How to Grow
Abigal Gordon's Home
You can sow the seeds directly in the
soil, or start them off early in planters. In either event don't
place either seedlings or sow seed outdoors until the threat of
frost has passed. Start with a rich soil and fertilize with
potassium, check your Soil ph .
Direct seeding pumpkins is not recommended in areas with short growing
seasons. Pumpkins need at least three months of frost free, warm
weather. If you live in a cool climate, start pumpkins indoors.
Plant semi-bush varieties one inch deep with 6-8 seeds per hill, based
on the assumption that all will not germinate,( if using transplants use
3-4 Plants.) If too many seeds germinate thin to the best 3 plants per
Allow 4 feet between hills and 8 feet between rows.
Plant miniature varieties one inch deep, with two or three seeds every 2
feet in the row. Rows should be 6 to 8 feet apart, with seedlings
thinned to only the best plants every 2-3 feet .
The giant varieties develop so rapidly and large that they may actually
break from the vine as they expand on a vine anchored to the ground.
Plant bush varieties one inch deep with 2 seeds per foot and thin to a
single plant every 3 feet. Allow 5 feet between rows
Vining pumpkins require a minimum of 50 to 100 square feet per hill.
Plant Vining seeds one inch deep with 4-5 seeds per hill and 5-6 feet
between hills, Rows 10 to 12 feet apart. When the plants are
well-established you may want to thin them out to the best plants per
When the vine is about five feet long and has set three to four good
fruits, pinch off the growing tip and remove all new flowers to direct
the plant's energy into ripening the crop.
Watering Pumpkin Plants
Keep the pumpkins evenly moist and water deeply during dry spells. To
prevent mildew, water pumpkin plants at their base, avoid watering the
pumpkin foliage, as this will minimize the occurrence of opportunistic
fungal infestations. Drip irrigation can minimize the amount of
foliage and fruit disease compared with overhead irrigation . Inexpensive
Fertilizer and Soil
Pumpkins need fertile, aerated soil
that is 70°-90° for proper germination. Work
or well-rotted manure into the soil. The ideal pH for pumpkin
and squash growth is between 6.0 to 7.5, but they will grow on soils with a pH
of up to 8.0.
- The first stage of fertilizing should be
based on providing phosphorous for root growth,
- Gradually shift to more balanced
formulation with more nitrogen.
- As time progresses,
prior to fruit setting switch to higher potassium formulation for
development of the set fruit.
Sugar Pie Pumpkin
Good cooking pumpkin. The heirloom
seeds retain the old-time flavors your grandmother used to
love. Sugar Pie Pumpkins have a marvelous, sweet flavor.
Dills Atlantic Giant
Historic World Record set at 1689
lbs. The grand-daddy of all giant pumpkins. Produces
400-500 lb. fruit with proper growing procedures.
Jack O'Lantern Pumpkin
pumpkin for carving, Jack O Lantern was bred to be the size
of a human head so it makes the perfect prop for carving on
Halloween. It is also a good cooking pumpkin
Microwaveable Mini Pumpkin
plant produces an average of 6 - 7 10 oz cricket ball sized
tangerine/yellow skinned fruit. Simply slice off the top,
scoop out the seeds, replace the top and microwave for 4
Seed & Nursery
Black rot, is a phase of the disease called
gummy stem blight that infects pumpkins. Caused by a fungus.
Black rot is the most serious disease contracted during storage of
squash, pumpkin, and gourds . Affected fruit may show black rot
lesions in the field before harvest, collapse soon after harvest, or
exhibit lesions some time later in storage.
Because infection originates in the field, control practices include the
use of disease-free seed, a minimum 2-year rotation , and fungicide
sprays as required. When powdery-mildew-resistant (PMR) varieties are
released, the losses from black rot are reduced.
Gummy Stem Blight :
See Cornell University : Gummy Stem Blight
occasionally infects squash and pumpkin. Anthracnose, caused a
fungus similar to gummy stem blight/black rot, is favored by warm
temperatures and high humidity l. Lesions usually develop while fruit is
in storage. On pumpkin, lesions are mostly circular, sunken, and measure
2 to 5 mm in diameter or larger. U Because the anthracnose fungus
overwinters in debris, a minimum 2-year rotation out of all cucurbits is
required for control.
Powdery Mildew - The surface of affected
leaves are covered by a white mass of the fungus, which has a
powdery texture. Symptoms may also be found on petioles. Treat with
Garlic GP: Vegetablel Fungicide
*** Steps to Minimize Squash
and Pumpkin Rots
- Maintain a fungicide- and insecticide-spray
program during the growing season to minimize foliar diseases .
Safer's Defender Garden Fungicide: 500mL Concentrate
sulphur-based fungicide which controls the most common
surface-infecting fungal problems such as powdery mildew, black
spot, apple scab and rust.
- Avoid blossom-end rot of fruit by fertilizing and
liming fields when needed.
- Mulching with organic matter such as straw or dry grass
clippings helps control weeds, conserves moisture and keeps fruit
from direct contact with the soil, where they could be infected by
- Harvest fruits when they are mature and the rind
is hard, but before night temperatures are below 40oF and
well before a frost .
- Do not harvest or handle wet fruit. Do not let
harvested fruit get wet.
- Harvest fruit by cutting the peduncle (stem) with
pruning shears to leave a 3- to 4-inch handle for pumpkins .
- Destroy pumpkins that are immature, injured, or
have rot or blemishes. These pumpkins should not be harvested,
stored and by all means don't put them in the compost pile !.
- Do not pick up freshly harvested fruit by the
peduncle, because it may separate from the fruit and provide easy
access for rot organisms.
- Do not permit harvested or stored fruit to get
- Washing is only necessary prior to consumption or
cooking, but if washing is necessary, be sure the water is
chlorinated (one part 5.25% liquid bleach to 999 parts water).
Prepare fresh wash solution when the water becomes cloudy and
chlorine cannot be detected. Dry thoroughly.
- For better keeping, some growers cure pumpkins
for 10 to 20 days at 80 to 85oF with good ventilation
(e.g. four air exchanges per day).
- Storage life of healthy pumpkins is typically 2
to 3 months without significant loss in quality.
For more extensive data on Pumpkin fungal rots and
similar blights see:
Pests of Pumpkin and Squash
Sharpshooter Natural Insecticide
Citric acid destroys the wax coating of the insect's respiratory system.
When applied directly, the insect suffocates. Sharpshooter is biodegradable.
Persons with known citrus allergies may be affected. Do not spray on red
mature fruits. Effective on most insects including aphids,
beetles, caterpillars, cutworms, earwigs, flies, gnats, lacebugs,
leafhoppers, loopers, mites, moths, snails/slugs, mosquitoes, whiteflies
Hot Pepper Wax
repels bugs from your plants, fruits and flowers. 100% natural spray
uses pepper extract and wax to effectively discourage pests. Helps to reduce
stress on cuttings.
for more extensive data
Pumpkins can be harvested whenever they are a deep, solid color
(orange for most varieties) and the rind is hard. If vines
remain healthy, harvest in late September or early October,
before heavy frosts. If vines die prematurely from disease or
other causes, harvest the mature fruit and store them in a
moderately warm, dry place until Halloween. Cut pumpkins from
the vines carefully, using pruning shears or a sharp knife and
leave 3 to 4 inches of stem attached. Snapping the stems from
the vines results in many broken or missing "handles." Pumpkins
without stems usually do not keep well. Wear gloves when
harvesting fruit because many varieties have sharp prickles on
Avoid cutting and bruising the pumpkins when handling them.
Fruits that are not fully mature or that have been injured or
subjected to heavy frost do not keep well. Store in a dry
building where the temperature is between 50 and 55°F.