Pumpkin, Squash, and Gourd Planting & Care

Pumpkins don’t exist! Botanically speaking of course, “pumpkins” are indeed squash, and are also technically gourds. They are also fruits! So don’t be surprised when you see them refered to as a fruit in listings. 

Ideal Conditions: 
Most Cucurbita (Soft-skin gourds/squash) share similar growing conditions and requirements, with some outliers. Same with Lagenaria (Hard-skin gourds). 

Fertilize with a balanced NPK source. There is no right or wrong with this, just use what you’re comfortable with, and don’t overdo it. Most of these will grow in less than ideal conditions, but I find that a good loose soil will yield better and healthier plasts. That said, it’s also possible to have heavy yields from nutrient-deficient soil when supplemented accordingly. 

Plant seeds as deep as the seed is tall. If the seed is 1/2” tall, then it should be sown to a roughly 1/2” depth. Easy as pumpkin pie!

You'll want to use a well-draining seed starting mix, and keep the soil lightly moist while the seeds germinate. Give them up to 2 weeks to germinate, but expect many to germinate within days to a week. 

It is suggested you plant your seeds 6 weeks before the last front indoors or in a greenhouse protected from frost. 

Plants will enjoy bright sunny locations with a few exceptions to some of the tropical gourd cultivars. 

Many cultivars do offer some resistance to disease such as powdery mildew, but it happens still sometimes. Some are more susceptible than others. When you’re able to, watering the soil and not the foliage will help prevent this. Copper fungicides, sulfur, can all be helpful in reducing fungal issues during periods of heavy rain. Additionally, Sulfur added to soil can increase crop yield and overall plant health; It is an essential element.

Cucumber Beetles are a vector of disease in Cucurbita plants. They suck the juices from plants and spread disease such as bacterial and viral pathogens. Wilt is a common one, and affected plants should be immediately removed and disposed of properly. They are easily ID’d by their oblong shale and golden-tan-yellow color with blackish spots or streaks on the top. Squish them anytime you see them, guilt-free.

Rotating your crops is important to crop health and yield, reducing soil-borne diseases and pests. Rotating simply means that each year you pick a new spot to grow your prized Skooshes & Pumps.


Last Updated: NOV 2022