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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 in same bed): Sweet Corn
  • Avoid growing in same bed: 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

25 Mar 17, Rocco Zappia (Australia - temperate climate)
Good Day which month is good to plant "Halloween Pumpkin"
27 Mar 17, Jack (Australia - temperate climate)
The best time to plant pumpkins, squash, zucchinis, cucumbers, etc is when the soil temperature is 15-17 degrees. This is around the end of October in the southern states. Many people say 'after the Grand Final' or 'Melbourne Cup' time.
24 Mar 17, Peter Turner (Australia - temperate climate)
Planted Karadle Gray pumpkins late spring, they are still growing and prducing female flowers. it is now late March, when will they die of so we can pick the fruits. Peter
24 Mar 17, Jack (Australia - temperate climate)
The likelihood of them ripening is fairly slim unless you don't get any frosts until late May. The vines will normally start to die off when they are ready. If you run out of time use them to make pumpkin soup or grate them to use in place of zucchinis in cakes or savoury muffins. Next season plant your seed in toilet paper cylinders or egg cartons so they will be ready to plant out in late October. Plant cylinder or egg 'cell' as well as it will rot.
20 Mar 17, Barbara Sharp (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Hi, there are pumpkins in garden with big flowers, about 7 crab apple size fruit on each of 5 trailing stems. In Dunedin, what care do they need to produce good fruit.. ie reducing amount of stems, reducing fruit on stems, mulching etc. Have lots of healthy green leaves, have kept them watered and off the ground on boards. Thanks for any advice you can offer. Last year possums got to my only beautiful pumpkin just as it was ready to harvest, so need to cover them this year!! Thanks Barbara
21 Mar 17, Jonno (Australia - temperate climate)
You are listed as sub-tropical but also mention Dunedin. If you live in Dunedin it may be too late for the pumpkins to ripen before winter sets in. Pumpkins need about 4-5 months of good growing weather to do really well. The best way to grow pumpkins in areas where the seasons are shorter is to plant them in toilet paper cylinders filled with mix about 3 weeks before the last frost is expected. Stand the cylinders in a container (for watering) and keep them in a sunny spot inside. As soon as the soil is warm enough, about mid November in Dunedin I would think you could plant them out (cylinder included, it will rot. Removing the growing tips when a few pumpkins have formed will definitely help the pumpkins to grow a good size. If the pumpkins don't develop enough this year grate them and use them instead of zucchini in cakes or savoury slice or muffins. Trust this helps.
19 Mar 17, Pieter Mentoor (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Like to know when can i plant giant pumpkin in the western cape
20 Mar 17, Jack (Australia - temperate climate)
Pumpkins will grow in almost any areas as long as you have at least 5 months of good weather. They can be planted after the last frost (if you get frosts) and don't like being transplanted so plant them in small pots or toilet paper cylinders in early spring in a warm spot or inside to get a head start. If you use cardboard cylinders you can plant them in the ground and let the cylinder rot.
14 Mar 17, Paul Tracey (Australia - temperate climate)
I see from the Gardenate planting guide that the planting time for pumpkins is September to December. I purchased butternut pumpkin seedlings from Bunnings in February. Is the selling of such seedlings out of step with the recommended planting season unethical? The seedlings have grown and there are currently 3 pumpkins visible. I am concerned that by planting them outside the recommended period they will not mature to completion.
15 Mar 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Pumpkins are best planted when soil temperatures have reached 15-17 degrees C. This varies between climate zones, Australia is a large country. A soil thermometer is aa good investment to check this. They usually cost around $20.00. If you plant seedlings in February you would need to have about 4 frost-free months to harvest. As for ethics many companies sell what looks good or what people want. Tomato plants are available in Victoria as early as July. They will not do well until mid to late October when the soil has warmed up and many will die. This suits the seedling growers as they will sell more plants as replacements. Having said that if you have a sheltered spot you could get tomatoes going earlier. The best thing to do is to check the planting times on this site relevant to your area and don't be tempted by what's on offer.
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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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