Pumpkins are related to gourds, zucchini, patisson and cucumbers.

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Photo: Alba Jiménez Cuesta - CC BY-SA 3.0

Pumpkins belong to the genus Cucurbita and are related to gourds, zucchini, patisson and cucumbers. Sow in pots (one seed per ± 0.5-liter pot) for in the warm windowsill or greenhouse. In late May, the pumpkin plant can be put in open ground. Starting in mid-May, pumpkins can be sown in open ground. A pumpkin really needs space. It can grow in a wigwam or pyramid of bamboo sticks, but also lying on the ground. In that case, remember that the pumpkin needs an untidy 6 m² surface. Protect against night frost with a plastic tunnel or bell jar.
Pumpkin leaves are susceptible to fungi; cut them away. Too dry or too moist soil encourages mold growth. Offshoots in the leaf axils are removed (Pinching).
In summer, if the soil is very wet, put some straw or wood chips under the growing pumpkins. On the wet soil, the pumpkins can rot and snails have free rein. Pumpkins can be harvested in September and October.
As the pumpkin ripens, the skin thickens. As soon as you can no longer press the skin and the stem yellows and shrivels, the pumpkin is ripe. Leave the stem on the pumpkin to keep them fresh longer.
Those who self-seed zucchini and pumpkin must be careful not to cross-pollinate between edible pumpkins and ornamental pumpkins or other members of the gourds family. Seed from such cross-pollination can produce plants containing the natural toxin cucurbitacin. Nothing can be seen on the outside of the pumpkins, but these taste extremely bitter. Cucurbitacins are responsible for that; cucurbitacins are toxic. Those who want to extract seed from zucchini or pumpkins would do well to stretch an insect net over the flowering plant to prevent pollination by insects. Then use a brush to transfer some pollen from a male flower to the female flower. The fruit growing from it has no interference from a wild poisonous species.


Feeding on leaf young plants: snails and slugs.

Leaf turns yellow and lumpy; eggs on underside of leaf: greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum).

Fungi & diseases

White spots on leaves, growth retarded: powdery mildew.


Flowers do not grow and fall off: they are not pollinated. Cold weather is often the cause, as soon as it gets warmer, pollination starts.

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