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Growing Pumpkin

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

(Best months for growing Pumpkin in Australia - temperate regions)

P = Sow seed

September: Frost tender

  • 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
    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.

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

09 Dec 17, Cheryl (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
We have both jap and butternut pumpkins growing but seem to only have male flowers. Do we pull them out and start again. There is plenty of male flowers
23 Nov 17, terry (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
hi im in nth NSW just near kyogle and lismore my pumpkin plants refuse to form pumkins there seems to be no bees anywhere and its getting to be a major worry Queensland blue pumkins are the best tasting for use in sweet pumpkin pies ill try to hand pollonatye today also is it likely i will have the same problems if i buy seedlings these ones were seed i saved out of a pumkin from last year thanks for your time Terry
23 Nov 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Just found this - commercial production. For efficient pollination and fruit set, there must be: both male and female flowers and bees to move pollen from male to female flowers. A number of factors can influence pollination, Cold and overcast days limit pollination activity of bees. Hot dry conditions desiccate pollen making it unviable. Rapid growth promotes earlier flowering. However, high temperatures, long days and high rates of nitrogen can result in: vigorous vegetative growth and few flowers and a higher proportion of male to female flowers. It is important to check the sex of the flowers. A ratio of 1 female to 7 male flowers is usually considered adequate. Flowers open early in the day and for one day only, and they close by mid afternoon. These periods are shorter under high temperatures. Flowers are most receptive to pollination in the morning when bee activity is usually the highest. Bees are necessary for pollination and must be active in the crop. Flowers require at least 12 bee visits for good pollination. If bees are not plentiful, introduce at least two hives per ha after female flowers appear and male flowers start producing pollen. Spread hives around the field outside the crop, preferably so that bees have to fly over the crop to get to another food source. Destroy flowering weeds around the crop.
23 Nov 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I was given a Jap pumpkin and I grew a Qld blue earlier this year. The Jap was by far the better for flavor. When I was growing the Qld blue it rained (heavy) several times and the female flowers were very wet inside and just rotted. If no bees plant some flowers (research flowers for bees) around your yard. I'm doing this as I have very few bees I think. Also it is best to grow pumpkin into winter I have read. It wouldn't make any difference if using seeds or seedlings. I have two Jap pumpkin growing now - will be interesting to see if they produce.
15 Oct 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I was starting to cut up some pumpkin the other day for scones. Hard skin pumpkin to cut. Then I thought - give the pumpkin skin a good wash, cut the pumpkin up and cook it - then peel the skin off - a lot easier.
28 Sep 17, Jenni (Australia - temperate climate)
My 9 year old has been eager to grow something she can eat so I gave her some pumpkin seeds from a store brought pumpkin. She dried them out and buried them. Leaves are starting to grow to my surprise. She tenderly waters them each day but wants to know, what she can "feed" them to make sure they are nice and tasty. Also, is it even the right time to grow pumpkin? We are on the south coast of South Australia and the weather is...well odd at the moment. Any tips to pass on to a very enthused and dedicated 9 year old girl? Thanks!
02 Oct 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Great to hear of someone so young who wants to grow things. If this attempt fails, tell her to try next year. Plant around April/May and grow into the winter. If you have or can make a garden bed, tell her to try growing some radishes - nearly the easiest thing to grow. Go to Bunnings or a nursery and buy some punnets of lettuce or other things she likes and plant them. When starting out it is a lot easier to plant seedlings. The hard work has been done to germinate them. Also buy a little container of fertiliser (about 2kg or so) from nursery or Bunnings etc. I use a watering can (9 liters) and add a small tupperware cup of fertiliser to the water. Give it a good stir. Scale this down to say 1/2 to 3/4 of a tablespoon in 1-2 liters of water. Wait until the plants have grown to 3-4-5 inches. Little plants little fertiliser and more as they get bigger. Good luck.
30 Sep 17, Darren (Australia - temperate climate)
Spread some compost around the seedlings, and then add plenty of mulch, to save on water in summer. As they get bigger, cut the watering back to a couple of times a week.
08 Sep 17, Renae (Australia - tropical climate)
My son and I planted two pumpkin seeds, I have harvested about 8 pumpkins all Kent's and they are getting bigger and bigger. For some reason we seem to have a butternut shaped pumpkin that has the coloring and pattern of a Kent. Could it be a crossbreed? How early is too early to pick them? I've had to throw a few unripened ones away not knowing.
10 Sep 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Look how long it states to grow them and don't pick before then. The plant vines will start to die off. Best to grow into the winter months - they will mature slower and you will be able to store them longer. Read the notes here and on the internet.
Showing 1 - 10 of 371 comments

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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