Pumpkins are magnificent fall vegetables that are fun to grow and delicious to eat. While they are a good source of vitamin A and fiber, many gardeners grow them for their decorative value – they come in a variety of colors, shapes, textures, and sizes to add interest to any garden they thrive in.
When it comes to growing conditions, pumpkins do well in warm weather. For the most part, this means they can thrive in Mississippi, but only when planted at the right time. So, when should gardeners in Mississippi plant pumpkins?
Pumpkins usually require a soil temperature of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate. This means you will have to wait until the soil has warmed up, which can be as early as April in South Mississippi and May in the northern parts of Mississippi. The Mississippi hot, longer summers provide suitable conditions for pumpkins to thrive. Read to find more on when to plant pumpkins in Mississippi.
When is the best time to plant pumpkins in Mississippi?
Growing pumpkins, whether for decorations or pies, can be a fulfilling experience. However, because sunlight hours and temperature play a key role in how well pumpkins thrive in any given region, it is important to understand the USDA growing zone you are in so you can figure out the right time to put your pumpkin seeds in the soil.
For gardeners in Mississippi, this state is located in zones 7b through 9a, which offer ideal growing conditions for many plants, veggies, and shrubs. Pumpkins can as well flourish in this state, offering a fun way for new gardeners to get their hands into gardening. Unlike most vegetables, they grow well in the summer heat.
Importantly, pumpkin seeds need a soil temperature of 70°F or more to germinate. This means gardeners need to wait until mid-spring before they can plant. The best time to plant pumpkin in Mississippi is from April through the third week of July, depending on your planting zone and the variety you want to grow.
Different varieties of pumpkins have varying requirements, but most of them grow best in daytime temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit and night temperatures not below 61 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another way to know the best time to plant your pumpkins is by considering the time you want to harvest. Some varieties mature in 85 days, while others do not mature until they are 120 days or more. To know when it is best to put the seeds in the soil, count about 120 days before the time you want to harvest.
Else, if your impatience doesn’t allow you to wait until May, you can start your pumpkins indoors in April and wait to transplant them later in late spring.
Do pumpkins grow well in Mississippi?
Most pumpkin varieties do need full sun to grow, and studies show that more sun yields more and bigger pumpkins. At a minimum, pumpkin plants should be planted in spots where they receive at least 6 hours of direct, unfiltered sun a day.
With that in mind, it is safe to say that Mississippi’s humid subtropical climate, characterized by hot, long summer and short winters, provides ideal conditions for pumpkins to thrive and yield bountiful produce. For gardeners considering growing pumpkins in Mississippi, it is worth noting that pumpkins are very frost-sensitive.
To help your pumpkin plants thrive and produce the best yields, make sure the planting sites meet all growing requirements.
Pumpkins can grow on any soil with excellent drainage but will grow best on sandy soils with pH between 6.0 and 6.8. They are big, greedy feeders and will appreciate organic or artificial fertilizer and an area of about 50 to 100 square feet to sprawl. When applying fertilizer, keep in mind that overfertilizing pumpkins results in excessive vegetative growth that can potentially delay yields.
When to plant pumpkins in Mississippi: Conclusion
Usually sown directly into the soil, pumpkins are one of the few vegetables that withstand the summer heat. In fact, they grow well when the temperatures are at least 70°F, but not anything above 85°F.
In Mississippi, where summer temperatures are moderate to high, gardeners can utilize the prolonged growing season to grow pumpkins. You can plant anywhere from mid-spring to summer as long as your pumpkins will mature before the first frost.
Related Article: A Guide to Pumpkin Growth Stages