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

09 Sep 20, Trish (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi, I'm in temperate climate Melbourne and wish to grown pumpkins in a grow bag due to limited space, any advice on bag size to buy, was looking at the rectangle grow bags would 60 x 30 x 20 be suitable ? Thanks Trish
11 Sep 20, Anonymous (USA - Zone 10b climate)
How limited is your space (is it just the root/ground space that's limited, but you have lots of vertical space)? I ask because pumpkin vines can get SO long. I've grown smaller varieties (lil goblin, sugar pumpkin) in grow bags and they did pretty well, but it was hard to keep the bag from drying out in my hot climate. My fault, I should have mulched. My bags were ~25 gallons...I'm not sure how many square cm that is. I've also had good results with a self-watering container made from a big Rubbermaid storage tote (got instructions on the internet). I think the key thing is, in a container, feed heavily and keep the soil moist with mulch, or else you'll be watering 2x+ a day on hot days.
14 Sep 20, Trish Geradts (Australia - temperate climate)
Thanks for your response. my space is limited to grow pumpkins as they take up alot of room so the idea of vertical seemed good. Yes I agree I am bit concerned about the grow bag being sufficient as yes agree need to keep water & feed up which I am used to as have had lots of pots. This is a little bit of an experiment for me so will see how it goes the seed were from another pumpkin so I will try & hope for the best.
10 Sep 20, Anon (Australia - tropical climate)
There are probably pumpkins that require a smallish area but most pumpkins require an area about 4m square. You could try a grow bag but I would never do it. I watched a TV show, Garden Gurus last weekend, show how to grow tomatoes in one. They planted 3 plants in a bag about your size or a little bigger. They planted them 15-20cm apart. ONE tomato plant needs an area approx. 60cm radius and 40-50cm deep. I plant 4 tomatoes along a 2.5m trellis. My suggest is if you have a small area then plant smallish crops. At home I have 13m x 2.5m and I do not plant any vine crops.
11 Sep 20, Trish (Australia - temperate climate)
Thanks for your reply, I was thinking the grow bag and then using a frame for the vine to grow up and do understand the points you made. I was thinking of it as a bit of an experiment as I have some seeds which have sprouted and was thinking of planting just 2 of the seedlings. Some sites gave differing opinions on them being a shallow rooted plant vs a deep rooted which confused me so i wasn't sure if the grow bag would be deep enough. Appreciate your response
15 Sep 20, (Australia - temperate climate)
Good luck, gardening is all about trying new things. My daughter has me growing sun flowers, first time in 40+years.
03 Sep 20, Abdul Mogale (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
I farm in Heidelberg, Gauteng and would like to try pumpkin on a 17 hactre land without irrigating. Please advise me. (Gardenate says : This is not a farm advisory site. Contact your nearest agricultural department. )
27 Aug 20, alexander (USA - Zone 9b climate)
I read that they can have trouble pollinating without a little help, though I haven't started growing mine yet.
20 Sep 20, Ivie Walker (USA - Zone 9a climate)
Because of the heat in zone 9a. Plants have difficulty pollinating when temperatures are 90 degrees or higher. In Southern Nevada temps got to 120 degrees. I plant seeds especially seedlings once temps are below 90 degrees. When temps are high I use Blossom Set to help the fruit to set on
28 Aug 20, Anonymous (USA - Zone 6b climate)
If you don't have active bees when they flower then you can hand pollinate. A female flower is only open for a few hours one day, if not pollinated then no pumpkin grows. Google how to do it.
Showing 1 - 10 of 725 comments

I live near Bundaberg and at the gardens I work at, a lady planted sunflowers 2 months ago. We are picking the flowers now - quite stunning a bunch of five heads in a vase. I have Kent or jap pumpkin growing now but won't be ripe for another 4-6 weeks. I say so often here it is too hot to be growing crops in late Nov and Dec unless you are protecting them from the sun. Sweet potatoes would probably grow. They grow here all year round.

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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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