Now that autumn has arrived, it is not too late to start planting seeds for an autumn harvest, at least for the hardy crops that can be stored for the colder months. Squashes and pumpkins are two of the best stowaway crops for autumn gardening. They have an exceptionally long storage life, often surviving till spring, and they offer substantial nutrition.
1. Growing Fundamentals
The best time to plant seeds for giant pumpkins suitable for carving jack-o’-lanterns is in June, after the danger of frost has passed but while there is still a good deal of warm weather left. While many people associate pumpkins and squash with the cooler months of the year, these vegetables are really highly frost sensitive and do best when the temperature is in between 50 and 90 degrees. This is not one of the crops (like spinach or kale) that gets better after a hard frost in the fall. That’s right; the game is done.
In order for pumpkins and squashes to reach maturity, it takes about 75-125 days. Late summer planting calls for fast-maturing squash and, perhaps, small pumpkins. As could be expected, the general rule is that larger pumpkins require more time to mature. It’s too late to sow winter squash and pumpkins in most of the United States in September.