulp and residue are off them.
Spread the seeds in a single layer out on a paper towel or coffee filters and allow them to dry for two to three days.
Store dried pumpkin seeds in a paper envelope in a cool area until you need to use them.
Planting The Pumpkin Seeds
Plant pumpkin seeds in late spring, when there is no longer a danger of frost in your growing area. Before planting, soak them in a cup of lukewarm water for 24 hours to weaken the seed coat.
Work the soil at least 12 inches deep with a rototiller or shovel. Add a three-inch layer of compost or manure and work it into the soil.
Poke one-inch-deep holes in the soil, spacing the holes 24 inches apart. If you are planting more than one row, space the rows four to six feet apart.
Place two seeds per hole and cover with soil. Gently water the soil every day until seedlings emerge, keeping it moist but not soggy. Once the seedlings begin to grow, water deeply but less frequently. For example, if there has not been adequate rain, water once per week, making the soil moist to a depth of three to four inches.
Thin seedlings to one per hole when they are three to four inches tall.
About this Author
A freelance writer for more than 12 years, Traci Vandermark has written extensively on health and fitness topics. She is a student of health, fitness and nutrition at the International Institute Of Holistic Healing, certified by the American Association of Nutritional Consultants. Her articles have appeared in Catskill Country Magazine, The Lookout Magazine, Capper's, Birds and Blooms and Country Discoveries, to name a few.