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

05 Jan 09, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Jean, you may be lucky. If you had an organic pumpkin it will probably produce both male and female flowers but if it was a F1 hybrid then its seeds will produce sterile plants. Check the flowers for possible female ones (see comment from Jaci above).
05 Jan 09, David (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Ray, your pumpkins are falling off early because they are not fertilised. You may need to go around with a paintbrush and transfer pollen from the male flowers to the female. Check the comment from Jaci to identify which is which.
05 Jan 09, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Brett, Are you using bought seeds or saving seeds from pumpkins? If you have bought seeds, it might be worth contacting the supplier and telling them about your problem. Otherwise, if you saved seeds, see the answer to Jean's query.
25 Sep 10, len freeman (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
what causes the hard white growth in the ripe pumpkin
26 Mar 11, Mark (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Have you heard of a tribumple pumpkin or a name similar.
31 Aug 11, Graham (New Zealand - temperate climate)
The name you want is Triamble. A grey pumpkin with deep grooves between usually three segments
26 Aug 12, Lachlan (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
If l were to save the seeds from a pumpkin l bought from the supermarket will they be Hybrid variety? Do l have to dry the seeds out before planting them?
07 Sep 12, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Pumpkins from a supermarket are likely to be hybrids . You do not need to dry the seeds before sowing but they will keep better until you want to use them, if you spread them out on some kitchen paper
27 Aug 12, Lachlan (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Do seeds need to be dried before planting?
14 Sep 18, Mike (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Seeds need drying if being kept for planting in the future.
Showing 1 - 10 of 82 comments

The monthly calendar tells you when to plant.

- Anon

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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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