Grow pumpkins in your garden in the summer for an ample fruit harvest for pie-making and carving in the fall. You can choose from giant pumpkins weighing several hundred pounds to smaller basketball-size pie pumpkins. Pumpkins grow in warm soil, so they are often started from seed indoors in spring, then later transplanted outside once all danger of frost has passed. Start seeds in plantable peat pots so the roots aren't disturbed when you plant them out to the garden.
Fill peat pots with a moist potting mix. Plant one seed per pot to a depth twice that of the seeds' width---approximately 1 inch deep for most varieties.
Mist the surface of the soil with water, then place the pot inside a plastic bag. Put the pots in a warm room until they germinate, approximately seven days after sowing.
Remove the bag and place the seedlings in a sunny window. Water as necessary to keep the soil moist but not soggy.
Prepare a garden bed in full sun once all danger of frost has passed. Choose a bed that is well draining and not prone to standing water after irrigation or rainfall. Work a 2-inch layer of compost into the soil to aid drainage and add nutrition to the bed.
Pull the soil up with a hoe to form 6- to 8-inch-high hills in the bed. Make each hill 50 to 100 square feet wide. Plant one vining pumpkin plant per hill or two bush pumpkins per hill. Plant the pumpkins so the rim of the peat pot is ½ inch beneath the soil surface and water thoroughly after planting.
Weed the beds regularly, pulling out young weeds and hoeing the soil between the plants weekly so weed seeds cannot germinate. Lay a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch around the plants to prevent weed growth and retain soil moisture.
Water pumpkins as necessary to keep the soil moist but not soggy, providing about 1 inch of water a week. Pumpkins do not require additional irrigation if natural rainfall provides 1 inch of water to the beds.
Harvest pumpkins when firm and the fruits are at their full color. Cut the pumpkin from the vine with a sharp knife, harvesting all pumpkins before the first fall frost.