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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

02 Feb 19, Katrina (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Hi guys, our neighbours are growing pumpkins (look like crown variety with pale skin and flat bottom) and the vines came over into our place and a nice big pumpkin grew, so of course I picked it right away not knowing anything about pumpkins. The inside was a weird pale yellow rather than orange, I presume now that I have just picked it too soon and it is unripe! Is that correct? Thanks.
04 Feb 19, Michelle (Australia - temperate climate)
Not a problem if it is unripe! can still make lovely pumpkin soup (I actually thin it is better with unripe pumpkin!)
05 Feb 19, Mike (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Put some curry in it to give it some taste. lol
03 Feb 19, Mike (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Check with your neighbour next time. Next time wait until the stem has become hard and woody. About 16-20 weeks after seeds germinate.
22 Jan 19, Sal (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I have 3 healthy pumpkins growing on the vine but the new baby ones are going yellow and dying. What causes this?
22 Jan 19, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
They are going yellow and dying because they have not been pollinated. Try using a soft small paint brush, or something similar, to transfer some pollen from a 'male' flower (one without a tiny pumpkin behind it) to a 'female' flower - one with a tiny pumkin behind it.
23 Jan 19, Sal (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Thanks for that, I assumed that if a pumpkin formed it must have been pollinated.
22 Jan 19, Mike (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Or break off a male flower and peel back the flower part, then rub the female flower with the male part. Make sure the male has pollen on it by testing with your finger. Even do this with 2-3 male flowers.
04 Dec 18, Robyn (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I live in Te Anau and wonder what is a faster maturing pumpkin variety?? We had a good crop of pumpkins growing last year, but a rogue frost in mid March killed off the plant and the pumpkin crop did not ripen, and the weather is only coming good now (early Dec) to plant.
05 Dec 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Look around some seed selling companies - email or phone them. Most times I see like 15-20 weeks to grow but which is early I don't know. Another way is to start the seeds early indoors or somewhere protected from the weather. You could start growing them in Oct say under lights. Sometimes nature throws us a big curve ball and stuffs it all up.
Showing 1 - 10 of 65 comments

Hi. We live in Zone 9. We were able to get beautiful pumpkin plants and florets, but never produced a pumpkin this year. We know they can grow bc there is a pumpkin farm nearby that produces plenty. I thought that I had only males, but then female plants appeared and still no flower. We started them in Late July, I think. Any advice?

- Jonie

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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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