Growing Pumpkin

Cucurbita sp. : Cucurbitaceae / the gourd family

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, 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

25 May 22, Kylie (Australia - arid climate)
I have a kent pumpkin vine that is producing huge fruit. The vine is still very healthy, but the pumpkins are easily 5kg each already and don't show any signs of slowing their growth. Any tips on when to harvest? I don't want to lose the lot, but i also don't want to pick too early. I live in central QLD and we have had a fair wet season.
30 May 22, Anonymous (Australia - arid climate)
Try and keep the bottom of them dry with straw wet weather. Growing time is 16-20 weeks. The stem will become dry and hard and the yellow part will become dull. When you do start to pick just pick one and try. But think around 18 weeks +.
02 May 22, David James (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have had several pumpkin plants pop up from seeds. I don’t know where the seeds came from as I’ve never grown pumpkins in the past. Never the less the plants grew vigorously with lots of leaves and flowers. I noticed plenty of bees around so assumed pollination would occur, however no pumpkins ever appear. I guess an experienced gardener would know what’s happening. I’m a beginner so I would welcome some information. Thanks.
08 May 22, Pete (Australia - temperate climate)
If your vine is not producing pumpkins there may be a problem with pollination. Go to You Tube and search "how to hand pollinate pumpkins". They will give you a better description of the process than I can. Apparently its pretty easy. Cheers Pete
06 May 22, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
You would have had to noticed if the bees went onto the pumpkin flowers or not. I recently had bees working on some flowers and not the zucchinis 2m away.
28 Apr 22, Anne Elizabeth Mence (New Zealand - temperate climate)
when is the right time to plant pumpkin and cucumber seedlings. Not long had my vege garden and keen to get started.
02 May 22, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Go to the top of the page and it will tell you when you can plant for your climate zone.
12 Apr 22, Megan (Australia - temperate climate)
Every year I plant pumpkin seeds with no success. But late in the season self planted seeds grow and I’m lucky to get one pumpkin before the frosts come. What am I doing wrong..
13 Apr 22, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
The biggest mistake with pumpkin, beans, peas, corn etc is they are over watered and rot in the soil at planting time. Too much water and high temps cause them to rot. Temperate zone planting is Sept - Dec. To plant in Sept to mid Oct probably requires to have them in a warm place or indoors to germinate. Try and use a light soil/potting mix/seed raising soil. Or even a combo of these with some perlite. You want the soil to drain freely. Prepare your pots or garden soil and give a good watering, then plant the seeds, don't water again until day 4-5 and only lightly. Or another way is to place some paper towel on a plate, put your seeds on the paper, cover with another piece of paper towel. Give this a good watering and drain off the excess water. Re wet it morning and night draining off the excess water. When the seeds have sent out a tap root plant them into your moist soil.
19 Mar 22, Elizabeth Koch (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
My pumpkins 2 Queensland blue have grown to about 6inches across, but now are starting to die. Lost a lot of smaller ones, about 2 to 3 inches big. Doing all the right things I think. The butternut have no problems.
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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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