When to plant pumpkin seeds in southern California?

Before planting pumpkin seeds, ensure that they were stored very well to increase the germination percentage. Most seeds require hot water treatments before planting. If you live in southern California, you need to time your pumpkin harvest to the Halloween festival. That is the primary objective of any pumpkin farmer around southern California.
California is generally a warm area or region. Pumpkins require a minimum temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit to fruit very well depending on the variety in question. Temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit decreases the fruiting and growth of the pumpkin plant. If the temperature is right, pumpkins grow much faster. This is why most of the pumpkins for Halloween are grown in southern California.

The best time to plant

Around the end of May, is the right time to grow a pumpkin in southern California. This is the month when the climate is warm. Alternatively, if you want to time your pumpkin for the Thanksgiving and Halloween festival. Then you might consider planting the seeds indoors first, then transplanting it in May outdoors. This will not only increase the chances of survival of the seeds but will ensure that your pumpkin is harvested on time for the

Halloween festival

If you plant late, around July, you should opt for smaller varieties that mature much faster. This will increase the chances of your pumpkin ripening in October, right before the Halloween festival. When transplanting, choose healthy plants to harvest big pumpkins that can be carved during the big day.

How to plant

When preparing a seedbed, you should take into consideration the depth and the spacing. The depth of planting the seeds should be 1 inch. This is critical for the shoot to sprout without being blocked by the soil. The spacing should be 6 feet apart. Since pumpkins grow with vines, the spacing will reduce overshadowing and intertwining.
The number of seeds per hole should be 3 or 4, to increase the chances of germination. Once the seeds have sprouted, then you should thin out 2 of the seedlings. Only leave two strong seedlings to grow. Do proper fertilization to increase the size of the pumpkin head. A more massive head means more money for you. Since the pumpkin head will be carved into different shapes during Halloween, a giant pumpkin will be needed.
Best Pumpkin varieties for the hot summer
Some types are capable of withstanding the hot summer, being experienced in most of California. This can be attributed to global warming.

The varieties include;

  • Cucurbitamorshata – this is one of the types that can tolerate extreme heat. Even after planting in late May and harvesting in late August. They can still be cured and stored until the Halloween festival kicks off.
  • Cucurbita maxima – though they are less heat tolerant than the morshata variety, they do well in warm areas of southern California. They can be stored for long after the curing process.


In southern California, the best month to plant pumpkins is towards the end of May. This is when the temperature is in the optimal range of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature exceeds, you can opt for heat tolerant pumpkin varieties mentioned above. This ensures that you time your pumpkin well for the Halloween festival.




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