Pumpkins, members of the Cucurbitaceae family, are widely recognized as a symbol of autumn, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Ranging in size from less than 1 lb. pound to more than 500 lbs., pumpkins are used for anything from crafts and decorations to soups and pies. As tender annuals, pumpkins must be planted later in the growing season in order to germinate properly. Harvest typically begins in mid-to-late September and continues through early October. When you're ready to plant, there are many different sources for pumpkin seeds.
Harvesting Pumpkin Seed
Seeds can be harvested from ripened pumpkins. Choose the type of pumpkin that you wish to grow, cut it open and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Pull away most of the stringy portion of the pulp, then rinse the seeds in a colander to remove remaining pulp. Pat the seeds dry, then place them on a cookie sheet or paper towels to dry for at least 24 hours. Dried seeds can be stored in a cool, dark location in plastic or paper bags until planting.
Pumpkin Seed Auctions
Pumpkin seed auctions are an excellent resource for obtaining seeds of award-winning pumpkin varieties. You can find a variety of auctions online, listed in local newspapers, gardening publications or through local or state Pumpkin Growers Association offices.
Pumpkin festivals, held every fall around the country, are a terrific resource for buying seeds for your own pumpkin patch. Growers display their prize-winning fruits and sell or exchange seeds with other pumpkin aficionados. You can find listings for festivals in your area in local newspapers and magazines or online, through websites such as PumpkinPatches.com and More.org.
Pumpkin Seed Retailers
Pumpkin seeds are readily available anywhere seeds are sold, and are usually available starting in late winter or early spring. You can also buy seeds from online seed retailers that may offer a wider selection of hybrid and heirloom pumpkin seeds.
Pumpkin Seed Exchanges
Gardening clubs and online gardening forums offer seed exchanges, where members can trade different varieties of seeds at little to no cost.