Pumpkin & Squash

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Pumpkin Information
Pumpkin is a frost-tender, warm-season annual. Pumpkin is grown to maturity on the vine until the skin is very hard (unlike zucchini/squash which is harvested while the skin is still tender).

Sow pumpkin seeds in the garden–or set out seedlings started indoors–only after the soil has warmed to at least 16°C (in Nov generally in Tasmania), usually no sooner than 3 weeks after the last frost in spring. Pumpkin grow best in air temperatures ranging from 10-32°C; established fruit will ripen in temperatures as high as 37°C but flowers will drop in high temperatures. Pumpkin requires 60 to 120 days to reach harvest.

Description. Pumpkins are a large group within the cucumber family, Cucurbita, and include zucchini/summer squash and pumpkins. Pumpkins are eaten after they have matured and their skins have thickened and hardened. Some Pumpkins grow fruit as long as 75cm. Pumpkins have large, broad leaves; 4 to 6 stems or vines grow from a central root. Some are sprawling; others are bush-like. Fruits vary in shape from round to oblong, to cylindrical to turban shaped. Separate male and female flowers appear on the same plant. Pumpkins have a distinct seed cavity, unlike zucchini/squashes.

Site. Plant in full sun. Grow pumpkin in loose, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Prepare planting beds in advance working in plenty of aged compost. Add aged manure to planting beds the autumn before growing pumpkin. Pumpkin prefers a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.8. Pumpkin will sprawl and require ample space; if space is tight train them over a small A-frame or up a trellis as tall as 1.5-2.4m.

Planting time. Pumpkin are frost-tender, warm-season annuals. Sow pumpkin seeds in the garden–or set out seedlings started indoors–only after the soil has warmed to at least 16°C, usually no sooner than 3 weeks after the last frost in spring. Start pumpkin indoors as early as 4 weeks before the last average frost date in spring. Sow seed indoors in biodegradable peat or paper pots that can be set directly in the garden so as not to disturb or shock plant roots (or carefully take out of pot).

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