Pumpkins

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Botanical name: Cucurbita maxima, C. moschata, C. argyrosperma

Plant type: Vegetable

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Any

Whether you use them for carving or cooking, pumpkins do not disappoint.

Note that pumpkins do require a lot of food and a long growing season (generally from 75 to 100 frost-free days) so you need to plant them by late May in northern locations to early July in extremely southern states.

Do not plant this tender vegetable until all danger of frost has passed and the soil is warmed as the seedlings will be injured or rot. (See the Almanac.com/Gardening page for frost dates.)

That said, pumpkins are easy to maintain if you have the space.

Planting

  • Pumpkins do best when the seeds are directly planted in the ground. However, if your growing season is very short, seed indoors in peat pots about 2 to 4 weeks before last spring frost. Be sure to harden off before transplanting.
  • The soil must be thoroughly warmed. Minimum soil temperature for germination is 70ºF. Optimum soil temperature is 95ºF. Pumpkins are very sensitive to the cold.
  • Pick a site with full sun (to light shade).
  • Pumpkins are big greedy feeders. They prefer very rich soil that is well-drained and not too soggy. Mix lots of compost and aged mature into the planting site before you sow seeds or tranplant.
  • Select a site with lots of space for the sprawling vines. Vine varieties need 50 to 100 square feet per hill.
  • However, if your garden space is limited, no worries! Plant pumpkins at the edge of the garden and direct vine growth across the lawn or sidewalk. The vines will only be bothersome for a few weeks. You can also grow pumpkins in big 5 to 10 gallon buckets! Or, try miniature varieties.
  • You plant seeds in rows or "pumpkin hills" which are the size of small pitcher mounds. With hills, the soil will warm more quickly and the seeds will germinate faster. This also helps with drainage and pest control.
  • Prepare the hills in advance with an abundance of old manure dug deep into the ground (12 to 15 inches).  If you don't have manure, loosen the soil and mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost
  • Plant the seeds 1 inch deep into the hills (4 to 5 seeds per hill). Space hills 4 to 8 feet apart. 
  • When the plants are 2 to 3 inches tall, thin to 2 to 3 plants per hill by snipping off unwanted plants without disturbing the roots of the remaining ones. 
  • In rows, sow seeds 6 to 12 inches apart in rows 6 to 10 feet apart. Snip off plants to thin to one plant every 18 to 36 inches.

Care

  • Use row covers to protect plants early in the season and to prevent insect problems. However, remember to remove covers before flowering to allow pollination by insects!
  • Pumpkins are very thirsty plants and need lots of water. Water one inch per week. Water deeply, especially during fruit set.
  • When watering: Try to keep foliage and fruit dry unless it’s a sunny day. Dampness will make rot more likely.
  • Add mulch around your pumpkins to keep in moisture, suppress weeks, and discourage pests.
  • Pumpkins need lots of nutrients. A regular treatment of manure or compost mixed with water will sustain good growth.
  • Fertilize on a regular basis. Use a high nitrogen formula in early plant growth. Fertilize when plants are about one foot tall, just before vines begin to run. Switch over to a fertilizer high in phosphorous just before the blooming period.
  • Remember that pumpkins are tender from planting to harvest. Control weeds with mulch. Do not overcultivate, or their very shallow roots may be damaged.
  • Most small vine varieties can be trained up a trellis.
  • Larger varieties can be trained upward on a trellis, too—though it is an engineering challenge to support the fruit—usually with netting or old stockings.
  • Pinch off the fuzzy ends of each vine after a few pumpkins have formed. This will stop vine growth so that the plant's energies are focused on the fruit.
  • If your first flowers aren't forming fruits, that's normal. Both male and female blossoms need to open. Be patient.
  • Bees are essential for pollination, so be mindful when using insecticides to kill pests. If you must use, apply only in late afternoon or early evening when blossoms are closed for the day.
  • Pumpkin vines, though obstinate, are very delicate. Take care not to damage vines, which reduces the quality of fruit.
  • Pruning the vines may help with space as well as allow the plant's energy to be concentrated on the remaining vines and fruit.
  • Gardeners who are looking for a "prize for size" pumpkin might select the two or three prime candidates and remove all other fruit and vines.
  • As the fruit develops, they should be turned (with great care not to hurt the vine or stem) to encourage an even shape.
  • Slip a thin board or a piece of plastic mesh under the pumpkins.

Pests

  • Squash bugs and cucumber beetles are common. Contract your local County Extension for controls.
  • Aphids
  • Powdery Mildew
  • Anthracnose
  • Poor light, too much fertilizer, poor weather at bloom time, and reduced pollinating insect activity can reduce fruit set.
  • Cucumber beetles and squash bugs can invest pumpkins, especially later in the summer.

Harvest/Storage

  • Your best bet is to harvest pumpkins when they are mature. They will keep best this way. Do not pick pumpkins off the vine because they have reached your desired size. If you want small pumpkins, buy a small variety.
  • A pumpkin is ripening when its skin turns a deep, solid color (orange for most varieties).
  • When you thumb the pumpkin, the rind will feel hard and it will sound hollow. Press your nail into the pumpkin's skin; if it resists puncture, it is ripe.
  • To harvest the pumpkin, cut the fruit off the vine carefully with a sharp knife or pruners; do not tear. Be sure not to cut too close to the pumpkin; a liberal amount of stem (3 to 4 inches) will increase the pumpkin's keeping time.
  • Handle pumpkins very gently or they may bruise.
  • Pumpkins should be cured in the sun for about a week to toughen the skin and then stored in a cool, dry bedroom or cellar—anywhere around 55ºF.
  • If you get a lot of vines and flowers but no pumpkins, you need more bees in your garden to pollinate the flowers. Grow some colorful flowers next to your pumpkin patch this year and you may get more bees and butterflies!

Recommended Varieties

  • ‘Jack Be Little’ miniature pumpkin variety, perfect for a holiday table. Vine variety. Days to maturity 90 to 100 days.
  • ‘Autumn Gold’ great for carving, decorating. All-America Selection winner. Vine variety. Excellent for Jack-o-Lanterns. Days to maturity are generally 100 to 120 days.
  • ‘Sugar Treat’ semi-bush hybrid. Ideal for cooking and baking. Days to maturity are generally 100 to 120 days.
  • ‘Dill’s Atlantic Giant’ jumbo variety can grow to 200 pounds. Great for those who want to grow a giant pumpkin. Vine will spread to 25 feet, so space is a must. Days to maturity are 130 to 160 days so plant early! Thin to the best one or two plants. Feed heavily but keep cultivation shallow. Remove first 2 or 3 female flowers after the plants start to bloom so that the plants grow larger with more leaf surface before setting fruit. Allow a single fruit to develop and pick off all female flowers that develop after this fruit has set on the plant. Take care that the vine doesn't root down near the joints to avoid breakage.

     

Recipes

Cooking Notes

Wit & Wisdom

  • Cucubits, such as pumpkins, are subject to an ongoing myth—that planting different family members or varieties will result in strange fruit. Actually, it is the seeds resulting from cross-pollination that are corrupted, so this is a factor only if you are planning to save seeds for next year's planting.
  • Did you know? A slice of pumpkin pie before bedtime may help you to sleep.
  • Learn about the history of carving pumpkins.
     

Comments

When switch fertilizer? Hi :)

By StephStens on July 10

When switch fertilizer?
Hi :) I'm wondering when I should switch to a high phosphorus and/or potassium fertilizer? I've been feeding my pumpkin plants high nitrogen plant food. They are still fairly small, main vines about 3 feet and the first male flowers appearing (but not blossoming yet).
I'm really hoping to get the most out of my pumpkin patch this year and any advice much MUCH appreciated!!

You've already got your

By Almanac Staff on July 11

You've already got your pumpkins off to a good start by applying higher concentrations of Nitrogen (but not too much) in the early growth stage. Before starting fertilizer, I hope your soil was prepared with generous amounts of organic matter such as manure and compost as pumpkins are big feeders.
Switch to a formula higher in phosphorus when the flowers appear--and through the flowering and fruit stage--such as 5-10-5 or 5-15-5.
After fruit set, you can add more potassium for fruit growth. Either switch to a higher potassium formula or just supplement your 5-10-5 or 5-15-5 with extra potassium.

I planted pumpkin in a raised

By Buddy's Mom on June 25

I planted pumpkin in a raised bed. I am concerned i planted it too close to the edge (I had no idea what I was doing, i have never had a garden before). At this point there is no fruit but the vines and leaves are overtaking the bed. Besides the pumpkin, there is only a hot pepper plant in the bed. I am wondering both if i can and should transplant the pumpkin or the peppers?

If the pumpkin is growing

By Almanac Staff on June 26

If the pumpkin is growing well leave it in the raised bed. We suggest that you move the hot pepper plant to a different location. The big pumpkin leaves would shade it too much.

The plants are growing VERY

By Nancy Donohue on July 4

The plants are growing VERY well in three long planters 26" long by 10" wide x 7"deep. Is it OK if the leaves and stems and vines cascade out over the sides of the planter and crawl along the grass in our yard to blossom and then bear fruit?

Hi! I just finished setting

By VanessaDawn on June 22

Hi! I just finished setting two different varieties in the same bed and forgot to separate before hand. I know, I wish I had been more organised... too excited I guess:/ Do you suppose the Pumkin patch will still be successful? I planted Rocket (Large Carving) pumkin as well as Pie Pumpkins. Feeling worried. TIA

Hello, so last fall I took my

By ErinSchmdt

Hello, so last fall I took my pumpkin and just tossed it into my garden that had tomatoes and cucumbers growing in it in the previous season. I figured that the pumpkin would not cause a problem and would just decompose. Well, this spring i noticed several (what I thought to be cucumber plants) in my garden. Today the first flower has bloomed and I realized that they are actually pumpkins! I was just wondering if you think my tomato and cucumber plants will come back as well or if the pumpkins will overtake the garden?

I am interested in growing

By Coopcow

I am interested in growing some pumpkins for this year's Halloween. My question is what time of year should I plant the seeds, I have always been told to plant them the 4th of July but I want to hear your recommendation. If it is any help I live in southern TN. Also if available, what would be the the best pumpkin variety for my area and wishes.

For best advice for your

By Almanac Staff

For best advice for your area, we'd recommend talking to your county's Cooperative Extension (http://www.almanac.com/content/cooperative-extension-services) or a garden nursery. To check planting times for your area, see:
 
www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-dates/
 
In general, for Tennesse, you can plant Halloween pumpkins in mid-June through early July. The exact timing will depend on the variety of pumpkin that you choose: check the days to maturity and time the planting so that they mature a week or two before Halloween. There are many varieties from which to choose, from minis to giants, to carving pumpkins to pie pumpkins. For jack-o-lanterns, you might consider something like 'Camaro', 'First Harvest', 'Gold Medal', or 'Early King'.

we grew pumpkins for years

By sus wolf

we grew pumpkins for years and tilled our compost into the garden. Now there are hundreds of pumpkins sprouted all over. Can we harvest and eat these just sprouted seeds.

we are brand new gardeners.

By earle724

we are brand new gardeners. We planted one pumpkin plant and the vines are about 6-10 feet long and growing out of the fence. How long do the vines typically grow? After reading I think we planted early. We have two baseball size pumpkins growing and still have lots of flowers. The leaves are larger than a piece of computer paper. Is that normal too? We are excited to see what happens.

Vine length will depend on

By Almanac Staff

Vine length will depend on the variety of pumpkin that you are growing. Some larger ones can grow more than 30 feet long. Leaf size sounds about right. When the pumpkin(s) are about grapefruit size, many gardeners prune the main vine so that it is about 10 to 15 feet beyond the last fruit that one wants to grow on it. They also trim secondary vines back to about 10 to 12 feet from the main vine. (Burying the trimmed ends may help to discourage disease and insects.) Pruning the vine ends allows the plant to focus its energy on forming the fruit rather than growing more vine, and also allows the plant to fit better in smaller gardens.

I have been keeping an eye on

By tulsadude

I have been keeping an eye on Youtubes Larry Hall and his kiddy pool and grow bag system and just planted a bag of Jack -O- lantern type pumpkins.Any ideas on how to do this better?

I am confused about how deep

By Hunter smith

I am confused about how deep the hole should be.. Also when you say 15 inches of manure is that the mixture of both manure and compost. Or is that just the manure? I would really like to know how deep the hole should be, and how deep the hole is, affects how much manure and compost should be put in the hole considering the depth. Thanks!

When we say 15 inches of

By Almanac Staff

When we say 15 inches of manure, we meet that you need to dig that far into the ground to loosen all the soil and mix in the old manure to that depth, too. This includes the depth of the hill which should be the size of a small baseball mound.
In terms of the planting depth, it is only 1 inch deep when planted at the top of the hill.

I planted different varieties

By Christine P

I planted different varieties of pumpkin last year; lots of vines and flowers. Some fruit set by dropped off the vine before maturing. Any ideas what I did wrong?

Hi Christine,  Good fruit set

By Almanac Staff

Hi Christine,  Good fruit set is usually related to pollination. Are you seeing lots of bee activity? The bees transfer the pollen from the male flower to the female flower. Poor pollination causes blossom drop.
Also, fruit set happens during a 2 to 3 week stretch so rainy and wet weather during that time can slow insect activity.
It can also be hard for the bees to pollinate if the plants have too many leaves; be careful not to use too much nitrogen fertilizer with encourage too many leaves at expense of flowers.

why i it bad to start seeds

By kelly wentz

why i it bad to start seeds indoors and when is the best time to start

It's not bad to start

By Almanac Staff

It's not bad to start pumpkins indoors. In fact, they SHOULD be started indoors if your area has a short growing season. The timing, however, is very important. Start seeds indoors, up to two weeks prior to setting outdoors which is usually around mid-May, however, you need to find out the outdoor date in your area. See our planting chart here:

www.almanac.com/plantingtable

I read this in the PLANTING

By Ruthy

I read this in the PLANTING section above: "You can also grow pumpkins in big 5 to 10 gallon buckets! Or, try miniature varieties." - My location is NJ (zip 08830). I believe I would have enough space to plant pumpkins inground in my backyard garden, but would like to try the buckets for this year. Should I start the seeds in the buckets indoors OR in peat pots instead, THEN transplant into a bucket and take it outdoorS? Also, should I drill holes at the bottoms of the buckets to allow proper drainage (like a pot)? Thank you!

Wait until the weather has

By Almanac Staff

Wait until the weather has warmed up and plant your seeds in the buckets outdoors. Place the buckets in a spot that gets full sun and make sure the buckets have draining holes. Use a light fast-draining potting mix and fertilize about once a week when the plants start growing. Don't grow more than 1 or 2 plants in each bucket.

I have a question that I

By DarleneJacobson

I have a question that I can't seem to find an answer to. Why is it not recommended to start pumpkin seeds indoors earlier that 2-3 weeks prior to the last frost date? If they were planted indoors with lights, would it be bad to plant sow the seeds now (March 23), when I would plant them outdoors around May 1st? What would be the negatives of doing this? Thank you so much. I love your article.

That's about right. You

By Almanac Staff

That's about right. You wouldn't want to seed pumpkins more than a few weeks before transplanting.
When you plant indoors to early, the plants get rootbound by the time you put them outdoors and won't transplant well.
In fact, pumpkins aren't great at transplanting in general; they prefer to be seeded in the ground, but the soil has to be quite warm so we understand why some people try to seed indoors.

I was wondering if you could

By Mary C Van Dyke

I was wondering if you could expand on the description of "hill" when planting, as well as, the best way to water. I have grown pumpkins in the past, with little luck (due to a variety of reasons: lack of pollination; lack of water; infestations of beetles and bugs; late planting.) I live in central New Mexico, and have tried to learn from my mistakes each time planting, but still have had little luck. Our soil is so sandy that we add several bags of peat and/or compost (currently in a 6 by 12 foot garden, but in the past a 6 by 40 foot garden) and loosen the soil at least 12 inches deep, working in the peat.

I truly do not understand the concept of a "hill"... and is that critical? I've always started with a level garden, then dug out long rows of valleys, which resulted in long rows of hills about 4 to 6 inches tall (where I plant the seeds).

I've tried to water with drip systems two ways: just the valleys, making sure they are thoroughly puddled; and directly over the plants' bases. Our drip system was watering for 20 minutes every other day, using 1/2 to one gallon drippers. Sometimes I didn't think that was enough, and manually watered until the ground was puddling.

Could you elaborate on the description of "hill", as well as, where the water needs to be focused? (directly on the plant, or saturating the areas around the "hills")

Happy to try to help. When we

By Almanac Staff

Happy to try to help. When we talk about a "hill," you want to create a mound of warm, fertile soil that is at least a 3-foot diameter in size. Why a hill? Pumpkins must have very warm soil and the hill takes the soil off the ground.
The soil must also be very rich in organic matter but loose and well plowed, not compact.
In the fall, we would also add composted manure. Further, we like to cover the hills with black plastic to get the soil very warm, at least a week before planting. Make sure the soil is moist but not wet.
We would suggest you contact your New Mexico cooperative extension for more local advice. Here is a good fact page from NMSU: http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_h/H231/welcome.html

I have had a little pumpkin

By Laetitia

I have had a little pumpkin sitting on my kitchen counter since mid-late October. Seeing as how it's the end of February, is there anything I can do with it or is it too late? Should I just throw it out? I'm scared to see what the inside looks like so I never cut it open.

If kept in a cool and dry

By Almanac Staff

If kept in a cool and dry place, pumpkins can store for 2 to 3 months. The only way to know is to cut it open!

Hi I grew some plants in

By Anonymous

Hi I grew some plants in school and I grew a pumpkin. I took it home when we were done and I was wondering if my growing conditions are okay. I have the plant growing in a pot by the window in my bedroom. Right now there is still snow on the ground because, well, i live in Canada. So, it is inside because I can't take it out.It has one flower on it and I water it every one or two days. I can't get my hands on any fertilizer. I know how to get it pollinated. Is there anything important that i'm missing?

You can seed pumpkin inside

By Almanac Staff

You can seed pumpkin inside in 2- to 3-inch pots. We're not sure what was used at school, but a good seed-staring mix should have plenty of nutrients. Provide water to the pumpkin every couple of days. Do not soak the soil each day. Let the soil dry out a little on the top first, then water thoroughly. The main issue is sunlight. Pumpkins need LOTS of direct sunlight to thrive. A sunny window may not be enough; in Canada, you may need grow lights.
Also, you have seeded too early. You need to seed indoors about 3 to 4 weeks before you would plant outside in the ground and you shouldn't plant pumpkin seedlings in the ground until 2 weeks after the last spring frost. For Canada, it depends where you live, but the last frost might be around late May/early June.
You could either plant the seedlings with a protective cover or you could just keep the bottom of the tray moist, or put some extra soil in the bottom of the tray, or transplant to a larger pot until it's time to go outside!
Hope this helps, the OFA editors

Thank you sooo much! I had

By Anonymous

Thank you sooo much! I had absolutely NO idea what I was doing. This will help, but I might not be able to get bigger pots. I'll try to, though.

When can I start planting my

By Eric Lundborg

When can I start planting my seeds I have a good spot and I live in OK.

You can maybe start in a

By Nilah

You can maybe start in a sunny season like May or April.
Try it.

Pumpkin seeds won't germinate

By Almanac Staff

Pumpkin seeds won't germinate below 60°F so delay planting until after the date of the last spring frost.

Hi! I'm having trouble

By MarieK

Hi! I'm having trouble finding information about pumpkin leaves! In Africa- acquired a wonderful taste for these. I do not know which variety may produce the most scrumptious ones and fo growing in SE Washington. Looking more for leaves than actual pumpkin outcome. Any suggestions?

I would like to know how you

By Susan margaret Ryan

I would like to know how you eat or cook pumpkin leaves it sounds interesting. I have plants with many leaves and flowers but not many pumpkins.
Thanks

How interesting! We don't

By Almanac Staff

How interesting! We don't know which variety you might like best, but suggest that any variety here will do as long as you use leaves that are young, soft, and tender. As we do not have ethnic markets which carry pumpkin leaves, you might need to find a willing gardener who isn't obsessed about growing the largest pumpkin as the leaves are important to their growth.

Any special instructions for

By Martha Ramsey

Any special instructions for growing pumpkins in the central Texas? I bought a lovely little pie pumpkin before Thanksgiving and would like to plant the seeds I saved.

this is a wonderful site, but I can't find anyone writing from Texas.

After all danger of frost is

By Almanac Staff

After all danger of frost is past plant pumpkin seeds about 1 / 2 to 1 inch deep in groups of 3-5 plants. These vegetables are not fond of cool soil so don't plant too early in Central Texas. May to early June is about ideal and n o later than late June. Many types can take over 100 days to mature fruit.
Our gardening blogger, Doreen, actually lived in Texas for many years; she now lives in the Midwest but her blog tends to be relevant for North America and does not get too specific about one state or another. If you ever have questions for her, I'm sure she'd be happy to answer and she has that Texas perspective. Her blog is here: http://www.almanac.com/gardening/blog

I decide to grow some

By MelissaRosado

I decide to grow some pumpkins for next halloween for my children. No the seeds I've have cleaned then, dried and left them out on top of my refrigerator. And my question is are they still good for planting. And around what time of the year would be best for me to plant them since I'm in NJ

If the pumpkin freezes are

By Mike butts

If the pumpkin freezes are the seeds still good?

We'd go for it. Clean and dry

By Almanac Staff

We'd go for it. Clean and dry the seeds and see if they're good. After all, pumpkins reseed themselves from season to season, surviving the winter!

I would like to plant a few

By Anonymous

I would like to plant a few pumpkin seeds in my classroom now (in Canada). I would like the students to be able to see the whole process (planting in spring means they miss the whole summer part and some students will be in another classroom before "harvest"). If we put them by a window, and water/fertilize as needed, will they produce fruit? We have a big rolling water table that could be used, so I don't think space will be the issue.

We understand your challenge

By Almanac Staff

We understand your challenge but the soil and air needs to be warm for growth to begin. Plant your pumpkin seeds after the danger of frost has passed in early spring and the soil is thoroughly warm. You'll need about three to four months of warm growing days with daytime temperatures above 75 degrees. One idea: You can plant your seeds at the end of the school year (May/June) and then harvest pumpkins at the beginning of the next school year.

Hi! I am needing to know how

By Tammie Herring

Hi! I am needing to know how to store my seeds until spring? We live in Oklahoma, and so we will probably plant early July, but how to I keep my seeds fresh until then? Do I keep them moist or dry? In an air tight container or air flowing container?

We've been accidentally growing them for 2-3 years, this time we are looking to do it right! I've read how to plant and care for them, but its the before I need help with. Thanks!

You simply dry out the

By Almanac Staff

You simply dry out the cleaned seeds on wax paper for a couple days, then let them sit on a tray in a cool dark place for a few weeks and then store in an envelope until time to plant! Select the largest seeds and throw out any moldy ones.

I want to plant my pumpkin

By Charbar

I want to plant my pumpkin seeds today(October 27,2013) I want to get it done today I live in CT. It is getting cold and I don't know what to do. From some of comments it looks like they come in at spring time. I don't know if I should plant them wet or dry. My friend told me to to keep them wet, but my dad says they should be dry. Help me please with a reply who can help

Plant the seeds in the

By Almanac Staff

Plant the seeds in the spring. It's too cold to grow pumpkins this time of year in Ct. Plant the seeds in the ground when the soil has warmed up.

I usually have someone else

By dontknowwhatimdoing

I usually have someone else do the planting and I tend to the plants, well this time I want to do the planting and tending but I've been known to kill any and all plants. How can I make sure I don't kill my pumpkins and will my seeds hold out until late May-early July? I've never grown pumpkins before and I'm not sure what is to be done.

Your seeds should be OK to

By Almanac Staff

Your seeds should be OK to plant next spring. Read the advice on this page about planting and caring for your pumpkin plants.

This is a tip: A pumpkin is

By Katarina

This is a tip: A pumpkin is not a vegetable it is a fruit....... I learned that from other websites and the dictionary...... it helps to know

You are the reason for the

By Jim Bob Joe Billy Bob Joe Jim

You are the reason for the worldwide shortage of periods. One per sentence is all that's required. Please use them responsibly.

Although it may be true that pumpkins are a fruit, how that makes any difference in growing them is beyond me. Call them fish for all I care, they'll still grow as long as you follow the advice given above.

Hiya, Have had my first

By mitthbev

Hiya,

Have had my first garden since AGES, and chose what I would thought would grow naturally well here as don't have a green thumb, and grew up in the So Cal desert where there really was no gardens! I am in North Wales of the UK now. Very wet, so thought pumpkins would do well (and Chester zoo has a huge, thriving pumpkin patch). Despite my dreams of being inundated with pumpkins LOL Have 2 that have made it. One very big (first that fruited), and a much smaller one that came later. All the others didn't make it past much at all. I didn't see many bees early on, but might also be the soil. Def no lack of water. Anyway, have read this about harvesting and know the vines and leaves dwindle as the fruit ripens, but am still not sure. As my vines are feeling VERY dodgy and soft. Main pest problem is slugs and snails, but has also turned colder and extra rainy here (though nowhere close to frost). My big one is maybe 1/4 orange...the smaller one just a bit. I know you say to wait until mature, but what if the vine feels so dodgy, soft and maybe rotting? Should I cut the pumpkin off now?

Also, what should I do with the vine remains? If want to plant next year, should I pull the remians out, or sort of dice them into the soil? What's the best way to winter prepare for the next year? many thanks and such a great page of info

Hello, If the vines are soft

By Almanac Staff

Hello,
If the vines are soft and mushy close to the pumpkins it's better to harvest the fruit now and put them in a nice warm, sunny spot outdoors. Remove all the vines and debris from your garden and put them in your compost pile. If the vines look like they have a disease destroy them and don't compost.

Ok will do. Thanks so much!

By mitthbev

Ok will do. Thanks so much!

We have been growing 5

By Freezie pumpkins

We have been growing 5 acker's of pumpkins for about 6 years. We cover the pumpkins that we have picked with some tarps when we know it is going to freeze. I this necessary to do? and what happens to the pumpkins in the field yet? will they freeze and rot?

Yes, covering your pumpkins

By Almanac Staff

Yes, covering your pumpkins is a good way to protect from frost. However, if a hard freeze is coming, you really need to take them in. The vines will die and the pumpkin may go soft.

Help! I bought a beautiful

By MCD

Help! I bought a beautiful large pumpkin and knocked the stem off getting it into the car! What can I do to keep this wonderful guy safe and happy as long as possible? I'd like it to sit on my shady porch through Thanksgiving and it's only October 6th now. How can I make the best out of a tragic pumpkin accident?

Wipe the pumpkin with a

By Almanac Staff

Wipe the pumpkin with a bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) and then put a dab of petroleum jelly on the spot where the stem broke off. Good luck!

I have an accidental pumpkin

By Jenn1985

I have an accidental pumpkin growing. It has thrived through everything WA State has thrown at it but it in now Oct 5th and even though it is huge with a hard rind it is still green. A very dark green at that. Am I supposed to removed it from its vine in order for it to turn its orange color or wait longer?

Some Pumpkin Varieties do

By susanna amethyst

Some Pumpkin Varieties do have very dark green skin, they are suppose to be that way. The flesh inside will very likely be orange. It sound to me that your pumpkin is ready to harvest. Enjoy, try Pumpkin Soup with a little bit of Laksa Paste &Coconut Cream added, it's yummy

It's best to leave the

By Almanac Staff

It's best to leave the pumpkin on the vine. Cut away any leaves that shade the pumpkin and make sure it gets as much sunlight as possible.

Last year I disposed of a

By haywood

Last year I disposed of a rotting miniature pumpkin in a hole (from a removed shrub), and this year I have pumpkins growing. I never prepared the soil or anything. My luck is that I can only grow what I don't want or try to grow them, so very happy that I have 4-6 pumpkins growing. Probably needed to thin them out to have better growth, as I have about 8 different vines - they have survived my neighbor mowing over them, and even have some powdery mildew. Have watered every day (or every few days) and given a few scoops of dog "treats" to help them along. Temps have dropped to below 60 at night, but everything still looks great. Most are still dark green, so not sure when they will turn or when I should harvest..which brought me to your site. Thanks for the wonderful information.

We are first time pumpkin

By Aleks

We are first time pumpkin planters in Calgary AB. We planted from a big box seed packet we bought. The pumpkins that grew are yellow. will they eventually turn orange? or is it a variety of yellow that I've never heard of? Also, we had our first frost a few days ago, and the leaves are all dead. But the vines still look viable. Will my pumpkins still grow?

Hello, we are in Windsor

By DK

Hello, we are in Windsor Ontario and first time growers as well. Ours started as a bright yellow (like a squash) and then turned, eventually, into a beautiful orange. Yours will get there as well!!

Harvest the pumpkins if there

By Almanac Staff

Harvest the pumpkins if there is a chance of more frosty nights. They will not grow much more on the vines. Store them in a sunny sheltered place or bring them indoors. The pumpkins may turn a light orange but they will probably stay yellow.

This year we had a volunteer

By Heather in Oregon

This year we had a volunteer pumpkin start in our compost pile. I kept it watered through the summer and it has thrived. There are 6 good sized pumpkins on it, all of which are at least 1/2 ripe. However, we are due to get a big, big storm this weekend and I suspect that if I don't want them damaged I need to pick them. It's not likely to ever get warm enough for me to set them out to "cure" in the sun before putting them in storage. We're not even due any sun for at least the next week. Can I pick them now and just put them into storage? Is there are way to increase their longevity without them having had a chance to toughen up? My kids really want these as their Halloween pumpkins but I'm wondering if that is feasible given the circumstances.

Hi Heather, Though it's best

By Almanac Staff

Hi Heather, Though it's best to harvest pumpkins when they are mature, they will ripen off the vine IF they are already turning color and if held under the proper conditions. Cut pumpkins from the vines gently with a sharp knife or pruners and leave 3 to 4 inches of stem attached so they will keep longer. Ideally, ripen in a well-ventilated barn or greenhouse at temps of 80 to 85 degrees F with a relative humidity of 80-85%. Night temperatures should not drop below the 60s. Even if pumpkins are ripe, a period of curing can improve storage life. The curing period should be about 10 days. During this process, the fruit skin hardens to keep it from rotting. Then, just store in a cool, dry place where the temperature is between 50 and 60 degrees F.

I have a pumpkin vine on

By Sunny Gene

I have a pumpkin vine on which half of the fruit started light yellow (and is turning orange) and half dark green (not changing color). I now have large beautiful orange pumpkins and small dark green ones. The seed package shows orange pumpkins so I'm confused as to why I have green ones. Will they eventually grow and ripen?'

Some pumpkins just ripen

By Almanac Staff

Some pumpkins just ripen faster than others and it could be related to their location on the vine, how much sun they're getting, and other factors. Unless frost is coming, just let those immature pumpkins ripen on the vine; cut any leaves back to give them plenty of the remaining sunlight.

Hello. Live north of Edmonton

By Tracey C

Hello. Live north of Edmonton AB and got frost last night. Didn't cover pumpkins. Leaves are done. Will pumpkins still ripen on the vine if we cover at night to protect from further frost? Thanks

A light frost will destroy

By Almanac Staff

A light frost will destroy the vines but should not harm the fruit. You could keep it on the vine but it won't grow; we'd probably remove it to avoid pest and disease issues. A hard freeze may damage the fruit.

If I were to pick my pumpkins

By MrsSweet09

If I were to pick my pumpkins now would they keep until Halloween?

Yes, your pumpkins will

By Almanac Staff

Yes, your pumpkins will definitely last until Halloween if you treat them right. When you harvest them, keep the stem, let them cure in the sun for 10 days, and store in a dry cool place. With proper care, your pumpkins could last through the winter.

While harvesting a prize

By don mulligan

While harvesting a prize pumpkin, I cut a small slice in the skin of a big max. I assume that spot will start to rot. Is there anything I can use to fill the slice and stop the rotting?

Perhaps you could do what we

By Almanac Staff

Perhaps you could do what we do to keep carved pumpkins from rotting. Dab the cut surface with Chlorox Clean-up (with Bleach) and let it dry. Lightly rub on petroleum jelly to keep out new bacteria. Store in a dark, cool place.

When is it too late to water

By Cha

When is it too late to water the pumpkins And how to prevent holes in the pumpkin

When to water?  Pumpkins are

By Almanac Staff

When to water?  Pumpkins are ALWAYS thirsty. They are 80 to 90% water. The question is: How much? Just turn off the water when puddles appear and wait until the soil is just dry on the top before watering again. By mid-August the plants are pulling in a huge amount of water. If it’s a dry season, give each plant 15 to 20 gallons of water twice a week. Water in the evening, and do not water the leaves; water at the base of the plant to avoid disease.

Once again, I'm another 1st

By JJMims

Once again, I'm another 1st time grower. My plants are doing sooo well, I would like to plant the same ones next year...the problem...I can't remember which ones I planted. How can I plant from these pumpkins for next year, bc we have MANY!?!....we have close to 30 from only 6 plants!

You can save the seeds from a

By Almanac Staff

You can save the seeds from a mature pumpkin and plant them next year. Make sure you dry the seeds well and then store them in a paper envelope. Good luck!

I live in central Fl I panted

By MaryMcKirt

I live in central Fl I panted my pumpkins in the in of July begining of August and I have male and female flowers but am I late for my area and what time should I planted

Hi Mary, You will probably

By Almanac Staff

Hi Mary,
You will probably not get pumpkins for Halloween. Look at  the seed package for days to maturity to figure out when to plant. Maturity of pumpkins varies from 70 to 120 days. Most varieties should be planted by early July to ripen in time for Halloween.Fall is a good time to grow squashes and pumpkins in Florida. You will enjoy your pumpkins for Thanksgiving.

in my garden the pumpkins are

By ANUBHA BHOKARDANKAR

in my garden the pumpkins are too small and they fall off before getting matured. how can i solve this problem??

Pumpkins need lots of sun,

By Almanac Staff

Pumpkins need lots of sun, moisture and fertilizer. Make sure to dig aged manure or compost into the soil before planting pumpkins and sidedress the plants as they start growing. For bigger pumpkins it sometimes helps to keep just 2-3 pumpkins on a vine.

It is the first week of

By Ist Timer

It is the first week of September and I have two ripe pumpkins, about the size of a basketball. The vines are still green. I want to harvest them before they get stolen or damaged, but I do not have the proper conditions (55 degrees) to store them until Halloween. The temperatures are still in the 70s to 80s.

I have elevated the pumpkins to get them off the ground to (hopefully) prevent rot.

Any suggestions you have regarding harvesting/ storing until Halloween would be greatly appreciated.

I have 5 very large pumpkins,

By m. cian

I have 5 very large pumpkins, some are starting to turn orange. Have a huge problem of powdery mildew so i cut off some of the vines and by mistake took the ones the pumpkins were attached to. Will I lose the pumpkins or will they still continue to turn orange?

Leave as much vine as

By Almanac Staff

Leave as much vine as possible on the pumpkins and put them in a well ventilated sunny spot. Turn the greenest part of the pumpkin towards the sun.

im a first time pink pumpkin

By anthony sebesta

im a first time pink pumpkin grower how do i know when there ready to harvest? there some what pink now but have few brown spots is that from getting water directly on them? can some one guide me on this so i dont loose my pink pumpkins thx

my pumpkins are doing good

By bitela

my pumpkins are doing good but my vines are wilting and turning brown. Please help

I have pumpkins growing

By bitela

I have pumpkins growing however its the vines I'm worried about. The are starting to wilt and turn brown they were nice and green with big green leafs but not no more. What do I do

It is natural for vines to

By Almanac Staff

It is natural for vines to wilt towards the end of the season and when the pumpkins are close to mature. If you still have green pumpkins on the vines you should check for insects. Squash bugs or borers can cause a lot of damage. Hand pick if possible or use an insecticidal soap or neem oil.
If you have white spots on the leaves it could be a form of powdery mildew.

this is the first time I have

By Lisa Anne

this is the first time I have ever tried to grow pumpkins, I have a huge mass of vines everywhere and only three pumpkins all green. my biggest pumpkin had a bubble of an almost ooze like substance on it where the flower was falling off, is that normal or is it starting to rot inside?

I planted my pumpkins in the

By Loretta Wermerson

I planted my pumpkins in the beginning of may, the vines now look brown and dead and I have about 25 mid size pumpkins. What should I do to try to keep these pumpkins until Halloween? Should I put them in my basement? and Also do you think that they will make it for Halloween?

You can leave the pumpkins in

By Almanac Staff

You can leave the pumpkins in the field or you can store them in a cool basement. Make sure there is good ventilation and check the pumpkins often.

I heard there was a way to

By arthur stueber

I heard there was a way to preserve pumpkins longer by giving them a wash with some kind of solution. do you know what that wash would be? thank you

Some people wash pumpkins

By Almanac Staff

Some people wash pumpkins with a chlorine bleach solution before storing them. Mix 1–2 tablespoons of bleach into a gallon of water. Wash the pumpkin and then dry completely.

My vine produced a single

By Amanda C.

My vine produced a single fruit about 10 days ago. The pumpkin is still solid green with thin skin. Yesterday, the gardeners cut the vine with the lawn mower and the vine is already wilted. Is there anything I can do to save the fruit?

If the vine was cut the

By Almanac Staff

If the vine was cut the pumpkin is not going to grow more.With thin skin the pumpkin is not going to survive for long. Sorry!

I live in Suffolk County on

By KMY

I live in Suffolk County on Long Island, NY. I am an organic Home Gardner and a first time pumpkin grower. I picked out a seed variety for decorate use as jack o'latern. In late May planted 15 seeds, none germinated. In early June planted the remaining 15 seeds and now have (1) huge plant, about 20 feet long.

It is growing on a southern exposure receieving about 8 hours of early sun daily, with some additional dappled late day exposure. The vine is growing both on along the ground & has sent shoots growing up an along a fence.

The plant has been flowering for about 3-4 weeks. I am finally seeing small quarter sized(mini pumpkin looking)growth on the ends of 3 or 4 vines with flower buds that have not yet opened. It's already the end of August. Am I going to have any pumpkins ripen in time for halloween? Is there anything I can do to expedite the flowers to open so they can be pollination?

If the weather stays warm

By Almanac Staff

If the weather stays warm your pumpkins will grow and get bigger. You may want to pinch off some of the side shoots (vines) so that most of the energy goes to the main vine and the vines that the pumpkins are on. You may also consider to remove any new small pumpkins that probably will not mature to give the bigger pumpkins a chance to grow to full size.

I planted my pumpkins in late

By jessy_1992

I planted my pumpkins in late April and im afraid that they will be ripe before Halloween. they look like they will be
ready in mid September should I pick them and put them away somewhere or should I just leave them on the vine?

We would pick them when they

By Almanac Staff

We would pick them when they are ready to avoid pest issues. Then store as described on this page.

If picked and stored as you

By hulagirl

If picked and stored as you described, will they keep until Halloween?

Help!! I was putting a small

By Cassandra V

Help!! I was putting a small piece of wood under my growing pumpkin and I accidentally scratched the fruit with my fingernail. My pumpkin is still green and the scratch just took a bit of the outer layer off and is not deep. Will this kill my pumpkin? Is there anything I can do to help it or just leave it alone?

My pumpkin is about the size of basketball, its the largest we have, and we only have three others!

It will be fine .. Chipmunks

By Lindsey8888

It will be fine .. Chipmunks take big chunks out of some of my pie pumpkins they will develop a scab .. I have 22 in my patch !!!!

my plant has several nice

By mouser45

my plant has several nice size pumpkins but there are insects on many of the leaves...look like little dark red larcae(?) and insects are tiny spidey looking..can find them in list of pests. TY... Illinois

The insects are probably a

By Almanac Staff

The insects are probably a type of squash bugs. Removing the eggs on the underside of the leaves in early summer will cut back on adult bugs (but that's too late now). You can try to trap them under planks or newspaper in the garden as they like dark and damp places. You can also try to spray with neem oil (found in garden centers).

Hi, our pumpkins weren't

By Brian Jones

Hi, our pumpkins weren't planted this year, they're from rotted pumpkins that were thrown in our compost pile from last year. It's the middle of August and the vine has stretched everywhere, there are lots of flowers, but I don't see any pumpkins. Now, it looks as though the plant is dying. What should I be doing? What can I do to save it, or since there aren't any pumpkins, is it a waste of my time to try and save it?

Check to see if any of the

By Almanac Staff

Check to see if any of the flowers are female (they have a small bump below the flower). If you do have female flowers and no pumpkins you may lack pollinators. You can pollinate by hand but it may be too late in the season for the pumpkins to have time to mature.

Hello, I too am a first timer

By Doc south-central, Pa.

Hello, I too am a first timer planter. I planted small starter plants on May 5. I have 8 orange pumpkins and 4 green ones. My question is: I've had a bout with powdery mildew and have trimmed a lot of leaves. Do my remaining pumpkins need leaves? I want these pumpkins for carving and I don't have a cool spot. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

Leave the pumpkins in the

By Almanac Staff

Leave the pumpkins in the garden as long as possible. You can pick the orange ones and put them in a shady spot outside. Pumpkins need leaves to grow flowers and fruit. If the vine is still green and the pumpkins are attached to the vine the pumpkins should be OK with just a few leaves.

Help! I am a first time,

By LizP2013

Help! I am a first time, accidental pumpkin grower. My kids planted them, and the plants are taking over, and twisting around neighboring flowering plants that I love. They were planted in a fairly unoccupied corner, but the vine has grown about 15 feet along the base of many other plants, and there are vines climbing up and twisting around the other plants, some of which belong to my neighbors. Is there any way I can prune the pumpkin plants back at this point (were planted as seedlings around Memorial Day) without killing the entire vine? Otherwise I may have to pull the whole thing out, I'm so terrified what it might be doing to the beautiful plants around it. Many thanks for your advice.

You can prune the vine when

By Almanac Staff

You can prune the vine when it reaches ten feet past the last fruit you are leaving on the plant. It will not harm the growing pumpkins. Also, take the cut end of the vine and bury it.

This is Grandma's First

By Carol Bri

This is Grandma's First Pumpkin Patch & the grandkids are loving watching the pumpkins grow. There are 5 pumpkins growing on the vines. I planted the pumpkin seeds May 18. Our first female pumpkin blossom to open was pollinated by bees July 26. It is has grown really fast & is now bigger than a basketball & the top is starting to turn orange. Squirrels have been bothering the pumpkin vines for the few past weeks & I'm worried they will bother the pumpkins next. I have been counting the days till harvest from the day the female blossoms were pollinated but none of the pumpkins is over 3 weeks old. Do you think they are turning orange because they are rotting? Anything I can do to save them? Thank You for any help you can give us. :)

Once the pumpkin is

By Almanac Staff

Once the pumpkin is pollinated, the fruit should get ripe in 45 to 55 days. Your standard Halloween pumpkin starts out green and once it turns orange with a hard rind, it's ready to be harvested. You need to pick it, cure it, and store it -- and perhaps the vine will grow more fruit. However, if your pumpkin is a large pumpkin squash type (Cucurbita maxima), they turn orange early and just keep getting oranger and oranger. When the rind gets hard and mature, then it's time to harvest.

Thank you so much for your

By Carol Bri

Thank you so much for your help. So glad to hear pumpkins get ripe in 45 to 55 days. Package said 110 days & we thought it meant to start counting from the date the female blossom was pollinated by the bees. We are harvesting a couple of the bigger pumpkins that are turning orange to try to keep them safe from the squirrels till Halloween. Already have a new little pumpkin growing. Not sure who is enjoying watching them grow more, Grandma & Grandpa or the grandkids :)Thank you again for all your help!

My pumpkins are turning

By Carol Bri

My pumpkins are turning orange around the top already. Does that mean they are done growing larger? Can I harvest them now so the squirrels & insects don't damage them? Will they keep till Halloween? Thank You for your help! :)

Once your pumpkins are mature

By Almanac Staff

Once your pumpkins are mature with that deep orange color and hardened rind, you can harvest them instead of holding the fruit in the field--to avoid pests and disease. Cure them for 10 days as discussed on this page. Under the right conditions, you can store pumpkins 8 to 12 weeks.

My grandson ad I planted a

By sady johnson

My grandson ad I planted a pumpkin plant and it' lly a long vine now. We see lots of bl;ooms but they fall off. we had a powdery looking leaves nd we cut the vine to these leaves and put the other end of the vine in the ground, so it looks healthy now. we see bees pollinating them too.anything else I can do so my grandson will have at least one pumpkin for Halloween?

The male flowers come first

By Almanac Staff

The male flowers come first and will fall off. About 7 to 10 day later, the female flowers will show up. Then, the bees can pollinate.  If you want to speed things up, you can take a Q-tip and move the pollen from the male flower to the female flower in the morning when both flowers are present and open.
If foliage is going down from powdery mildew, this may help with ripening, too.

Many of our pumpkins are

By Burt Simbro

Many of our pumpkins are mature already. Can we leave them on the vine or should we harvest them and try to store for later?

Once your pumpkins are mature

By Almanac Staff

Once your pumpkins are mature with that deep orange color and hardened rind, we recommend that cure them and store under proper conditions, if it is feasible. This way you avoid disease and pests. If you need/want to hold fruit in the field for pick your own or any other reason, using a protectant fungicide (eg chlorothalonil) to deter black rot, powdery mildew and some of the other fruit rots. Under the right conditions, you can store pumpkins 8 to 12 weeks.

I'm growing large pumpkins

By anna tims stone

I'm growing large pumpkins for the first time .It has been fun to watgch them grow the largest one is 24 ins. around and about 75 lbs. but they are beginning to decay.I live in Texas so it is pretty hot and so I feel like we have to water a lot, could that be the problem? I really wanted them to grow BIG the seeds said about 100lbs at maturity.Any advice would be appreciated.

Sunny, dry Texas weather can

By Almanac Staff

Sunny, dry Texas weather can be good for pumpkins as well as the soil is kept moist and cool with mulch and you water deeply. Rot usually comes from humidity or damaged vines.  Check your vines to make sure not are damaged. If they are, you should remove the pumpkins and let them ripen in the sun off the vine. Also, put boards or stones under your pumpkin to avoid rotting. After curing, pumpkins will last months if properly stored.

When do you plants plunking

By SHERRIE GRAHAM

When do you plants plunking in for in time for
Hollween?

Look at the "days to

By Almanac Staff

Look at the "days to maturity" on your seed packet. This varies by pumpkind type.

this is my first time growing

By Lynda S.

this is my first time growing pumpkins and I'm very excited, but I live in Michigan and it's the beginning of August and the female flowers are still green. Is this normal? And also, once the female flowers do start growing, is that when the bees start pollinating?

Once the female flowers open,

By Almanac Staff

Once the female flowers open, the bees will make their rounds! Make sure your pumpkins get LOTs of water while flowers are blooming and they will progress.

Today is July 31, 2013 I

By Stonecoldwolv

Today is July 31, 2013 I fertilized with liquid Neptune fertilize three days ago. It was a 2-3-1. When I went out I notice on two of my pumpkins the outside orange part was being striped off. I decided to remove the 19 pumpkins that were already all orange to protect them. I was trying to keep them on the vine for as long as possible. Will the pumpkins keep until october? I have them sitting in the sun. I live in SoCal it is about 90-98 degrees daily. I am going to live them outside for a week them bring them in. I am going to put them in a cool dark room in boxes. Will they last??? I realized I planted a month to early. It's hard in SoCal because of the heat waves we get that stresses the plant. Thank you for advice.

Hi! I need some advice! We

By spudich

Hi! I need some advice! We are in Texas and we accidentally planted pumpkins in our flower bed last year. We have a beautiful thriving vine, but our lease is up on our house and we have to move. My children are devastated that they will not get to see the fruits of their labor. Is it possible to transplant the vine since it hasn't fruited, if we leave a big enough root ball? Please help! Thanks!

Pumpkins can not be disturbed

By Almanac Staff

Pumpkins can not be disturbed while they are growing. You can, however, harvest a bit early. Though a mature pumpkin has a deep orange color and hardened rind, you can pick them as soon as the pumpkin starts to change color. It will ripen off the vine if is in a well-ventilated barn or greenhouse. If the pumpkin is still green, however, it will not ripen as you wish. The best temperatures for ripening are 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of 80 to 85%. Night temperatures should not drop below the sixties. stored in a cool, dry place. Ideal temperatures are between 50° and 60° F and relative humidity of 50 to 70%.

If you are going to carve the

By Adrianna S

If you are going to carve the pumpkin, do you still need to cure it? TY!

Yes, you should cure your

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you should cure your pumpkins if you plan to carve it so it lasts and so that you have those nice thick skins. After harvesting, wash the pumpkins with soapy water containing one part of chlorine bleach to 10 parts water to remove soil and kill bacteria that causes rotting.  Dry well. Cure at 80-85°F and 80-85 percent relative humidity for 10 days.You can cure right in the field.

I have a large garden But,

By Trisha Fawcett

I have a large garden But, got a late start planting so the only thing that went in was pumpkins I have probably about 8 plant. I have lots of vines lots of big flowers which I am assuming are the male flowers. What do the female flowers look like? Also, I have noticed lots of bees lately but no pumpkins I don't have anything that even looks like the begining of a pumpkin. Should my pumpkins be started yet. If so is there something I can do to help them?

A pumpkin plant's "days to

By Almanac Staff

A pumpkin plant's "days to maturity" depends on the variety. Look at the seed pack. It can range from 85 to 160 days so, for example, if you want pumpkins by Halloween, count back this many days. In the U.S., most folks plant between late May and late June to get pumpkins mature in time for Halloween. The male flowers come first and the female flowers will come around 7 to 10 days later. The female blossom has a small bulb at the base. The female blossoms only open for one day so it's important the weather is good and that bees are around to transfer the pollen from to the male to the female. 

I have two plants with plenty

By Lynn C.

I have two plants with plenty of male flowers but I still can't see any female flowers growing. The male flowers have been blooming for almost a month now and still no females. I just looked today and saw what looks like two female flowers but they are still green yet . Are the female flowers dieing off or is it normal for it to take this long for the female flowers to start blooming? Thanks in advance.

This problem does happen.

By Almanac Staff

This problem does happen. Pumpkins can take a long time to grow, especially if weather has been inconsistent. We hope the female flowers will arrive soon! One idea is to pinch off the main root to encourage lateral branching with female flowers. Also, be sure that you are attracting pollinators (bees) and that you aren't using insecticides (which deters or kills bees).
 

I had put netting over the

By Gale Weller

I had put netting over the garden about 3 feet high to prevent my dogs from getting into my garden, now the pumpkin is attaching to the netting, should I try to detach the smaller vines or just leave them alone?

Leave the pumpkins

By Almanac Staff

Leave the pumpkins alone. They don't like to be disturbed and you'll find that they actually use the netting for support. You can twine the vine tendrils through the netting as they grow.

first time pumpkin grower and

By first time pumkin grower

first time pumpkin grower and so far its great. huge leaves lots of vines from 1 seed. I have two large pumpkins one is starting to turn yellow. I have noticed several other marble size pumpkins but they dry up and never get bigger. when I harvest the big pumpkins will the plant produce more and get the size of a regular pumpkin? Or will these be the only ones I get?

Pumpkin growing is an art.

By Almanac Staff

Pumpkin growing is an art. Some people want more (smaller) pumpkins; others want to grow one giant pumpkin. It's probably late in the game to control the growth, but if you wanted fewer, larger pumpkins, you would let a few pumpkins fruit and then pinch off any new flowers are they bloomed. You can increase pumpkin yield by pinching the tips out of main vines when they reach about 2 feet long. 
When pumpkins do not fruit well, it's because of pollination; both male and female flowers need to open at the same time and you need to have bees who will pollinate. As long as new blossoms grow and get pollinated, and your conditions are amenable, new fruit will form.
 

Hello. I planted about forty

By PuceEmu

Hello. I planted about forty pumpkins and chose the best ones and thinned out to seven plants and they were growing like crazy and suddenly the best, biggest one started turning yellow and then the edges of the leaves started browning and sections of the leaves are now crumbling away. I want to cry. The Internet is filled with scary options of disease. This is my first year in this house and we have a huge huge yard but it has been neglected and the whole thing is just dirt. So I cultivated and tilled an old flower bed and put good soil in and the plants and a soaker hose and then mulch and they were doing wonderfully but now this. I had thought it was potassium deficiency, or general stress, but now other plants have started going yellow and one is looking unnaturally wilty. Either I am overwatering (it is very hot here and desert environment) or sun scorch (full sun) or a deficiency of some sort or a disease. I just today put chicken manure around the base of the plants. Any help would be wonderful. Are there any pictures of what overwatering would look like?

We're so sorry about your

By Almanac Staff

We're so sorry about your pumpkins!
 
Several diseases can cause yellowing, browning, and wilting, such as fusarium crown rot. For this disease, check if the base of the plant, the crown, looks soft or brown. The roots may be decaying, too. Overwatering can encourage this disease.
 
Verticillium wilt might be another possibility.
 
You might also check for squash vine borers--these insects usually bore into the base of the stem--you might see a hole or debris sort of like sawdust at the entrance. Inside the stem will be a larva, which you should remove; cover the wounded stem with moist soil to help it to recover. For more information, see: http://www.almanac.com/content/squash-vine-borer
 
Also check for squash bugs: http://www.almanac.com/content/squash-bug
 
For best advice, we'd suggest that you take a sample to your county's Cooperative Extension service for analysis. For contact information, see: http://www.almanac.com/content/cooperative-extension-services
 
Meanwhile, you might peruse a bit more on the Internet, especially on Cooperative Extension sites. For example, the Cornell Cooperative Extension Service offers these pages:
http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/factsheets/Cucurbit_List.htm
http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/factsheets/Cucurbits_Fusarium.htm
 
Water pumpkins about an inch per week; more in hot weather. Good luck!

Help those Sqush bugs are

By Jerry r brazelton

Help those Sqush bugs are going nuts allready on my big pumpkins vines I KNOW THEY AR EARLY PLEASE TELL ME WHAT SPRAY POWER ANYTHING GET RID OF THEM I tried sevin 5 powder and the liquid didnt work and did like direction said. Please help me

Insecticides need to be

By Almanac Staff

Insecticides need to be applied early, before the borer enters the vine. If it's in the vine, insecticides can't reach it. You need to find it. Search for an entry hole. Cut lengthwise up the vine with a sharp knife until you find it. Remove with your knife tip and destroy.
After "surgery", apply a fungicide to the wound. Best of luck!

First year for a pumpkin- the

By ErinD

First year for a pumpkin- the plant looks healthy but small fruit keeps falling off ( once it reaches about 2 -3 inches). What am I doing wrong? Is this an animal or disease? Thanks for your help!

Lack of fruit set is often

By Almanac Staff

Lack of fruit set is often because of poor pollination. Sometimes, in the beginning, this is normal. If you have pollinators and decent conditions, the fruit should set soon.

End of pumpkin vine

By Vicky F.

End of pumpkin vine mowed!!!!!
My neighbor was kind enough to mow my yard but accidently moved over the end of my growing pumpkin plant. It was the main vine...It was blooming and the blooms are far back from what was mowed, about 2 inches is missing. Can my plant survive this trauma? Thank you.

If he just nipped the vine

By Almanac Staff

If he just nipped the vine tips with the lawn mower, it should be fine.

Last fall we had many

By Susan in NC

Last fall we had many pumpkins on our front porch that fell into the garden and busted. We tried to clean up the seeds as best we could, but now we have too many pumpkin plants all over the place. I would like to keep some to have for the Fall holidays, but they are seriously taking over my front lawn. How can I thin the plants without killing all of them?

This happens more than most

By Almanac Staff

This happens more than most people realize, and, yes, they will take over the front lawn. Pumpkins send out sprawling vines. (A less on in "be careful what you wish for.")
To thin the plants, pull out the weakest and leave the strongest.
Cutting back the vines dramatically could effect the growth of the plant and any pumpkins, although cutting (or mowing) off the tips of the vines is not likely to have an effect.

i live in san antonio texas,

By asibonanga

i live in san antonio texas, and was wondering if there is a farm near by where i can purchase a pumpkin in the middle of the summer.

You could check our Farmer's

By Almanac Staff

You could check our Farmer's Market Directory: http://www.almanac.com/gardening/farmers-markets?state=texas
Or, google "pumpkin patch san antonio TX" and see what comes up!

It's July 3rd I got a small

By Bonnie Hall

It's July 3rd I got a small pumpkin plant from one of the grand children and they want me to plant it for them . It s in a cup and not very big. Never planted one before and don't have a garden. Is it ok to
plant it in a large metal tub?? I understand it will need room for the vine. Thanks for your help .. Very confused Grandma ( Don't want to let them down )

It's ok to plant it in a big

By Almanac Staff

It's ok to plant it in a big container. Add compost to the potting soil and make sure to have drainage holes in the container. Place the container in a sunny spot and water the seedling as needed. You can grow the pumpkin on a trellis to save room. You are a great Grandma!

It's my first time planting

By Annette D.

It's my first time planting pumpkins at a first for my garden at the house we built, my question is, there seems to be what I first thought were spiders on them just walking around and around the perimeter of the leaves but then I saw then fly...not sure what they are or what to do????

Could these be spiders that

By Almanac Staff

Could these be spiders that were in the process of ballooning? Some small spiders, including those just hatched, travel by producing thin silk threads that get blown by the wind, taking the spider with it (sometimes for miles); this technique is called ballooning. Some mites also have this ability.

If these are spiders, you shouldn't have a problem, since they eat garden pests. If these are mites, monitor your plants. Some mites are beneficial and eat other insects; others, such as spider mites, may attack plants, drinking the sap and causing yellow speckles on leaves, and eventually weakening the plant. Spider mites usually aren't a problem unless there is a heavy infestation. If these are spider mites, you can release predatory mites (you can order these online), mist plants daily (spider mites like dry weather), or ask a local garden nursery about insecticidal soap.

I sprayed them with water but

By Annette D.

I sprayed them with water but they just kept coming back, I researched further and mixed up dishwashing liquid and water and sprayed them and then sprayed them with the hose to wash off the soap...I'm hoping that will work and not kill my plants :o)

I love pumpkins and spend a

By Bill N.

I love pumpkins and spend a lot of money on them each year during the fall season. So when my wife decided to start a vegetable garden, I was delighted to use this as an opportunity to grow my own. I admit I have scanned some Google for basic info but really have no idea what I am doing. The bees are my concern. I have never really seen a significant amount where I live. So, if they don't come around is it possible to pollinate manually?

You can certainly pollinate

By Almanac Staff

You can certainly pollinate pumpkins manually. For directions, search online for "hand pollination" and "pumpkins" and you should find lots of resources. There are even videos to help you. This is a popular method especially for those growing giant pumpkins, to ensure that the plant doesn't cross with a squash or a pumpkin variety whose traits aren't desired.

Last year I let my

By Cheri Schneider

Last year I let my Granddaughter smash 2 pumpkins we did not use. Now I have 9 pumpkin plants in the middle of my back yard that I'm not sure about. They are very healthy; big green leaves, alot of shoots, big gold fowers and can grow where they want. My problem is the base of the root. The plant is so large and heavy that it is cracking at the base. I have tried to switch sides for it to lay, but only got more cracked stalks. I have been putting dirt around the base to try and protect the thinning and yellowing stalk. I am now a pumpkin gardener, who is not sure how to protect her plants. They picked me and my yard and I need help. Thank you

Actually, Cheri, these plants

By Almanac Staff

Actually, Cheri, these plants may not be very healthy. It sounds like they have fallen victim to root disease and/or insect damage (such as by squash bugs)...and there's not much you can do. It also could have been caused by excess moisture or excess nitrogen. If this were a vegetable garden, we'd recommend rotating your crops but this is an accident—or a gift! For now, enjoy it while it lasts. Try again next year, on purpose, in a prepared garden bed.

Im new to gardening and I

By Audra Alsobrook

Im new to gardening and I planted pumpkins way to early. I'd like to have some for Halloween. Is it possible to harvest my pumpkins when they are mature and the vines will continue to produce new fruit, leaving a pumpkin or two for Halloween?

Hi Audra, You can prolong

By Almanac Staff

Hi Audra, You can prolong growing a bit but pumpkins will ripen between 70 and 120 days so use this as a guide. If you live in the South, you'd want to plant pumpkins in early July in the South to ripen in time for Halloween.
Pumpkins will last 8 to 12 weeks if stored correctly. PIck them when they are mature with a deep orange color and hardened rind. Be very gentle as pumpkins bruise easily. Then let them cure--either leave in the field if the days are warm and dry or place in a warm dry atmosphere (70-80°F) with good air circulation, such as a greenhouse, for up to two weeks. Curing allows rapid drying of the outer cell layers avoids infection. After curing, store in a dry building where temperatures are 50 to 55 degrees.

It's June 3rd and I have 3

By tonji

It's June 3rd and I have 3 orange flowers, a lot of vines but no pumpkin. Will we get a pumpkin for Halloween? Its pretty warm where we live.

It's generally about 110 days

By Almanac Staff

It's generally about 110 days from when you seeded it to maturity! You'll need to count out the days.

Fertilization?

By Anonymous

I noticed a large plant growing like crazy in my backyard a few weeks ago, then realized it was a pumpkin plant, not sure what type. Anyway, we only have one in the backyard, but just down the street is an entire pumpkin patch. (less than a quarter mile away). Are they close enough to fertilize and grow some pumpkins?

One plant can produce

By Almanac Staff

One plant can produce pumpkins. They can self-pollinate. To ensure pollination, we would suggest you help them pollinate by hand. A male and female flower have to be ready to bloom and open on the same morning. (The female has a little round ball of flesh at the base, all stigma, no pollen. The male has a straight stalk and a flower with all pollen.) Pick an opened male flower, take off the petals to expose the pollen, and dab it into the stigma of the female flower. That's it!

5 good sprouts in my pumpkin

By Anonymous

we carved our pumpkins very late. was just cutting them open to do pumpkin seeds and use the flesh for making pumpkin pie and cookies. when i cut into one pumpkin i had a lot of roots in it with five really good sprouts. i know it to late to plant them, but will i be able to save the sprouts to plant next year. if so what do i do and how do i save them. thanks

Pumpkins need a lot of

By Almanac Staff

Pumpkins need a lot of compost and lots of space to grow. The sprouts will not do well in pots during the winter months. Put the sprouts in your compost and buy some pumpkin seeds in the spring to plant.

Baking Pumpkins

By Anonymous

I love baked whole pumpkins. I cut them in half and then bake them until soft. Not only do I eat the meat, but I like to eat the skin (pumpkin rind) once baked as well, as it normally softens and tastes great. However, I recently bought a bunch of pumpkins (sugar/pumpkin pie variety) and since my apartment is humid and warm, one developed a mold spot. So I realized they needed to be stored in a cooler, dryer place in order to keep them longer. I decided to bake one of these today, which was stored in the colder area. It was MUCH harder to cut in half, and after baking, the skin completely hardened (unedible) instead of softening up (as I am used to). Was this because it was kept in the cold, or was it just that particular pumpkin? I'm wondering whether or not to move the pumpkins back inside, because I want the rinds to soften when baked. Also, I need to be able to cut them, which is nearly impossible when they are so hard! I'm just afraid they will rot if kept inside my apartment. What do you suggest I do?

Store your pumpkins in a

By Almanac Staff

Store your pumpkins in a cool, dry place with low humidity for no longer than one month. The optimum temperature is 50 degrees, but not higher than 65 degrees.

Yeah thier ok just leave it

By james hernandez

Yeah thier ok just leave it alone so it won't die,but my pumpkin plants grow well and ok,just remember keep continued with nutrients and water,sunshine,space,and.fertilizer ok,my pumpkin patch is alive but is my first time so keep it continued.

two seedlings in my pumpkin

By Anonymous

im a first time grower i found two little seedlings in my pumpkin i carefully took them out and planted them in soil ,used water and i added some nutrients do you think they're gonna be ok?

i did the same thing two

By Anonymous

i did the same thing two years ago, and i sure got a few great ones! i even grew a 257 lb. one and i was overjoyed! make sure you keep an eye on them and dont over water. until there growing big leaves. start the next seeds in pots and then transplant

Pumpkins need 75 to 100

By Almanac Staff

Pumpkins need 75 to 100 frost-free days and most of the U.S. and Canada is now past that time. The seeds do not germinate in cold soil. However, you could dry your seeds and save for planting next year.

Using old pumpkins for new pumpkins

By Anonymous

I read that you can take your pumpkins uncarved from the previous year and leave them out in the yard to grow new ones the next year. Is this true? I living in northern Illinois.

I'm a former pumpkin grower

By Anonymous

I'm a former pumpkin grower from Rockford/Caledonia IL, and we'd regularly get pumpkin plants growing in our compost pile after the autumn holidays! We also had tomatoes in our garden every year, but only planted one plant the first year! The soil was very rich because we added compost and make every spring, which surely helped, but we didn't have a hose long enough to reach the garden and we had great harvests every year.

If you leave your uncarved

By Almanac Staff

If you leave your uncarved pumpkin outside it will eventually rot and some of the seeds may sprout plants next year. For better success dry and save some of the seeds from your pumpkin and plant them next year.

Soft pumpkin

By Anonymous

I have a pumpkin about the size of large beach ball and growing larger each day. It is still without color. I noticed this morning that when I pressed on it, it was a bit soft. Is it rotting on the inside?

2 weeks to Halloween

By Anonymous

With only 2 weeks to go until Haloween, I am wordering if the pumpkins will be ready. Once the fruit has started to grow and flower has disapated, how long will it take the fruit to mature. Any tips to speed the process?

Pumpkins need sun and warmth

By Almanac Staff

Pumpkins need sun and warmth to ripen. Cut back any leaves that block the sun and stop watering. You can also harvest the pumpkin if it is big enough and place it in a warm, sunny location during the day.

Pale leaves

By Anonymous

I know i probably planted my seeds a little too late but not sure how late.. I live in California, San Joaquin Valley...
The leaves are pale green and the flowers always look wilted ;( Is there anything you could recommend?

Most squash and pumpkin

By Almanac Staff

Most squash and pumpkin flowers last only one day. Male flowers come first. They bloom on a stem and wilt. The female flowers have a bump (beginning of a pumpkin) attached to the bottom of the flower. Make sure you have pollinators in the garden when the female flowers appear.

Too late?!?

By Anonymous

I live at the very tip of southern Illinois. I planted my pumpkins a month ago. I have 8 inch or so of vines. Will I have anything for Halloween?

Pumpkins need a long growing

By Almanac Staff

Pumpkins need a long growing season (generally from 75 to 100 frost-free days) with lots of sun and warmth. If you only have a vine and no pumpkins growing yet you are not going to have pumpkins for Halloween.

vines but no pumpkins

By Anonymous

i have vines all over bright orange flowers but no pumpkins yet.. will they still grow? its my first time growin pumpkins im not sure when the pumpkins are supposed to start growin in the vine

It's pretty late in the

By Almanac Staff

It's pretty late in the season to have just flowers. If you live in a warm climate you may still have a chance to get a few small pumpkins. The first flowers to bloom are male. The female flower has a small bump under the flower that will grow into a pumpkin if pollinated.

harvesting green pumpkins

By Anonymous

the frost is starting to set in here in labrador & my pumpkins are half orange & green,what should i do?thanks

If you still have some warm

By Almanac Staff

If you still have some warm sunny days leave the pumpkins on the vine and cover with a sheet at night if there is a chance of frost. You can harvest the pumpkins and put them in a sunny spot during the day. Make sure to protect them at night by moving them indoors or cover with a sheet.

Pumpkins

By Anonymous

Don't know what to do with pumpkins not totally orange and frost is coming?

You can cover them with a

By Almanac Staff

You can cover them with a sheet at night or harvest them. Place the picked pumpkins in the sun during the day. They will still turn a bit more orange.

green pumpkin?

By Anonymous

I had a bunch of pumpkin vines growing in my flower garden (probably from fall decorating)I pulled all but 2 of them as I was not sure what it was. Now I have 1 good size pumpkin but it is dark green?? Should I cut the vine beyond the pumpkin or some of the leaves so it could get some sunshine?

Perhaps it is a green variety

By Anonymous

Perhaps it is a green variety of pumpkin! In Australia lots (most) of the commonly grown varieties of pumpkin are green, grey or speckled. If the pumpkin you started with was a hybrid perhaps it has reverted to type? If this is the case then you should expose it to sunshine after it has been cut if you want to store it but just having one I would just eat it straight away.

Watering - Vines turn whitish color

By Anonymous

Do I still need to water the plants/vines after the plants turn a whitish/grey and appear to be dying off? The vines are all brown but the actual fruit is beautiful orange. Do they still need to be watered?

Dying vines

By Janice Stillman

Funny you should ask; I have the same problem here in New Hampshire: beautiful fruit on a white, shriveled, even moldy vine. It seems that the problem may be to much water—and that's not necessarily your fault. It could have been too much rain and too warm conditions. It also may be a symptom of bad insects.
If the vines are bad or going bad, they will not be able to deliver moisture to the fruit and in fact may decay further and more quickly if you water. Keep an eye on the fruit. Pick it and enjoy it in whatever way you can: on display, in a pie, whatever. It's part of the experience.
Next season consider crop rotation or amending your soil. Hope this helps.

Powdery Mildew

By Anonymous

I live in northern Canada and have had great luck growing a variety of pumpkin. For the first time this year, powdery mildew seems to have overtaken a number of my varieties. I tried to slow it with sulfur, but almost all of my leaves are dead. We are moving to a new property before next year and I was wondering how to go about preventing, eliminating this problem (chemically-organic or otherwise). I know to water early in the day and not get the leaves or stems wet much... and high sun and to eradicate infected leaves on first sight...

Hello my kids open a pumkin

By diana sidia

Hello my kids open a pumkin last octuber and now we have a beautiful pumpkins in the backyard the vine gave around 8 big ones they are orange and huge when is the right time to cut and are they going to be ok for next october?

Powdery Mildew on Squash

By Anonymous

I am not really very experienced, but I got a lot of powdery mildew on all my squash plants this year. We live in the Denver, Colorado area. I just let the leaves die off, then picked them and cleared them out of the garden. By then there were a lot of fresh new leaves that took over. I think it helped to get the sun in there from picking the dying leaves. My plants did great after that. The fruit was good and all. I just harvested a 55 lb pumpkin, and have had many other varieties that did great too. The mildew did not return. I guess I was just lucky.

Choose PM-resistant cultivars

By Almanac Staff

Choose PM-resistant cultivars and provide enough space between plants so that each has plenty of air circulation. Keep up with weeding to reduce plant stress. Use soaker hoses. Avoid overfertilizing. There are fungicides for PM used as protectants (preventatives) and those for eradicating the disease once it appears; some offer both. Make sure that you choose one that is safe for pumpkins. Some strains of PM are resistant to fungicides.
Fungicides include: Sulfur. Neem oil solutions. Jojoba oil. Copper sprays. A solution of about 1 tablespoon baking soda and 1 tablespoon horticultural oil in 1 gallon water; baking soda solution without the oil is not as effective. Potassium bicarbonate is said to work even better than baking soda (sodium bicarbonate); you can find fungicides with potassium bicarbonate in garden centers; certain concentrations, however, can injure plants; baking soda, if used a lot, can affect soil structure. Ask your local garden center for recommendations.

Uneven Pumkin Growth!

By BigMouthFrog

I am experiencing some uneven pumpkin growth. I have 4 fruit on a plant that are spread out evenly around plant. Two of the fruit are very nicely shaped. Then there are two that are pointed on the end! Is there any way that i can get the point out of their ends, maybe standing it up? If I can stand them up will it bother the small roots that taken ground throughout the vine? And what would be a good idea to prop them up! I have about three weeks till harvest date as well.

thanks!

uneven pumpkins

By Almanac Staff

Not sure that standing the pumpkin on the pointy end will help. But if you want to give it a try get a box that just fits the pumpkin and stand it up in the box.

bug question

By Anonymous

I have a pumpkin nearly ready to harvest. I noticed a small soft spot where a few ants had gathered and started nibbling on it. Is there any way to save it and keep it until Halloween (about two months)?

Bug question

By Almanac Staff

You can try to clean the spot with a fungicide solution and then seal the area with grafting wax or clear nail polish.

Northern Pumpkins!

By Anonymous

I live in Labrador, and had heard that you could not grow pumpkins successfully this far north. Anyways, I wanted to try anyways to do something fun with my kids, so we planted some Jack-o-Lanterns and Conneticut Fields, and holy crap they're growing like weeds in the backyard. Right now I have 4 large healthy pumpkins growing in my backyard!

tammi

By Anonymous

a pumkin rotted in my flower bed , it ia a small bed about 2 or 3 feet wide , it is now a patch with many male flowers and about two or three female flowers . i water it , i see two little pumkins forming , will this patch survive in this bed , and can i transplant it somewhere else for next season . Of course after the season is over ? thankyou

tammi

By Almanac Staff

Enjoy your little pumpkin patch this season and hopefully harvest a couple of nice pumpkins. Save some of the seeds for next year if you like. In late fall compost the old pumpkin vines. Next spring plant pumpkin seeds in a new sunny location. Pumpkins need rich soil so add compost and aged manure to the new soil.

Only 1 Pumkin Plant Survived

By Anonymous

I planted 3 pumkin plants in July, about 50 days ago, and Only 1 survived. There are 4 vines that are around 8 ft long. There are yellow flowers (blooms) all over, but there aren't any pumkins. When do pumkins start to appear and do I need more than 1 plant for them produce fruit?

You need to fertilize the female

By Anonymous

To prevent self fertilization, the pumpkin has a "Male" phase followed by a "Female" phase. If you only have one plant you won't get any pumpkins as you won't fertilize the female. I had this problem so went with an ear bud to an allotment nearby and got some pollen from somebody else's male plant to fertilize my female flowers. I now have two excellent large pumpkins growing.

Only 1 Pumpkin Plant survived

By Almanac Staff

You will get pumpkins on your one plant. The first flowers that appear are male flowers. It takes some time for the female flowers to open. The female flowers have a little bump under the base of the flower. This will grow into a pumpkin if the flower is pollinated.

pumpkin plant

By Anonymous

My fiance hit my pumpkin plant with a weedeater, looks like it cut the main stem or vine of the plant. Is there no hope for it? What can I do?

If a vine broke, sometimes it

By Almanac Staff

If a vine broke, sometimes it will heal itself. But if it's a major break, harvest the mature fruit and cure for a week outside; then, store them in a moderately warm, dry place until Halloween.

dying plants

By Anonymous

I was told fish emulsion was a good fertilizer for my pumpkins. However, I think I may have used more than I should have and all the leaves are beginning to die. Is there anyway to save the plants?

Dying plants

By Almanac Staff

Keep watering your pumpkin plants and stop fertilizing for a couple of weeks. Pumpkins need lots of water when they first start fruiting. Also check for bugs, blight and mildew which could cause the wilting leaves.

pumpkins

By Anonymous

how do you keep mildew from growing one its started?

Pumpkin in the Avocado Planter

By Anonymous

I recently transplanted my avocado trees to a larger planter. (There are three, grown from seeds, with intertwined roots so I kept them together.) Apparently a pumpkin seed from last fall's Halloween pumpkin that I left to rot found its way into the avocado planter and is happily growing. (1) Do I need to worry about the roots of the pumpkin damaging/choking the roots of the avocado trees? (2) Will the pumpkin vines try to climb the avocado plants? I was hoping it would just flip over the side of the planter and move to the ground/soil below and spread from there. (3) It's only a few weeks old. Can I dig it out of the avocado planter and put it into a planter of its own? Any help/suggestions would be appreciated.

Because pumpkins are heavy

By Almanac Staff

Because pumpkins are heavy feeders and require lots of space, it’s probably not a good idea to have it in the same container as the three avocado trees. We’d suggest either pinching off the pumpkin plant at its base, or carefully transplanting it. The avocado trees have shallow, rather delicate, root systems, so try not to disturb their roots if you decide to transplant the pumpkin. If the pumpkin was one of the smaller types, it might grow fine in a large container, with support. Some of the larger varieties would not do as well in containers.

Thanks for the information.

By Anonymous

That's good to know. Thank you so much. I've been growing the avocados for a couple of years now and would hate to jeapordize them . I think tomorrow I will dig up the pumpkin and try and transplant it. If it makes it, great! If not, oh well, I tried. Thanks again.

Garden Box Pumpkins

By Anonymous

Some of the stems are breaking cause they are vining down to the ground. Should they be cut and if so, where should we cut them(right at the break?)

Yes, you can cut or pinch off

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can cut or pinch off a few of the vines without harming the plant. Wait until some fruits form and then pinch off the ends of the vines.

Will the grass choke out my pumpkins

By Anonymous

Will the grass choke out my pumpkins if so how do I prevent this I

It's best to create a

By Almanac Staff

It's best to create a grass-free plot for pumpkins. Grass competes with pumpkins. Mulch the plot to prevent grass growth, but keep mulch away from root area. Once the grass grows in, it's very difficult to pull because pumpkins do not like the soil near them to be disturbed and it is easy to break vines.

Keeping pumpkins nice till fall

By Anonymous

After I have harvested my pumpkins I give them a water and splash of bleach bath. Do not get top of pumpkin/ stem wet. I use a rag and wipe them down,then dry. This makes your pumpkins clean and polished. Mine last through the winter into spring here in central valley, CA. Then I create a pumpkin graveyard where I watch them break down, collect seeds, or bury pumpkin and watch it grow again! It's a beautiful cycle to watch. When the graveyard produces orange pumpkins by July it just gets me excited to plant more for October deadline. Oh, and the park walkers on my block love to watch them transform and grow!

pumpkin flowering

By Anonymous

I had planted the seeds this June and now the plant has vines which is climbing on a stick I put in the ground. I see lots of yellow flowers which have bloomed. Am i close to getting a pumkin soon :) the vine is about 6 ft long now. and still continues to grow and climb up. Flowers open and close. I have put the garden dust to stop pests. Also watering the pumpkins generously. It rained a lot here yesterday as well in Long Island , NY

Any help is appreciated

Thanks
Deno

If the plants are getting

By Almanac Staff

If the plants are getting pollinated (by bees), you'll get fruit! A couple of tips: 1. At this stage, take care not to overfertilize; too much nitrogen can cause a plant to flower but not fruit. 2. If you use any insecticides, only apply in late afternoon or early evening when the blossoms have closed for the day or the bees won't be able to visit and pollinate.

pollination

By Anonymous

first time pumpkin grower, thank goodness I did not grow too many other plants. The Pumpkins are taking over in a good way. The Bee count seems to be low in central CA. so I'm worried about pollination. Thanks for advice. p.s. what about self pollination with a Q-tip or something like that.

If you're worried about bee

By Almanac Staff

If you're worried about bee activity (or lack of), you can hand pollinate. Tansfer the pollen from the male to the female flowers by using a small artists paint brush when the flowers are open in the morning. Be sure that you do not use any pesticides which kill the pollinators (bees).

Growing pumpkins in buckets

By Anonymous

What sort of special considerations would you need to make when growing pumpkin vines in buckets instead of the ground?

You may wish to consider a

By Almanac Staff

You may wish to consider a pumpkin variety that's more compact. Suggestions are: Autumn Gold Hybrid, Bushkin, Jack Be Little, Small Sugar, and Baby Boo. Use a 5-gallon container with drainage holes. We're not sure where you live, but here's a good link with basic container guidelines: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1645.html

Harvesting

By Anonymous

In our first attempt at planting pumpkins, we may have started too early. We already have orange, large pumpkins. Approximately how long with they last after harvesting, if we store them in a cool garage? We grew these to donate to our school for the Fall decoration scene, but Fall seems so far away. I want them to last. Any suggestions?

Store pumpkins in a cool,

By Almanac Staff

Store pumpkins in a cool, dry, dark place (not inside). If you store in a dry place between 50 and 55 degrees, the pumpkins should last about 6 months. When storing, do not stack them or let them touch each other. They are best stored sitting on a board or cardboard or straw about 2 inches apart. Not a cement floor. One of our readers shared a tip: Wash the pumpkins in a very mild chlorine solution (one cup of chlorine to one gallon of water. This gets rid of bacteria which causes rot. Then thoroughly dry.

Giant Pumpkin

By Anonymous

I am trying to grow a giant pumpkin in my backyard. Should I be burying the vines to encourage a stronger stem and multiple root systems?

You'll want to leave the

By Almanac Staff

You'll want to leave the vines undisturbed. They are essential to the growth of the pumpkin. However, make sure the vines are growing in a direction where they will not be susceptible to breaks.

Hope this helps!

Will they still grow?

By Anonymous

Last night deer ate most of my plants down to the stem. They were only leaves, no vines or flowers yet, maybe 6-8 inches high. A few still have some leaves or munched on leaves. Will any of them be able to grow now?

The plants that still have

By Almanac Staff

The plants that still have some leaves will keep growing with some luck. The once with just the stems don’t have much chance to survive. Plant some more pumpkin seeds and try to keep the munching deer out of your pumpkin patch if you can. Thanks, The Old Farmer's Almanac editors

pumkin surprise

By Anonymous

My children took seeds from 4 pumkins and planted them in the backyard two years ago. Since then we have put up a dog pin that houses a great dane. while moving the dog pin we found several pumkin vines growing in a 3'3 area. We live in tennessee and just need to find information on how to take care of the pumkin plants that we found.The kids like the idea of growing their own pumkins for halloween. So we want to take care of the plants the best we can.

Since they have vines, leave

By Almanac Staff

Since they have vines, leave the pumpkins where they are. Pumpkins do not like being moved about; be gentle with them. They'll grow if they have plenty of sunlight--and you water and feed them as described in the "care" section above.

does pumpkins cure any desease

By Anonymous

have just started pumpkins farming this year so i wanted to in one plant of pumpkins how many it produce?

growing pumpkins

By Almanac Staff

It depends on the variety and if you are growing them for size or for eating. The small-to-medium varieties may produce 4 or 5 pumpkins per plant. If you want bigger ones, you can pinch off some and stick to 2 or 3. The most common pumpkin problems/disease are probably powdery mildew and squash bugs/cucumber beetles. See pest section above. Good luck!

growing pumpkin in small space

By Anonymous

i live in an apartment in tennessee and last fall i carved two pumkins of medium size and left a few seeds in them both i left them to rott in the dirt and mulch all season through the winter and now it is spring and i have a lovely pumpkin patch with bright flowers and pumpkins are forming already...it didnt take any work at all.i do water them everyday though

deer

By Anonymous

Does deer bother pumkin vines? Thanks

deer and pumpkins

By Catherine Boeckmann

Pumpkins may be more deer-resistant but nothing is truly off limits for deer except tall and wide fences. While they won't like the vine, deer love pumpkins.

pruning

By Anonymous

I wish you would talk a little bit more on how to prun the vines, how to prun the pumpkin plant?

vines

By Almanac Staff

To avoid having vine growth, pinch off the fuzzy ends of each vine after a few pumpkins have formed. This will stop vine growth so that the plant's energies are focused on the fruit.

pumpkin type

By Anonymous

im considering growing some pumpkins but im not sure what variety would be best for me. I live in the lower mainland of bc canada. I'm wanting a large variety of pumpkin that would be good for carving and cooking. I would like to try making pumpkin pie among other recipes so it needs to be sweet.

Easy way to grow a pumpkin

By wellheck

I had cut a whole pumpkin in half after Halloween and put the halves in the yard for the birds. Over the winter, one half ended up in an area I had not raked before the snow hit. It was a small area, perhaps 2' by 3', with some leaves over concrete. Come spring, the half had sprouted a new vine, and we had a homegrown pumpkin for Halloween!

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