How To Grow Pumpkin

Type: Annual
Name: Cucurbita pepo
Light: Full sun
Soil Type: Warm, medium rich, well drained
Soil Temperature: 75 – 85°
ph Range: 6.0 – 7.0
Watering: Keep moist but not soggy
Plant (Payson): May 15 – June 10
Planting Method: Seeds of transplant
Germination (days): 7 – 10
Transplant: After all danger of frost has passed
Plant Characteristics: Vining – recommend trellis or fence
Maturity (days): 110 – 120
Common Pests: Squash bug & vine borer, cucumber beetle, aphid
Common Diseases: Powdery mildew, downy mildew, bacterial wilt, curly top


Pumpkins are related to squash, melons and gourds and have similar growing needs. Pumpkins take a lot of space in the garden, easily up to 500 square feet for a single plant. Many gardeners like to grow giant pumpkins. If this appeals to you, cut off all but two main stems as the plant grows, and only allow one fruit per stem.


As soon as the soil can be worked in the spring, mix plenty of organic matter into the soil along with well composted manure to create a loose, nutrient rich medium. Add an all-purpose organic fertilizer at the time of planting.




Not recommended since seeds sprout quickly in warm soil and grow rapidly.


Pumpkins are frost tender and need warm weather to grow. They cannot tolerate any frost so plant seeds in late May. Plant bush pumpkins in rows with clusters of seeds every four feet along row.

mound planting pumpkin

Mulch around the plants once they are well established. It is important that pumpkin fruit not sit on wet soil. Mulch, such as straw, is a good idea.

Keep the soil moist, but don’t over water.

Pumpkins are heavy feeders so add plenty of rich compost to the seed bed and feed with side dressings of an all-purpose fertilizer throughout the growing season.

Pumpkin plants tend to have large leaves that shade the ground around them, so weeds may not be a problem. If weeds join the party, remove them by hand or by cultivation. A good mulch can cut down on weed growth.

Bacterial wilt, curly top virus, downy mildew, powdery mildew, scab

Aphid, cucumber beetle, squash bug, squash vine borer


Harvest pumpkins when they are a uniform orange color. It’s best to allow the vine to die before picking, but do not allow to freeze. Ripe fruit should thud when thumped. It should be a deep orange color (depending on species). Pumpkins are ready when you can’t easily puncture skin with your fingernail.


Cure pumpkins in a warm, well ventilated area for 1-2 weeks. Then place in a cool, dry location. They will store well for several months. Pumpkins can be canned, dried, or frozen and of course don’t forget pumpkin pie.

frozen pumpkin

 Helpful Links

To aid in your gardening success, here are some useful, trusted links for more information on pumpkins.

How To Mulch Your Garden | Types of Mulch - The Almanac

What Is Mulch | How To Use 8 Types in Your Garden - The Spruce

How To Mulch Your Garden In The Fall - The Spruce

Please remember Payson Community Garden is an organic garden. Some of these sites may contain recommendations for non-organic products. Please see this website or Plant Fair Nursery website for a list of recommended products
that meet the organic standards of Payson Community Garden.

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