Growing Pumpkin

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

(Best months for growing Pumpkin in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

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

05 Jan 21, Sue Bradshaw (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I inherited a large Kent pumpkin vine when we moved into our house a year ago on the Sunshine Coast. It came with a single substantial pumpkin. As I've learned more about the way they reproduce I've tried to hand pollinate with only one successful outcome. The vine currently has two pumpkins, one of which was made without any help from me. A couple of weeks ago (late December) the vine became full of tiny female flowers and the male flowers were in abundance too. I thought I'd have a great outcome and even saw a bee or two. But not all of the tiny females even reached the flowering stage, just withered where they grew. It has been pretty hot and humid here, with temps 30+ most days and night in the low 20s. I keep the water up to them but they really suffer during the mid day heat. Would shade cloth help? Is there anything I can add to the soil?
06 Jan 21, Anonymous (Australia - temperate climate)
Most veggies are grown as an annual. To have one 12mths old is a bit unusual. The vine would be very long now before the flowers appear, maybe the plant can't sustain that. Pumpkin zucchini and probably watermelons and rock melons etc When they flower they start with male flowers to start attracting the bees, then produce female flowers. The female flower is only open for one day generally and will be shut by lunch time. So it needs a few visits from bees in that 2-4 hrs to fertilise the female flower. Or needs hand pollination on that day. I live at Bundy and I grew pumpkin through last summer and it was 3-4 degrees hotter last summer than this year so far. I think you just have an old plant that has had it's day. After you pick this years crop think about planting next year in the spring, your vines will be well establish going into summer. It will also allow you to refresh the soil with compost, manures fertiliser etc.
23 Nov 20, Linda (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hello, I threw pumpkin seeds onto a mound of organic soil. The vine is strong and healthy however the fruit forms but then dies off. I have given it some veggie fertilizer and worm juice. I thought that pollination wouldn't be an issue if the fruit is forming. We live on the Gold Coast and the pumpkin patch gets the morning sun actually its in the sun for most of the day.
24 Nov 20, Ruth (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Your flowers are possibly not pollinated and will nnot mature. Pick a male flower, strip back the petals and tickle the female flowers with it and you should get mature fruit
24 Nov 20, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
If the soil was good to start with then it didn't need the extra fertiliser.
24 Nov 20, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
By the sounds of it you don't have any bees in your garden. Read up about how pumpkin pollinates. You can do it by hand. Go through the comments here, many comments about pollinating them. Female pumpkin flower is only open for 1 day and generally in the morning. Water low and not all over the plant.
13 Oct 20, Mark hillhouse (New Zealand - temperate climate)
When I was a child, my grandmother used to grow pumpkins adjacent to a vary large rock area. She used to trail the vines onto the rock and that was where the pumpkins developed. I don't have a large rocky area to do this so I was wondering about spread some sort of rock aggregate on the ground and trail the vines onto that. Anybody done this before? Cheers
16 Oct 20, (New Zealand - temperate climate)
You don't need any special ground to grow pumpkin on. They grow in bare paddock for farmers.
12 Oct 20, Lisa (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
How close is ‘close to’? I was thinking of planting pumpkin in a bed that is next to a bed with potatoes. The beds are 50 cm apart but I have wondered how define next to or close to in companion planting theory
13 Oct 20, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Just consider that some pumpkin plants need up to about 8m wide garden bed to sprawl out.
Showing 1 - 10 of 737 comments

Hi, I’m curious about the advice not to plant potatoes and pumpkin together. Some sites seem to suggest that the two won’t do well if planted too close together. Is that right? I have a large potato patch (about 40sqm) and was planning to plant pumpkin in about 2sqm at one end. Would that be a mistake? Thanks

- Tim Dare

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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. GardenGrow 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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