|Species:|| Cucurbita maxima
|Min germination temp:||21°C (70°F)|
|Max germination temp:||32°C (90°F)|
|Germination time:||7 days|
|Time to transplanting:||+11 days|
|Time to harvesting:||+97 days|
|Ideal pH range:||6.5 - 7.0|
|Sow depth:||3cm (1¼in)|
|Growing plant spacing:||150cm (60in)|
Pumpkin is a gourd-like squash of the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae. In British and Australian English, pumpkin generally refers to what North Americans call winter squash, but would include the above species.
In Canada and the United States, it is a common name of or can refer to cultivars of any one of the species Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita mixta, Cucurbita maxima, and Cucurbita moschata. They are typically orange or yellow and have many creases running from the stem to the bottom. They have a thick shell on the outside, with seeds and pulp on the inside.
|Sowing time (under glass)|
|Sowing time (outdoors)|
Choose a sunny spot with 90cm (35in) of space for this vegetable in every direction. They will also grow in containers or one or two plants per growbag if required.
Pumpkins are heavy feeders and will benefit from having plenty of compost dug into the soil prior to planting.
Pumpkins are easily grown from seed and can be sown in their final position in late May/early June or alternatively sow indoors from mid-April. Sow two or three seeds 2.5 (1in) deep and cover with cloches if outdoors. Leave cover in place for as long as possible before thinning the seedlings to leave the strongest one.
If you don't have space to grow pumpkins indoors; seedlings can be bought from garden centres and are ready to plant outdoors as soon as the risk of frost has passed. Ensure plants are hardened off for 2 weeks before planting out by placing them outside during the day and keeping them indoors/under cover at night. Dig a hole slightly larger than the container the seedling is in, tip it out and plant into the hole slightly lower than its original compost level. Mound soil/compost around the stem to support it. Water thoroughly to settle the roots.
Keep plants well watered especially once vegetable begin to form. A layer of compost or polythene around the plants will help to suppress weeds and retain moisture. Provide a high potassium liquid fertiliser once or twice a fortnight. Pumpkins require pollination for vegetable to form successfully.
- Main article: Hand pollination of Cucurbits
Insect pollination can be poor, in which case take a male flower, fold back the petals to reveal the pollen on the stamen, and insert it into the female flower. Females can be differentiated from the males as they have a tiny unfertilised vegetable behind the flower head.
Regular picking will ensure a long cropping season.
- Full troubles list: Cucurbit troubles