Growing Pumpkin

Cucurbita sp. : Cucurbitaceae / the gourd family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
  S S                  

(Best months for growing Pumpkin in USA - Zone 5a regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • P = Sow seed
  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 20°C and 32°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 90 - 120 cm apart
  • Harvest in 15-20 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Sweet Corn
  • Avoid growing close to: Potatoes
  • Pumpkin on vine

A large trailing plant with yellow, bell-shaped flowers, pumpkin is frost tender. Most varieties will take up a lot of room. Grow them at the edge of your garden patch so that they can spread away from other vegetables. Butternut produces small to medium pear-shaped fruit with deep orange flesh. Buttercup are small to medium round pumpkins with dark green skin. There are a number of large pumpkins, some round and flattish - good for storage and eating - others will produce the "Cinderella coach" type giant round fruit which are not such good eating.

Harvest when the vines die off and the pumpkins' stalks are dry. Leave a small piece of stalk attached to the fruit to prevent damp causing rot. The fruit can be stored for months in a cool airy place. In some parts of New Zealand, they are stored on shed roofs.

Pumpkins sometimes need hand pollination if the fruit are not setting well or die off after starting to grow, try picking a male flower (straight stem) and gently brushing pollen inside female flowers.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Pumpkin

Cut up, remove the skin and roast with other vegetables or meat.

Young crisp shoots with young leaves can be cooked and eaten - stewed in coconut milk they are popular in Melanesia. Remove any strings and tough parts and stew until tender, or cook as a vegetable in boiling water 3 - 5 minutes.

Your comments and tips

07 Mar 08, Donna (Unknown climate)
My baby pumpkins were dying on vine. Found out we needed to tickle female flowers with male ones to pollinate because we don't have enough bees.
04 Jun 08, Rebecca (Unknown climate)
I have only managed to grow 1 pumpkin. Although I have a lot of follage. Not sure of which very variety it is. When do I harvest? How do you tell which is male or female?
05 Jun 08, Liz (Unknown climate)
You can tell female flowers because they have a tiny pumpkin shape behind the flower even before fertilisation. You may also be suffering from a lack of bees, Rebecca, and need to hand pollinate.
14 Jun 08, Rebecca (Unknown climate)
Thanks Liz. Tried the hand polinating. Fingers crossed. Still would like to know when I can tell my pumpkin is harvest.
11 Aug 08, brendan (Australia - temperate climate)
has anybody ever grown a pumpkin vine up a pergola or clothes line with any success, and if so, how is the best way to go about it? thanks.
02 Sep 08, Trevor (Australia - temperate climate)
brendan - have not tried the clothes line, but have tried a pergola of sorts. Grew vine up on to shed and worked a treat, higher, more sunlight.
05 Sep 08, dennis gibson (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
possums eating my pumpkins had to cover with fruit netting worked well
23 Sep 08, wayne (Australia - temperate climate)
Brendan, I have seen a pumpkin vine that took over a paling fence Approx 15mts. But all the fruit grew on the neighbours side. Lucky we got to share
02 Oct 08, Carmen (Australia - temperate climate)
About hand pollination can you please give me some more info on the best practice on doing so??? Thanks
03 Oct 08, Liss (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Are pumpkins heavy feeders? What do they like? In the soil I mean.
Showing 1 - 10 of 825 comments

Try and keep the bottom of them dry with straw wet weather. Growing time is 16-20 weeks. The stem will become dry and hard and the yellow part will become dull. When you do start to pick just pick one and try. But think around 18 weeks +.

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