Pumpkin Seeds - Common issues
Welcome to our comprehensive guide on troubleshooting common growing and germination issues with pumpkin seeds. We will help you identify common issues with seed germination as well as tips on how to grow productive vines with higher yields.
We are committed to continuously improving our resource pages based on valuable customer feedback and inquiries. By analyzing common trends, we will regularly update these sections with new information, ensuring that we address the challenges our customers may face growing their seeds.
My seeds haven't sprouted (indoor starts)
Is your soil warm enough?
Germination mats under our seed start trays. Use these for chilis, pumpkins, winter and summer squash, strawberries, cucumbers,
melons, and other warm-weather plants.
When starting seeds indoors, it's crucial to ensure that pumpkin seeds are planted in warm soil. Even if your home feels warm, it's important to note that 'room temperature' wet soil can be significantly cooler, ranging from 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the actual temperature of your home.
Pumpkins thrive in warm conditions, and for successful germination, it is necessary to directly sow the seeds when the soil reaches a minimum temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. When starting pumpkin seeds indoors, it is recommended to utilize a heat or germination mat to simulate summer-like conditions and stimulate seed growth. Failure to provide adequate warmth can result in seed rotting due to excessively cool soil."
We have frequently observed a common pattern while assisting individuals facing germination issues, which involves the absence of a germination mat. To address this concern, we highly recommend the use of germination mats as a part of our instructions.
Why are my stems so long?
Are your plants getting enough light?
To optimize the growth of pumpkin seeds indoors, it is crucial to position your lights approximately 1-2 inches above the seedlings. This ensures that the seedlings receive a light intensity that closely mimics natural sunlight. If the stems of the seedlings become excessively elongated, it indicates insufficient light exposure. This stretching behavior is similar to how a giraffe would extend its neck to reach leaves on a tree. Moreover, if you choose to grow seedlings near a window, be cautious, as this can also result in leggy seedlings, particularly if the window does not receive full sun throughout the day.
Very long stems are a good indication that your seedlings aren't getting enough light. You can raise your tray closer to the light
by placing something under it, or lowering your light closer to your seedlings if you have the ability to do so.
In this image, you can see how all the containers are full of saturated coco coir. The coir cannot absorb any more water and so excess water is still on the bottom of the tray. This needs to be drained. Failure to do so can result in little to no germination and rotting seeds.
My seedlings stopped growing
Are you feeding them? Are they overwatered?
When seeds begin to germinate, the first two leaves that emerge are called cotyledons, which initially serve to absorb light. However, it is the subsequent leaf, known as the 'true leaf,' that indicates the plant's proper development stage.
At this point, it is recommended to start providing your pumpkin seedlings with a diluted fertilizer to support their growth. Without nutrients, your seedling's growth may be stunted.
It's important to note that stunted growth can also occur due to inadequate drainage in containers or if bottom watering leads to stagnant water in the tray. In such cases, the soil becomes compacted, hindering root expansion.
My stem rotted and broke
Do you have algae growing on top of your soil?
Compacted soil can restrict airflow, leading to certain issues in plant growth. When soil is compacted, it becomes dense and lacks adequate pore spaces for air movement. This can impede oxygen exchange between the soil and the roots, affecting plant health.
One potential consequence of poor airflow and excessive moisture is the growth of algae on the soil surface. Algae thrive in damp, stagnant conditions and can develop a greenish or slimy layer on top of the soil. If the algae come into contact with plant stems, it can create a favorable environment for rotting and can potentially harm or kill the seedlings.
To prevent these issues, it is indeed beneficial to ensure loose soil and promote airflow around the plants. Here are a few measures you can take:
1. Loosening the soil: Prior to planting, work on loosening the soil by tilling or digging. This helps create air pockets and improves drainage.
2. Adding organic matter: Incorporating compost or other organic matter into the soil can enhance its structure and drainage properties, reducing compaction.
3. Avoiding overwatering: Excessive watering can contribute to compacted soil and increase the risk of algae formation. Water plants appropriately, allowing the top layer of soil to dry out slightly between watering sessions.
Algae on soil can be caused by over watering, compacted soil, or a combination of the two. You can scrape off the algae, or put a fan on the seedlings to keep the top layer dry while the roots drink water from below.
4. Bottom watering: Instead of watering from above, consider bottom watering. This involves placing the pots or containers in a tray of water and allowing the plants to soak up moisture through the drainage holes. This method helps prevent excess moisture on the soil surface.
5. Using a fan: Set up a gentle fan in the growing area to promote air circulation. This can help dry out the soil surface and discourage the growth of algae.
By implementing these practices, you can create a healthier environment for your seedlings and minimize the risk of rot or other fungal issues caused by compacted soil and excessive moisture.
My Pumpkin Vine Is Only Growing Male Flowers / No flowers
Did your vine recently start producing flowers? Is it short still?
We frequently encounter a common concern raised by customers regarding their pumpkin vines: they observe vigorous growth of the vines and abundant flowers, but no pumpkins. It is essential to understand that this situation is entirely normal. Pumpkin and squash plants typically generate a substantial number of male flowers before any female flowers appear.
To differentiate between male and female flowers, locate the smaller version of the pumpkins or squash you are cultivating beneath the base of the yellow female flower. Female flowers tend to be situated closer to the end of the vine.
However, if your vine fails to produce flowers or produces only a few, it may indicate a potential issue with the soil's potassium levels or the excessive use of nitrogen-rich fertilizers. Nitrogen primarily stimulates leaf and foliage growth, whereas potassium plays a crucial role in promoting bloom and fruit development.
We strongly recommend using naturally balanced fertilizers, such as manure, compost, veggie scraps, bonemeal, fish emulsion, or potash, to encourage harmonious growth of both foliage and blooms. These organic options provide a balanced nutrient profile, supporting the overall health and productivity of your pumpkin vines.
In the example above, you can see the male flower has a simple stem that meets the base of the flower. The female has a small baby fruit underneath the bloom.
Pumpkin and squash plants will produce a significant amount of male flowers prior to any female flowers. Female flowers will appear towards the end of the vine.