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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 = Plant in the garden.

  • 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 68°F and 90°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 35 - 47 inches 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 May 17, Beverly (USA - Zone 7b climate)
In a large garden plot how far apart should potatoes and pumpkins be planted?
10 May 17, John (Australia - tropical climate)
The only real consideration is to allow the pumpkins to spread if they are the 'running' type. Bush pumpkins can grow to about six feet across and you would need a bit of space to work around them. potatoes could be planted about a foot apart. The limit there is more on the available nutrients in the soil and management of the plants. Trust this helps.
20 Apr 17, Bronwynne Livingston (Australia - temperate climate)
Moved into a new house early Feb. Noticed pumpkin growing. Watered well and started flowering. Hand pollinated my first female in mid March and 4 weeks on have a delightfully larger-than-brick sized butternut growing. Have just last week pollinated a second vine which appears to have taken well too. Is this due to unseasonably warm weather this autumn? Or good rainfall?
21 Apr 17, Giovanni (Australia - temperate climate)
The unseasonably warm weather would certainly have helped keep the pumpkins growing but with the cooler nights of Autumn and Winter approaching you may not get them ripened in time. If you don't, just treat them like zucchinis or make pumpkin soup with them. Disappointing but you will get something out of them. For best results pumpkins need to be planted in late October to get a good long season in temperate areas.
17 Apr 17, Valerie (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi, I have a raised bed which had beetroot and tomatoes last season. Noticed a strange plant and decided to let it grow (from curiosity) but it turned out to be pumpkin and has taken over the raised bed despite constant "culling". It has produced quite a few flowers but they just close and fall off. The foliage is very healthy and the flowers numerous (being in a composted bed). My question is - if the season is over by December is it worth letting the plant(s) continue to grow and produce flowers if there is no chance of forming fruit? I have seen only a few bees and tried self-pollinating but nothing seems to be moving. Would appreciate your comments on this.
19 Apr 17, Ken (Australia - temperate climate)
Pumpkins will not be likely to ripen in temperate areas now as Autumn is setting in. It is better to get an early start in the season, around October to ensure a good crop. Any small pumpkins on your vines could be harvested and treated like zucchinis. Sadly our bee population is declining rapidly. Providing host plants around your garden will help. These include any of the 'daisy' type flowers, a lot of herbs and lavender.
11 Apr 17, Merilyn Cook (Australia - temperate climate)
My pumpkins (like many others in this are) have only just flowered and have set a large crop of pumpkins that are only just the size of a golf ball although some are double that size. Should I persist and hope for a mature crop or bite the bullet and pull them all out?
11 Apr 17, Jack (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
There is not a lot of chance getting a crop of pumpkins now as Autumn is setting in. harvest all the small pumpkins that you can and treat them like zucchini's (they are in the same family) and start earlier next season. In a lot of areas we haven't had a lot of Summer to help development and ripening.
10 Apr 17, Raymond (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I am retired and live in Masterton and would like to grow pumpkins for a little extra income.My father grew triable variety in New Plymouth.Can they grow down here. Thanks
11 Apr 17, John (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
You should be able to grow pumpkins successfully in Masterton. About four years ago a little chap (3) from Masterton won the biggest pumpkin competition run by Mitre 10. To get a good start plant the seeds in toilet paper cylinders filled with potting mix and kept on a sunny windowsill. You could start them in mid-October ready to plant out in early November. Plant the cylinder as well to save any root disturbance (it will rot). Triamble is a great old variety. If you can get seed of 'Queensland Blue' it will probably give you a higher net yield per plant at an average of 17 kg. Properly ripened pumpkins always sell well. Try pubs, restaurants, etc. All the best.
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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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