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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 = 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 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

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 May 20, Holly (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hi, I'm wondering if pumpkins can be planted now on a hot western slope in nth new? Yes it's late! Just wondering!
14 May 20, Sid Clancy (Australia - temperate climate)
I live in Central West NSW, when should i be planting my pumpkins?
18 May 20, Paul Lehmann (Australia - arid climate)
No frosts, no problem! Get them going as early as you like! I have to wait till last frost is gone, early November but this year I'm going to get some frost covers and start them a bit earlier.
12 May 20, Caroline (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Hi my name is Caroline and I’m not from New Zealand, but I love pumpkins! I REALLY REALLY have the urge to carve a pumpkin but unfortunately they are all out of season in America. This might sound stupid but are pumpkins on the same schedule in New Zealand bc of the difference in climate? Like would I be able to get one shipped ?
04 May 20, Michael G (Australia - temperate climate)
I live in Adelaide and have a crop of Jap pumpkin, the vine is just starting to die back, with the high rainfall we are currently getting should I cut the pumpkins before the stalk dries? I fear the pumpkins taking on to much water and rotting.
05 May 20, Anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Be judged by how old they are - should be 20+ weeks to be ready to pick. No good picking a half mature pumpkin. The rain should only be a couple of days. If the pumpkin are laying flat and have water around the stem, tip it out. If you think they are ready try one.
05 May 20, Clive (Australia - temperate climate)
Depends how progressed they are. Vine die back only happens at the end of the vine life. I pick many Japs well before the vine dies, with other later pollinated pumpkins still growing. Excess moisture does not only create rot, but also splitting. If the pumpkins are getting yellow, ghosting, coloring around the stem base they could also split from over watering, so pick them. If they are still young leave them. I picked several Japs this morning, one was 7.2kg and it was only 31 days from pollination. (Central QLD)
02 May 20, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Gramma pumpkin. When is the best time to pick? When fully orange and dusty. Is it ripe when green and dusty looking?
05 May 20, Anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
About 20 weeks or so after planting. The vine will be dying back, the stem from the pumpkin to the vine will be hard and dry. When you think it is ready try one, if a pale colour then you picked too early.
29 Apr 20, Nicole (Australia - temperate climate)
I live in NW NSW, possible frosty weather is coming this weekend. Can I cover the pumpkins with something to protect them till they are ready for harvest? Thanks
Showing 1 - 10 of 705 comments

Not a problem if it is unripe! can still make lovely pumpkin soup (I actually thin it is better with unripe pumpkin!)

- Michelle

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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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