Growing Pumpkin and Squash

By Mark, August 6, 2018

Cucurbita maxima
(Simply meaning ‘Large Gourd’)

Just another wonderful gift to the world from South America, this wide family of food plants are among the most vigorous ‘vegetables’ that you could grow in the backyard.
Sometimes called ‘winter squash’ simply because they are harvested in Autumn and frequently consumed during the winter months, these wholesome fruits have the advantage of convenient storage due to the tough skin, but, as with most squash’s the tops and young leaves can also be enjoyed microwaved with a little coconut oil.
Growing the vines is really a simple matter of letting them do their own thing. As they will robustly clamber about or climb anything in sight, they just need to be guided along your preferred direction.
We have grown them up and over trellises and harvested the pumpkins from 2m off the ground, and allowed them to ramble along waste areas of ground that we had not had a chance to cultivate yet and our harvests were very successful each time.

Seed Germination:
Probably one of the most successful germinators, Pumpkins are encouraging for novice gardeners as they germinate, quickly, visibly, and dramatically.

Seed Collection and Saving:
The most important thing to remember when planting Pumpkin is their indiscriminate pollination habits.
They are not very specific about who they pollinate and the open easy temptation of the flower to bees, beetles and other pollinators ensures that you can never be sure who did what until the fruit matures.
The plant will need to be isolated by at least 500m from any other pumpkin variety to be certain that your breeding will be true. If you are growing the pumpkin for food and do not mind then all is well, but we can only only grow one variety per year to safeguard our variety for seed sale.
If you plan on saving your seed, then you must allow the fruit several weeks for the seed to mature inside the fruit before you take it, wash it, dry it and store it. Seed must be thoroughly dry before storage or it will spoil. Dry seed, stored at a dark, even temperature will last for years.