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How to Grow Pumpkin Seeds With Water, Salt Water or Sugar Water

Pumpkin Patch image by Jennifer Nickert from

Pumpkins are colorful summer and fall season vegetables, and can grow to be over 30 lbs. if they're left on the vine long enough. Some giant pumpkin varieties grow over 500 lbs. These large gourds require 110 to 140 days of frost-free growing, and have one of the longest growing seasons of the summer vegetable garden. To start pumpkins early and give the vines the time they need to mature, gardeners in cool regions start the plants early and indoors. When you're starting indoors, one of the best ways to do it is with pumpkin seeds, water and seed starter soil.

Put your pumpkin seeds into a dish of pure water to determine their viability. Viable seeds will sink in the water, whereas seeds that are too old, rotten or nonviable will float. Discard all nonviable seeds so you're only planting seeds that will germinate. Use the nail file to file off all edges of the pumpkin seeds but their points, to encourage quick and easy germination.

Soak the seeds in lukewarm pure or sugar water for two to three hours before planting. Sugar water gives the seeds a boost of nutrition, while pure water is always helpful in gardening. Do not use saltwater, as this may damage or kill the seeds before they have a chance to germinate. Soaking softens the tough outer husk and makes it easier for the plant matter inside to break through during the germination process.

Fill seed starter pots with seed starter soil and plant the soaked pumpkin seeds 1 to 2 inches deep, with pointed ends down. Use a watering can to water each pot with 1 inch of water. Put the pots in an area where they'll receive consistent light and temperatures over 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and watch for pumpkin sprouting in seven to 10 days.

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