Most people want to plant pumpkins in order for them to be ready by the time Halloween rolls around on October 31. If you have the space and time, planting your own pumpkins can be fun, and harvesting your own to make jack-o-lanterns and fall pumpkin pie is a truly unique autumn experience! Since pumpkins can rot easily if left in the soil for too long once ripened, it is important that you get your timing right in order for your pumpkins to be ready for the Halloween season.
The right time to plant pumpkins depends primarily on the climate that you are planting in. Pumpkin seeds will not germinate in cold soil, and if it is too cold your crop will fail. For this reason it is very important to wait until the risk of a frost occurring is over before planting your pumpkin seeds.
Once the days have consistently been in a temperature of the low 70's, the risk of frost has passed, and the spring rains have subsided, you can plant your pumpkins. This can be from late May in northern climates to early July in more southern ones. In general the best time to plant is sometime in June. In any climate, pumpkins take 110 to 140 days to grow once planted.
Pumpkins also need a lot of sun, so the growing time depends on how many sunny days occur as they grow. You will know your pumpkins are ready to be harvested when they are a deep, solid orange color. If your pumpkin crop is ready before Halloween, you can store you pumpkins in a moderately warm and dry place indoors. Or, get started carving them into jack-o-lanterns so they are ready for the trick-or-treaters when they arrive on Halloween night!