Pumpkin in the vegetable garden

How to grow the pumpkin in your vegetable garden?

Impressive growth, abundant crops, tasty dishes throughout the fall and winter: growing pumpkins in a vegetable garden is satisfying in many ways for the gardener! Today we invite you to learn more about this singular vegetable, which will delight the taste buds of young and old alike.

What should I know about pumpkin?

It belongs to the cucurbit family, which includes all types of squash, including pumpkin. So how can we not confuse them? It’s very simple: the pumpkin is rounder, its peduncle is harder and swollen at the base, and its flavor is less sweet, more stringy.

In order to grow the pumpkin well, it is important to know that it is a plant with long creeping stems, which clings with tendrils on any type of support. In this way, we will not hesitate to raise the plants in height to save space in the vegetable garden, for light fruit varieties.

On the other hand, this plant is monoecious, meaning that the male and female flowers are distinct, but are found on the same foot. The female flowers, after being pollinated, will develop into fruit.

Finally, you will recognize the seeds by their white color and their oval and curved shape, of different sizes depending on the varieties. Those of the Gros Yellow Pumpkin of Paris, for example, measure 2 to 3 cm, but there are smaller ones.

How to plant the pumpkin?

Squash seeding, and especially pumpkin, is done from early April indoors. Place each of your seeds at a depth of 2 cm in a fairly large (10 cm) seeding pot that you will place under shelter, warm. With a minimum germination temperature of 21°C, emergence takes about 6 days. Remember to water copiously initially, so that your plants are ready in May to be set up in the vegetable garden. When the last frost has passed, transplant your seedlings in the ground, spacing them at least 70 cm to avoid competition between root systems.

Growing pumpkin in the garden
Growing pumpkin in the garden

Pumpkin Garden Maintenance


Its water needs are more reasonable than those of other cucurbits such as watermelon or zucchini. However, care should be taken to water it about twice a week at the beginning of cultivation, and to keep the soil moist throughout its development. Yellowing foliage or slowing down of fruit growth should alert you: your vegetable garden definitely lacks water!


The main disease that will threaten your crops will be cucurbit powdery mildew, also known as white disease. Caused by a fungus, it develops in hot and humid weather. To avoid this, make sure not to wet the foliage when watering, which will be done directly by foot, drip or watering can. If you see white and powdery spots on the leaves of your plant, powdery mildew is there, but don’t panic! You can limit the progression of this unwanted host through natural treatments, such as Bordeaux porridge, baking soda or cow’s milk.

Cucurbit downy mildew rarely affects the pumpkin, but if your foliage is covered with brown spots, you may be dealing with a case of red nightshade. As with other fungi and bacteria that can attack the leaves, good aeration around the plants and destruction of affected areas will be necessary. Also be careful not to sow seeds from plants affected by the disease.

Pumpkin harvest

The fruits are harvested in the fall, after 5 to 6 months of cultivation. To know when to take action, take a good look at the peduncle: when it turns brown and dry, it is a sign that your fruit has matured. You can also harvest when the peduncle is still partially green, but the shelf life will then be less important.

Pumpkin storage

Most squash has the advantage of being kept for several months: you can store whole fruits until the following season, in a well-ventilated environment and at a constant temperature (between 14 and 20°C). Sliced, the pumpkin can also be stored in the refrigerator for a week, if wrapped in food film.

The different varieties of pumpkin

Pumpkin yellow, green, red or orange, rounded or pear-shaped: the variety is great in this family. Fruit size is also extremely variable, from less than 1 kg to more than 200 kg for the largest species! The stars of the vegetable garden are undoubtedly the pumpkin and its chestnut taste, the bright red of Etampes with soft flesh, delicious in velvety, and the butternut, which will be particularly appreciated as gratin. For gluten intolerants, consider spaghetti squash, whose long light yellow fibers are an excellent alternative to pasta: to consume without moderation!