Giant Pumpkin Seed Starting Guide

How to get giant pumpkin seeds started

Giant pumpkin seeds can be just chucked in the ground BUT if you want the best possible chance of germination AND not let the way the plant and vines grow left to chance then you need to give them a helping hand and start them growing in a pot.

On this page, I will show you what you need and how to get your giant pumpkin seeds off the best start.

What you need

  • Some giant pumpkin seeds
  • Nail file, or fine grit sandpaper
  • A paper towel
  • Plastic zip lock type bag
  • Seed raising mix
  • Some sort of pot

How to start your giant pumpkin seed.

First, you need to file the edge of the seed, this is to allow the moisture to enter the seed easily and kick start the growing process.  Also, it reduces the amount of energy needed to remove the seed casing allowing the plant to focus more on growing.

Either hold the seed in one hand a gently use a nail file to file the edge of the seeds, alternatively, you can use some fine sandpaper and gently rub the seed against that until your seed looks similar to the image below.

BE CAREFUL to not damage the pointed end of the seed, this is where the roots grow from, DO NOT SAND/FILE at all.

This is what the edges of your seed should look like
Filed Seed
And if you were wondering what a seed looks like completely open, well I took a photo of that too.
Inside a Seed

Seed Soaking

Once the seeds have been filed, most growers will soak them in warm water mixed with a variety of products which could include:

  • Humic Fertiliser
  • Fish/Seaweed Fertiliser
  • Other fertilisers

All of this is give the seed a kick start into growing, and to help put out strong roots straight away.

Soaking time can vary from 1 – 8 hours usually and is totally up to you.  I forgot about them one year and left them soaking for around 14 hours with no apparent harm to the seeds.  I use a beetroot container for my seed soaking as it allows me to pull the seeds out easily.

Beetroot Container

Once you have filed your seeds and or soaked them you place them inside a folded wet paper towel, put them into the plastic bag and then put them somewhere warm.  A hot water cylinder works well, you can use a heating pad, or in a pinch, you can have them on a sunny windowsill.  Consistent warmth is best.

Seeds should start germinating within 2 – 7 days.  When they have germinated you will notice they have swollen up a little, and the pointed end has popped open with a small root appearing from the end.  Once this occurs, it is time to put them into either the soil or into seed raising mix and into some pots.

Germination Started

Plant growing from seed

Growth from a seed starting
As you can see from the above pictures it is important to get the seed into the growing medium at the right time, so make sure to check up on them daily. I’ve let these ones go longer than normal just to show you the amazing growth that can occur before getting them into soil or growing medium.

Peat Pot
A peat pot

Use a pot

You can use peat pots or plastic pots, and after trying both of them out in different seasons I prefer the plastic pots.  The peat pots like being kept moist all the time, seemed to dry out really quickly but have the benefit of being planted straight into the ground, which makes them an expensive option as you can’t reuse them.

Fill the pots you are using with seed raising mix plus any other amendments you may be wanting to add like mycorrhizae and plant your seed with the pointy side down, they will only need to be planted just enough so they are covered by the soil.

Seeds all potted, waiting for them to appear.

Seeds all potted and waiting for them to grow

When placing your seeds somewhere, make sure they aren’t easy for mice or rats to get at, they love to dig up and eat the seeds.

Seeds like having a constant temperature, so if you aren’t going all out and making a heated box to put them into, try and find somewhere with a nice constant heat.  After a while, your seedlings should pop out of the ground.

PA221435

Giant pumpkin seedling

You want to keep them in the pot until you have your first true leaf on your seedling, this will be the middle leaf.

254.5kg (561lb) Harris seedling growing

This is important to giant pumpkin growers as the vine of the plant will grow opposite this first true leaf, allowing to orientate it the correct way in the patch.

Leaving it in the pot too long can make the seedling root bound and its energy can be wasted.  So getting it out in the patch in a timely fashion is advised.

The seedling and it’s leaves