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How to grow pumpkins

You will need

Pumpkin seeds

Small pots

Seed compost

Heated propagator or warm windowsill

Well-rotted manure or compost

Vented bell cloche

Do it: mid-March to mid-June
At its best: 18-22 weeks from sowing


Growing pumpkins is easy and great fun. Pumpkins are rampant growers so they benefit from a large root run, plenty of moisture and regular feeding. For this reason, they are best grown in the open ground, or a large half barrel. When planning your patch, be sure to allow sufficient space for the fully mature crop.

How to do it

Growing pumpkins: sowing pumpkin seeds


Sow seeds individually in small pots of good quality compost, from mid-March to mid-June. Place in a heated propagator, or warm windowsill, and keep just moist.

Growing pumpkins: transplanting pumpkin plants

When seedlings are about 10cm tall, harden off thoroughly. once frosts have passed, plant them out in deeply dug soil, into a large hole filled with plenty of compost or well-rotted manure.

Growing pumpkins: watering

Mound soil in a ring at least 45cm-wide around the base of the plant to divert water to the roots. Water well and cover each plant with a vented bell cloche to protect against cool weather.

Growing pumpkins: picking off male flowers

Pumpkins have female and male flowers. Males only last a day, so remove them as they fade to reduce the risk of grey mould. if sun levels are low, take out leaves overshadowing the fruits (take out all that have mildew) as this encourages ripening.

Adam's tip

Make sure you plant your pumpkin in a patch of land you can spare for a few months – it takes about
18 to 22 weeks between sowing and harvesting.

Water regularly, keeping the soil moist at all times. The stress of drought causes the plant to make a greater proportion of male flowers and fruit is only borne on female flowers. Plentiful water is also needed for the fruit to swell.

Discuss this project

Talkback: How to grow pumpkins
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Madeleine51 30/03/2013 at 17:10

This year will be my first attempt at growing pumpkins and it this might be a silly question but how do you tell the difference between a male and female flower?

Dovefromabove 30/03/2013 at 17:32

Look at the stalk behind the flower - the male stalk is the same thickness (or rather thinness) all the way along, whereas the female has a swelling behind the flower - this will  grow into the pumpkin when the female flower is fertilised.


No such thing as a silly question - but it would be daft not to ask