Pumpkins

Growing Tips

Planting

Plant pumpkins ½” - 1” deep. For a general rule of thumb plant seed the depth of three times the thickness of the seed. Plant spacing varies depending on fruit size. If planting a large pumpkin give plant approximately 72 sq. ft. of space. Medium sized pumpkins require 30 sq. ft. of space. Pie pumpkins require 24 - 30 sq. ft. of space. Miniature pumpkins require 10 - 24 sq. ft. of space. See the Pumpkin Planting / Harvest Timing chart on page 97 for additional information.

Management

Scout fields every 7 days to ensure crop health. Look for insect, weed, and disease pressure. The first three weeks focus on weeds and insect pressure. Then focus on disease pressure. For weed, insect, and disease identification and treatments consult the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide: http://www.btny.purdue.edu/Pubs/ID/id-56 or your local extension. Place pollinators in field to ensure maximum fruit set. 

Harvest

Harvest when fruit has developed deep color. Handles will appear dry. Cut handles with shears to protect handles from being broken off. 

Storage

Clean fruit of dirt and wash in 5% chlorine solution. Let air dry and cure for 10 - 12 days. Make sure air is able to circulate around fruit. It is important to keep fruit dry.

Plant Spacing

Each variety or type of pumpkin has an optimum plant spacing for its best performance. If plants are too close, stress and competition can decrease fruit size and possibly even reduce the number of female flowers. Under extreme stress, tight spacing may eliminate the crop entirely. 
Optimum spacing for maximum yield, especially for jack-o-lantern pumpkins, will not necessarily be the best spacing for large fruit size. For large fruit, we would suggest reducing plant density to the next recommended plant population.

  • Accurate plant spacing will be an equal opportunity environment for every plant.
  • Suggested populations are for final plant stands.
  • To achieve ideal plant populations it is necessary to either over-plant and hand thin or to plant according to recommendations and hand plant later to fill skips.
  • Seed corn maggots, wire worms, mice and birds, floods or lack of rain are all common problems that effect accurate stand establishment.

                    

Pumpkin Plant Spacing Chart
 
Row Width
 Distance Between Plants
Plants Per Acre
Category 1 
12’ 6’  605
Category 2
7 1/2 to 9’ 4' 1,210 to 1,450
Category 3
6 to 7 1/2’  4' 1,450 to 1,815
Category 4
5 to 6’ 2' 3,600 to 4,350