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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 20°C and 32°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 90 - 120 cm 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

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.
02 Mar 17, Tuaine (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
So hubby & I notice that there's pumpkins which I found out it's buttercups growing in our backyard. We no nothing of how to grow or start a garden. So need some friendly advice as we're willing to see how long these pumpkins can lasts.
04 Mar 17, Joan (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I am trying to grow them and they are going alright at this point; I though I was going to lose them all together but I found out I was just watering them far too much so i pulled back on the amount of days i was watering them and I think they are doing alright cos I have pumpkins flowering. I am looking forward to eating them too.
03 Mar 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Pumpkins take about 3 and a 1/2 to 4 months to harvest from seed planting. This will give you an idea whether you will have ripe pumpkins before winter. They like lots of water and manure and often thrive from seeds in the compost. Water them at the roots to avoid mildew problems. If it is a running variety you can turn the vines back on themselves to contain them if you need to. Ripe pumpkins will have a dry stalk. Harvesting after the first frost (if you get them) will make them sweeter. Any unripe pumpkins are not likely to keep very long so you can make and freeze pumpkin soup or grate them into recipe sized quantities and freeze them to replace zucchinis in savoury muffins or slice. For your gardening helps and any questions don't hesitate to refer to this site or send us a line. Happy Gardening!
18 Jan 17, Ray (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Is late January too late to plant pumpkin in Tauranga?
03 Feb 17, Steve (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
A year or so ago I was up that way from Christchurch for a holiday it was April, we saw heaps of people growing pumpkins so I would say go for it but keep them well watered as they like lots of water. And harvest when the first frost hits. Foot Note: I would start them of in seed trays first, in a glasshouse if you have one but not always necessary. If you where down here I would say no?
06 May 16, Carina Powell (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I have grown pumpkins 2 years in a row that have hard white lumps in them, I have bought a plant both times so I am thinking it must be something to do with were they are growing. Any idea of what could be coursing this?
30 May 13, (Australia - temperate climate)
I am getting this mould or rust on my vegetables in my garden. It is causing many of the butternuts to die and the spinach to be spoiled. What could I do to prevent this?
09 Jan 17, Gaurav (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
try charcoal ash in your garden to prevent any diseases to the plants..
Showing 1 - 10 of 21 comments

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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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