Have you ever thought about growing your own pumpkin for fall festivities? If yes, then knowing when to plant pumpkins in Kentucky should be your first order of business.
Whether in a pie recipe or on patios as Halloween décor, pumpkins are all the rage once the fall season starts. Fall is the time of year when the harvest season for these fruits and other members of the Cucurbita family begins.
In general, you can plant pumpkin seeds so long as there’s no threat of frost in your area, but if you are aiming for an autumn harvest, you can plant pumpkins in KY in late spring up to early summer, from May 15 up to June 15, depending on the time it takes for your chosen variety to mature.
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Best Time to Plant Pumpkins in Kentucky
Pumpkins are warm season crops that grow best when ground temperatures are above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. They should be planted about two weeks after the last frost and harvested before the first frost sets in.
Most cities in Kentucky are in hardiness zones 6a and 6b, while some regions in the southwestern portion like Calloway and Graves are in zone 7a. Here are some examples on how to estimate the planting dates for your specific city:
- In Frankfort, KY, the last frost is estimated to be on April 22. After a two-week wait, you can plant pumpkin seeds by May 06.
- In Jenkins, KY, May 05 is the predicted last frost date, so residents can plant their pumpkins by May 19.
If you prefer cultivars with a long growing season, you can start your pumpkin seeds indoors 2 to 4 weeks before the last frost. The seedlings can then be transferred outside when the temperatures are consistently above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pumpkin Planting Tips
- Pumpkins are heavy feeders, so you must make sure that your soil is fertile and well-draining.
- Avoid planting pumpkins in areas where you grew any of the Cucurbit family for the last 3 years. Since these plants are vulnerable to the same pests, it’s best to rotate their locations.
- Bees and other pollinators are critical to have high, good quality yield. Attract bees to your garden by growing flowers of different shapes and colors, forgoing pesticide usage, and building bee boxes.
- Water pumpkins thoroughly, especially during the flowering and fruiting stage to ensure abundant yields and prevent heat stress.
Frequently Asked Questions
How late can you plant a pumpkin?
It is ideal to get the seeds in the ground by mid-June to give the plant plenty of time for growth. Planting in July or in August might cause flowers to die due to the summer heat or lack of available pollinators like bees and other insects.
Another thing to note is that when planted late, the fruits might not be fully grown yet before the first frost occurs.
How long does pumpkin take to grow?
Depending on the variety and weather conditions, pumpkins typically take 80 to 120 days to mature and be ready for harvest. Here are some popular cultivars along with their maturity days:
- Autumn Gold pumpkin – 90 days to harvest
- Baby Bear pumpkin – 105 days to harvest
- Baby Pam pumpkin – 105 days to harvest
- Kentucky field pumpkin – 110 days to harvest
- Big Max pumpkin – 125 days to harvest
What month is the best time to plant pumpkins for Halloween?
If you want to use homegrown pumpkins for fall celebrations, you should aim to harvest them from mid up to the end of September. To have the pumpkins ready by then, the seeds need to be in the soil around mid-May up to mid-June. Avoid planting too early as the pumpkins might rot before Halloween.
To have the best estimate on when to plant your pumpkin seeds, check the time it takes for your preferred variety to be ready for harvest.
Pumpkins are incredible vegetables that are loaded with nutrients, and growing your own makes them even better. You just have to know when to plant pumpkins in Kentucky, and you’re all set to having your very own pumpkin patch.
Hopefully, our guideline helped you in this area. Should you have any more questions, just leave a comment.
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