Pumpkin, Squash and Zucchini

Pumpkin, Squash & Zucchini are closely related - often confusingly so, and are grown in the same way. They need a sunny position, a moisture-retentive soil and somewhere out of cold winds. Here's our tips to get the most out of your crop.

Sowing:

Sow 2-3 seeds 12mm deep from late August to November, April to July in tropical regions. Thin seedlings to leave the strongest one.

Growing:

Most pumpkins have a sprawling habit so they need space to grow, we suggest planting pumpkins at one end of your patch so they can grow outwards. If you have a small garden, choose varieties such as Small Sugar and Golden Nugget which have a smaller footprint. Make planting pockets 60cm apart for bush varieties or 1.2m for trailing varieties, two weeks before seed sowing or planting out. Fill the 30cm square and deep pockets with a mixture of compost or well-rotted manure and soil; leave a low mound at the top of the planting medium. Sprinkle a general fertiliser over the soil. Covering the soil with black polythene will help growth and keep the fruit off the soil. The fruit of marrows and pumpkins should be supported on a piece of tile or glass. Pinch out the tips of the main shoots of trailing varieties when they are 60cm long. Keep the soil constantly moist by watering around the plants, not over them. Feed every 10-14 days with a high potash liquid fertiliser once the first fruits start to swell.

Harvesting:

Harvest squashes when the fruit is still quite small. Harvest pumpkins when the vines die off, leave as much stem as possible, this will extend the storage time of your pumpkins. For pumpkins and winter squashes if overwintering let the fruit mature on the plant and remove before the first frost.

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