User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27912
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- anyone?

I'm doing a little experiment here https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 48&t=57487

As you can see, most of the peas and corn germinated in two days. But the winter squash and melon seeds are taking their own sweet time. ....and I found a reference that says pumpkin seeds won't sprout when soaked and drained like this. :?

Has anyone pre-germinated/pre-sprouted pumpkin and squash seeds (and other cucurbits) before sowing them? Maybe using the damp paper towel method?
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Bobberman
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2437
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:31 am
Location: Latrobe Pa.

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

Don't know what this means! I had a 15 pound punkin that I left in my greenhouse all winter that was exposed to mostly 40 and above with a few days below 30. It became like mush and I threw it into my cold frame for compost 3 weeks ago. I covered it with dirt and planted peas. Now there are dozens of pumpkins coming up. I thought the seeds were bad.
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

tomc
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

They grew fine for me in cells or flats. They didn't transplant for me worth a darn.

I'm a slow learner, but if I hit myself in the head enough times, it'll sink in...
Think like a tree
© 2016 Invisable Inc.

User avatar
SPierce
Greener Thumb
Posts: 732
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:57 pm
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

I do both, usually through the moist paper towel in a Baggie method. Pumpkins don't seem to do well in my yard, whether per sprouted or no, so that doesn't really work here... They don't flower early enough in the season, or grow big enough, to be able to give me anything. My squashes seem to do better pre sprouted, and grow more hardy when started inside vs me just planting them in the ground. It seems to be kinda universal over the last few years I've gardened.

User avatar
McKinney88
Senior Member
Posts: 151
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:03 pm
Location: Memphis, TN (Zone 7)

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

I have always had mediocre success with growing squash and no luck with pumpkins. This year my dad finally decided to tell me he usually soaks most seeds in water overnight before planting them in the ground. I was like why have you never told me this!!! So this year I soaked my squash seed in water for a couple hours before I planted it (in a small hill). I have yet to plant my pumpkins so I am curious to see how this works out for you.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27912
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

They started germinating after three days (of rinse and drain three times a day) in a warm spot above the shop lights and on the counter above the dishwasher. 4th day (today) many were going bonkers. :()
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
feldon30
Senior Member
Posts: 209
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:42 am
Location: Rock Hill, SC
Contact: Website

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

tomc wrote:They grew fine for me in cells or flats. They didn't transplant for me worth a darn.
Cucurbits really really hate being transplanted, but I have poor results with direct sowing outside. For my cukes and melons, I carefully pop out the transplant without disturbing the roots and put it in the ground by just clearing a hole and then shoring up the surrounding soil to match the transplant height.

I normally hate peat pots, but melons and cukes are probably a good exception for them because once your seeds are started (48 hours or so), you can just cut off the peat netting (which doesn't break down like they advertise!) and put them in the ground with a minimum of jostling.
The Unconventional Tomato -- Comprehensive Seed Starting Guide, Garden Photos, and more!

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27912
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

Yep. Comments so far reflect what I've heard before. What size pot do you start the transplants in?
I sowed/planted the germinated seeds one to a container in 16 oz and 22 oz cottage cheese type containers (with drainage holes). The melon seeds in 4" square pots. I have them outside in the sun on the patio table with a black trash bag over them right now, so they should be nice and toasty (but hopefully not too much -- it's a teak table with slats so they shouldn't get overheated -- I heard over 95° could kill pumpkin seeds)


This will be my first time trying to grow cucurbit starts. I've tried starting them early in bottomless 1/2 gal nursery containers before. I sowed 5-6 seeds along the perimeter. If I remember correctly, I slipped the bottomless one inside another unmodified pot, then put the cut off bottom on top of the surface until germination. I thinned to three healthy seedlings, then grew them outside on the brick patio and other protected locations, bringing them inside if necessary, until 2nd pair of true leaves. Then I buried the entire bottomless pot on prepared, mounded hills. This worked well.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
McKinney88
Senior Member
Posts: 151
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:03 pm
Location: Memphis, TN (Zone 7)

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

I just looked at my "Garden-Guide" app on my phone and it says the soil temperature for germination needs to be 70-80 degrees F and should take 3 - 5 days. I wondering now if my soil is to cold for my seeds to sprout. I need to get a soil thermometer apparently. When my giant pumpkin seed comes in I may try and start it indoors if the ones I planted do not sprout, its been almost two weeks.

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

FWIW I always plant the pumpkin seed directly in the garden after the soil warms up and danger of frost is past. It has always came up and done well.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
feldon30
Senior Member
Posts: 209
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:42 am
Location: Rock Hill, SC
Contact: Website

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

jal_ut wrote:FWIW I always plant the pumpkin seed directly in the garden after the soil warms up and danger of frost is past. It has always came up and done well.
Do you presoak? If so, for how long? Do you scarify the seed with sandpaper?
The Unconventional Tomato -- Comprehensive Seed Starting Guide, Garden Photos, and more!

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

I do not pre-soak nor scarify.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27912
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

James, you would be sowing pumpkins and squash AFTER you start irrigating right? Since you only irrigate once a week -- full soak for 12 hrs, do you sow them just before? Do you make intentional choice of when to sow these or any other seeds based on irrigation schedule (other than that you can't get in the fields right after?)

BTW this is what happens when you let pre-germinated seeds get away from you :roll:
image.jpg
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

James, you would be sowing pumpkins and squash AFTER you start irrigating right?
Actually, no. I plant pumpkins about the 5th of May, and we are not likely to get water in the irrigation pipes until after June 1. The soil in early May is likely still quite damp, depending on the rains we have had, but it needs to be dry enough it doesn't make mud balls before planting. There will still be plenty of moisture to germinate the seed. They get no irrigation until after they are up and growing. (I do not ever use our culinary water source for irrigation. We get our irrigation water via a canal then into a pipeline and have sprinkling pressure in the pipe. The water never gets in the canal before June. )

I put pumpkin seed about 1.5 inches deep and step on the area after planting to firm the soil and put the seed in good contact with the soil. This is an important step. If you fail to do this, the fluffy soil dries too quickly to the depth of the seed.

All types of squash are planted the same way. Cucumbers too, except that I only put cukes an inch deep.

https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/Plan ... anting.htm
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

OK, just for the heck of it, I just tossed ten pumpkin seeds into a cup of water. I will let them soak until tomorrow morning, then put them in damp paper towels and a plastic baggie and then on top of the fridge (a nice warm spot) for a couple of days to see if they will germinate. I will keep you posted.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27912
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

:D it'll be an interesting experiment to see what happens 8)

Those seeds looked like this in the morning. You can clearly see the squash roots starting to differentiate and the root hairs in the other one (can't tell if that's a Cherokee Long Ear popcorn I missed or a watermelon)
image.jpg
image.jpg
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

Update: This morning six of the ten seeds had a root protruding about 3/8 inch.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27912
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

What will you do with them now?
My last average frost was yesterday, so I sowed a couple of the germinated seeds in the warmest part of my garden and stuck a cut off milk jug over them. My other ones were sown in more or less pint-sized containers of potting mix. I've kept them upstairs (about 72°F) or on the heat mat at night, and taken them outside on sunny days to heat up in the sun, and they have been sprouting:
image.jpg
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

What will you do with them now?
I am going to leave them for another day to see if others are going to germinate too, (and I want a picture of them with good tails.) then I will plant them out in the garden. I have reserved an area for pumpkins this year.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
feldon30
Senior Member
Posts: 209
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:42 am
Location: Rock Hill, SC
Contact: Website

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

Just did an admittedly small scale test and started 12 watermelon seeds in seed starting mix. It was 6 seeds each of Moon & Stars and Orangeglo. For each variety, I scarified and soaked 4 of the seeds for an hour. The other 2 seeds got a 3 minute dip in water. All 6 seeds of each variety came up virtually at the same time (about 36 hours after planting).
The Unconventional Tomato -- Comprehensive Seed Starting Guide, Garden Photos, and more!

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27912
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

That's pretty good! Fresh -- packaged for 2014 -- seeds? Did you use a heating mat? Approx. what temp?

I'm getting miserable germination rate from my oldest watermelon seeds. I'm going to start another batch.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27912
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

I soaked for a couple of hours then drained and nicked with nail clippers a bunch of watermelon and melon seeds to put in the sprouter last night. I decided watermelon seeds may not have good viability so dumped the few that were left in the old packets together. If any of them germinate, it will be bonus. :D

BTW two of the previous batch of pre-germinated watermelons have sprouted in the pint size containers of potting mix. Two more are still sleeping.

Also soaked and drained a bunch of cucumber seeds.ALL OF THESE ARE SEEDS I NORMALLY SOW DRY SEEDS DIRECTLY IN THE GROUND but in the name of experimentation, I'll see what happens if they are pre-germinated first. :wink:
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

Image

Here ya go. Ten seeds started, ten seeds germinated. Who said you can't pre-sprout pumpkin seed?

I took them out in the garden and planted them.

Since I was planting, I also planted some other pumpkins and squash. Hope the weather cooperates. I usually don't plant squash until the 5th of May.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27912
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

100% germination -- Excellent! :D
Did you mark where you sowed the pre-germinated ones?
It will be interesting to see if there is a difference between these and the ones sowed dry. 8)
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
feldon30
Senior Member
Posts: 209
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:42 am
Location: Rock Hill, SC
Contact: Website

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

applestar wrote:That's pretty good! Fresh -- packaged for 2014 -- seeds? Did you use a heating mat? Approx. what temp?

I'm getting miserable germination rate from my oldest watermelon seeds. I'm going to start another batch.
2014 seeds. No heating mat. 72 degrees F.
The Unconventional Tomato -- Comprehensive Seed Starting Guide, Garden Photos, and more!

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

Did you mark where you sowed the pre-germinated ones?
Yes, I marked the spot.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

gardengirlbrooke
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat May 03, 2014 3:21 pm

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

thanks for all the germination tips I'm going to use my sprouter that I used to make alfalfa sprouts for sandwiches and see how that works out

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27912
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

Great! Report back and tell us how they did. :D

James, how are they doing? With mine, it looks like for the time being, the ones grown inside in containers and then transplanted are currently much further along than the two Pre-germinated seeds I planted in the ground.

Further progress of my winter squash are documented in this thread.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

Those pre-germinated pumpkin seeds came right up in three days. Wouldn't you know, we then had that 30 degree night and it damaged them a bit, but I think they are going to grow in spite of it.

I pre-germinated 75 watermelon seeds and planted them out two days ago. We will have to wait for a report on them. It is probably not warm enough here yet for germinating watermelon seeds in the ground, but I was hoping to get a head start for some early melons.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

Just a note about my sprouting method: I first soak the seeds overnight, then drain them. I then take damp paper towels and put the seed in them then into a plastic ziploc bag and then to the top of the refrigerator. (a nice warm spot) It only takes 3 days to get tails on the ones I have started.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
sheeshshe
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1254
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 12:17 am
Location: maine

Re: Pre-germinating/pre-sprouting pumpkins and squash -- any

This year I took my melon seeds and I put them in paper cups with soil. Then I wet the soil and placed them in a rubbermaid/sterlite type clear bin, with the lid on. Put it out in the sun. Most of them have come up quickly. I'm trying to get ahead of the cutworms this year! In hindsight, I should have started them a few weeks earlier than I did. :( Oh well!
Sheila, gardening on the zone 4b/5a line.

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”