The art of pumpkin growing can sometimes seem like a dark art to the uninitiated, but the fact is that it can be a lot of fun to learn how to grow pumpkins in a way that both maximizes their size and flavor.
The first decision that you need to make is whether you are growing the pumpkin to be used as a lantern at Halloween, or for eating in pumpkin pie. The reason is that different types of pumpkin are better for each use.
If you want a real monster pumpkin that you can carve out a face on and discard the innards, then you will generally be better off
buying a variety like Howden. But if you are looking to use the pumpkin for baking a pie, a variety like Baby Pam's would be a better choice as they tend to have a nicer overall flavor (but are smaller in size).
Once you have chosen the type of pumpkin that you want to grow it's best to find fresh seeds of that variety. While seeds that are many years old can germinate, the odds of growing a healthy pumpkin will be better if you plant seeds that are as fresh as possible.
Wherever possible you should plant your pumpkins where they won't be disturbed, or need to be moved.
You should choose an area for your pumpkins that gets as much sunlight as possible, and where there is a large amount of available space. Remember that these vine driven plants want to spread out 3-5 feet in all directions. So, be realistic when you look at the amount of space you have available, and if things are a little on the cramped side then you will need to at least be pruning back the vines regularly and settle for a fewer amount to harvest.
The soil needs to be well drained, because if the pumpkins sit in water, there is a good chance that they will end up rotting rather than being eaten in a pie!
Plant the seeds about two inches deep in a good mound of soil so that there is plenty of room for them to grow, and only do so when the weather is nice and warm (at least 70 Fahrenheit), as pumpkins are not a plant that appreciates the cold weather.