The Best Way to Start a Giant Pumpkin Seed

The how and why to start giant pumpkin seeds

 

Why you need to start your giant pumpkin seeds the correct way

You want to give your giant pumpkin seed the best possible start, this will give you a higher chance of germination being successful and give you a great start to you growing season. While some people might put the seeds in directly into the ground outside, I highly advise not to do this for the following reasons:

  1. Soil outside can have microscopic pathogens that can harm your seed.
  2. Your plant could grow completely in the wrong direction, causing more headaches later in the growing season.

Starting your giant pumpkin seeds isn’t hard to do. I’ll show you the best way to do it and the items you will need.

What you will need

  • Giant Pumpkin Seeds
  • Nail File or Sandpaper
  • Paper Towel
  • Plastic Zip Lock Bag
  • Marker Peg
  • Marker Pen
  • Cup of Warm Water
  • Seed Raising Mix
  • A pot

Giant Pumpkin Seed If you want to grow a giant, make sure you get giant pumpkin seeds, more info on this page on where to source giant pumpkin seeds from.

Nail File or Sandpaper I like using nail files (emery boards) you can pick up a whole pack for $2 which is great if you have a lot of seeds to prepare, ideal if you have children helping you.

Paper Towel This can be any brand

Plastic Zip Lock Type Bag I find the sandwich sized bags work well.

Marker Peg Recycle ice block sticks, make them out of icecream container lids, or buy some.

Marker Pen Something like a sharpie is ideal to mark everything with

Seed Raising Mix Seed raising mix has everything your seed will need at this early stage and should be used instead of soil from out of your garden or pumpkin patch.

A pot Plastic or peat are your two options here.  I prefer plastic pots as they can be reused.  For size I like a pot that is around 1.3 litres,

Method of Starting Giant Pumpkin Seeds

Step 1. Name Everything

To help you keep track especially if you are starting more than one seed mark the seed and bag with a permanent marker, also mark the plant marker to go into the pot later on.

If you are worried about animals, kids or something else removing the plant marker peg make sure you label the pot as well.  Putting a piece of tape down the side and writing on that allows you to easily remove the writing so you can reuse and avoid confusions at a later date.

Step 2. File the edges of the seed

I find cheap nail files are an ideal tool to sand the edges of the pumpkin seed.  It can take a little longer than sandpaper, but I find it a gentler approach.  You want to file the edges of the seed all the way around, taking care NOT TO FILE THE TIP of the seed.

Step 3. Place seed in the paper and then into the bag

Fold the paper towel in half and half again, place the paper towel into the glass of warm water. Remove towel from the glass and make sure to squeeze all of the water out of it, you want a damp paper towel. Carefully unfold the paper towel once and place the seed in the middle and fold back up. Place the seed into the ziplock plastic bag, seal the bag up.

Placing this bag in an area that has some constant warmth helps with germination. An ideal location is on top of a hot water cylinder. Other locations that might work for you is the top of a fridge, or a window sill that gets sun, the key is anywhere there is consistent warmth.

More experienced growers of giant pumpkins will be using heat mats to achieve this. Germination of the seed usually occurs between3 – 7 days, but it may take longer depending on various factors, don’t give up on the seed if it take longer than this.

Step 4. Check germination

When they have germinated you will notice they have swollen up a little, and the pointed end has popped open with a small root visible. Once this occurs, it is time to put them into either the soil or into seed raising mix and into some pots.

Step 5. Place into a pot

You’ll now need to place your seed into a pot that is full of seed raising mix.  Planting the seed 1 inch (25mm) below the surface is enough.  Some people plant with the pointy side down, or plant them flat.  I’ve tried both and not noticed much difference.  If you are growing multiple seeds experiment and see what works best for you.

Pre Soaking Giant Pumpkin Seeds

An optional step many growers do

Many growers will soak their seeds in warm water from anywhere from 4 to 6 hours after they have filed the edges and before putting it in the ziplock bag. They may also add to the water some form of fertiliser, Humis or Fish/Seaweed, or a mixture of other products. I’ve done this in the past, but to be honest I’ve not noticed much difference in germination times so am only mentioning this as a optional extra. I’ve had very few failures in germination by following the simple seed starting plan outlined above so decided to remove this step and just mention it as an optional extra.

How Long to Keep Seedling in the Pot

You want to keep your seedling in the pot until the first true leaf appears.  This is the third leaf that appears.  This is important as the pumpkin plants vine will grow opposite this, which allows you to place the seedling the correct way around in your pumpkin patch.

254.5kg (561lb) Harris seedling growing

Growers want to get the seedlings into the patch as soon as possible, but will need early season protection to make sure they don’t get killed by weather or animals.