Transplanting your SeedlingMoving your Seedling from a Pot out into the Patch
Transplanting is when you take your seedling in a pot and transplant it out into your pumpkin patch. It is a key part of any plant started indoors and then transplanted outside.
When to Transplant?
There are 2 factors to consider when to transplant your giant pumpkin seedling.
- Weather conditions
- Age of seedling
You ideally don’t want any frosts occurring during this period. You may need to hold off until the weather starts to warm up.
If you are in an area that is still very cold, you might need to look into early protection for your seedling. More on that below.
Wind could also be a concern early on in a seedling’s life.
Age of Seedling
You want your seedling to have the first true leaf. This allows you you to place the seedling into the soil facing in the correct direction.
Remember the vine grows opposite this first true leaf.
Reduce the Shock of Transplanting
Care should be taken to not shock the plant at this stage.
Shock to plants can occur from rough handling or more commonly a drastic change in temperature.
This shock can stunt your plants growth, or in the worst case scenario kill the plant. Cutting your season short forcing you to try and catch up. (this is why backups are important)
Harden those Plants Up
Hardening off plants is a technique used by growers all over the world no matter what they are growing. The goal is to get the plants used to the outside environment to help reduce shock.
They need to get used to being outside after being started inside.
Hardening Off Benefits
- Seedlings will get used to the range of temperatures outside.
- Seedlings will get used to moisture loss, air movement and direct sunlight.
- Less shock, plants start growing faster.
Hardening Off Process
This process usually occurs over the space of around 7 days.
Take your seedlings and place them outside in a sheltered shady location. The first time leave them outside for around 3 hours.
Every day slowly increase this length of time outside by a couple of hours.
After 2 – 3 days move your seedlings out into sunlight, and move them back into shade in the afternoon.
Remember to bring them in each night.
Around 7 days your seedling should be more accustomed to the outside environment and be ready to be transplanted out into your pumpkin patch. If possible transplanting on a cloudy day is ideal.
Mounds for Seedlings
Creating mounds where you intend to transplant your seedling can be beneficial at this early stage.
A mound of 300mm (12 inches) sloping down on a gentle angle will help with water run off, allow the soil to warm more and help keep the seedling up above ground level which could still get some cooler temperatures.
Dig a hole that is as wide and as deep as the pot your seedling is currently in.
If you are using products like Mycorrhizae fungi, you can mix this into the hole you have created.
Carefully remove the seedling from the pot and orientate it into the hole for correct vine direction.
Fill around the seedling with soil and water the base of the plant. You want the soil damp not soaking.
Your seedling will start putting down roots and establishing itself in it’s new home. After this it will start it’s vine growth.
If growing more than one plant, or maybe planting backups spacing of your seedlings is important.
A gap of between 4 – 5 meters should be adequate for most people.
You could also grow two plants back to back with the vines growing away from each other.
Your seedling will still be fragile out in the pumpkin patch. And may require additional protection from cold nights and wind.
A cloche, greenhouse or some type of structure will need to be put over your seedling to help it during this period.
The biggest consideration will be making sure you are able to provide ventilation to this structure if the temperature rises.
Otherwise your plant may get cooked.
Planning ahead and monitoring weather forecasts is vital during this period.
If you have no cloche, cold frame etc over your pumpkin and an unexpected drop in temperature is expected overnight I have used a large cardboard box over my seedling to provide some cover.
Make sure to anchor it well, and remove it in the morning.