History & Origin

Pumpkins are native to the Western Hemisphere. References to pumpkins date back many centuries. The name pumpkin originated from the Greek word for "large melon" which is "pepon." The French changed it to "pompon." The English changed "pompon" to "Pumpion." American colonists changed "pumpion" into "pumpkin." The "pumpkin" is referred to in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater and Cinderella.

When to Plant

Pumpkins do not like cold weather. Young plants will be injured by frost. Do not plant until all danger of frost is past. The soil should be warm so the pumpkin seed will germinate.

Be sure to check the frost free date in your area.

Spacing and Depth

Vining pumpkins need lots of space, at least 50 to 100 square feet per hill. Plant seeds one inch deep (four or five seeds per hill). Space the hills five to six feet apart. When the young pumpkin plants are two to three weeks old, thin to the best two plants per hill. Miniature pumpkins should be planted one inch deep with two or three seeds planted every two feet in the row.

Pumpkin Seedling

Special Care

Keep the pumpkin plants free from weeds. Water during long, dry spells during the summer.


Harvest pumpkins when they are a deep, orange color. Harvest before heavy frosts. Cut pumpkins from the vine carefully and leave three to four inches of the stem attached. Pumpkins without stems may rot. Pumpkin stems have sharp prickles on them. Wear gloves when you pick them. Pumpkins grow from seed to harvest in 100 - 110 days.

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