Can you make money growing pumpkins? Absolutely.
With pumpkin-flavored everything making its way into the world every autumn, it’s safe to say that our love affair with this fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!) isn’t ending anytime soon.
These festive plants are not only fun to look at. They can also be excellent money makers. There’s a large market for pumpkins, and they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to grow, too.
Keep reading to learn about growing pumpkins for a profit.
A Little Bit About Pumpkins
A pumpkin is technically a type of squash. It’s in the same family as melons and cucumbers.
Pumpkins are native to North America, but they’re grown on every continent except Antarctica.
Most people know that the seeds and flesh of the pumpkin are edible, but so are the leaves! They’re often sauteed or eaten in soups or stews and can even be added to salads.
If you head to your local pumpkin patch, you’ll likely find a variety of pumpkins including miniature, white, giant, jack-o-’lantern and pie pumpkins.
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When added to your dinner plate, pumpkins contain a lot of incredible health benefits, including bolstering your immune system, keeping your vision sharp, keeping your skin glowy, and supporting your heart and metabolism.
Pros and Cons of Growing and Selling Pumpkins
Here are a few things to consider before beginning a pumpkin business:
- Pumpkins are an established part of autumn celebrations, so you’ll always have a market for them
- Because folks naturally gravitate toward pumpkin patches for fun, you don’t need to do too much marketing for your pumpkins
- Pumpkins are relatively easy and inexpensive to grow
- You’re growing something that brings people joy and becomes part of their traditions
- You need to care for your pumpkin patch all year long, even though the selling season is only a couple of months
- Depending on where you live, you may experience a lot of competition
- If you have issues with weather or problems with your crops, you’ll need to wait an entire year to have a chance at selling again
The Finances of Growing and Selling Pumpkins
As you consider growing and selling pumpkins, here are a few key pieces of information:
- The cost of growing pumpkins is relatively low. A bag of pumpkin seeds is about $10 (€9.82).
- You can typically charge between $0.79 – $.089 (€0.66 – €0.74) per pound for each pumpkin. Take a look at what other growers in your area are selling their pumpkins for to get an idea of pricing for your own crops.
- Although profits are highly variable, you can make about $30,000 (€24,936) from a small pumpkin farm.
- We recommend connecting with your local farm association to expand your business and form connections within your community.
- You can typically generate about $7,500 (€6,234) per acre of pumpkins. Again, this number will vary greatly depending on where you live, how much business you get, etc.
The Best Type of Pumpkins To Grow and Sell
When you’re first starting out, your best bet is to choose the types of pumpkins that are easiest to grow.
A few easy-to-grow and popular types are small sugar, jack-o-’lantern, autumn gold, Cinderella, and mammoth gold pumpkins.
If you have a little more experience with growing plants and would like to choose some particularly eye-catching varieties, we recommend warty goblin and specter pumpkins.
Whichever types of pumpkin you decide to grow, be sure that the classic jack-’o-lantern pumpkin is still one of them, since that’s what most people want.
Marketing and Selling Your Pumpkins
Even though pumpkins are in high demand in the fall, you’ll also be competing with many other pumpkin growers, so you need to be strategic about marketing and selling your plants.
If you’ve created a pumpkin patch from which you’ll be selling your pumpkins, it’s a great idea to line the road leading up to your patch with signs advertising it.
Choose a location for your pumpkin patch that’s right off the roadside if possible. The more folks have to drive to reach your location, the less likely they are to go to it.
If you have a large social media following, be sure to advertise your pumpkins online and to ask people to spread the word about your business.
If you don’t have a great location from which to sell your pumpkins, you can try selling them at your local farmer’s market.
Bear in mind that you’ll need to obtain a permit and work with your local market to set up your stand.
Or, you can try selling your pumpkins to a buyer in bulk. Bulk buyers will often come to your farm to pick up a large amount of pumpkins and deliver them to various stores.
Adding Value to Your Pumpkin Patch
Of course, if you’ve been to a pumpkin patch recently, you know that most patches are more than just plants to pick.
A popular pumpkin patch may have corn mazes, hay rides, apple cider and more. If you’re able to include any of these value-adds on your land, you may see your profits skyrocket.
But you’ll want to be mindful of how many activities you invest in, especially when you’re just starting out. So choose one or two and see how they do before expanding.
You may also want to grow other crops that are popular in the fall, such as corn and other types of squash, to add to your profits.
Is Pumpkin Growing Right for Me?
Now that you know a little bit about the pumpkin growing business, it’s time to determine if you’re a good fit for it.
You may be a good candidate for pumpkin growing if:
- You live in hardiness zones 3 through 9. Pumpkins do best in locations with at least 75 frost-free days per warm season.
- You live somewhere with 6 or more hours of direct sunlight daily. Pumpkins thrive in warm, sunny conditions.
- You have rich, well-draining soil. Pumpkins thrive in soil with a pH of 6 to 6.5.
- You have enough room to give pumpkins their own bed. Pumpkin vines can take over other plants quickly, so they need their own space.
Even for a new gardener, pumpkin-growing can be a promising source of side income.
Just be sure that you’re living in an area where pumpkins can thrive and you’re growing them somewhere easily accessible by the public.
Even if you have just ¼ of an acre to donate to your pumpkins, you can still stand to make around $2,000 (€1,622.40). Sounds like a great way to cover the costs of holiday hosting and gifting!
You’ll need to plan ahead if you want to grow pumpkins so that you’re ready to sell them by the fall.
Pumpkin seeds should be planted mid-summer and you should obtain the permits, signage and help you need caring for your pumpkins well in advance of the selling season.
Don’t forget, adding just one or two “bonuses” to your pumpkin patch, like apple cider or a hay ride, can drastically maximize your profits and make pumpkin-selling a lucrative affair.