Pumpkin Harvest Time

| 10/16/2015 10:29:00 AM

Erin SheehanWe harvested 280 pounds of pumpkin and winter squash this year, our biggest harvest yet. The total was: 71 pounds of pie pumpkins, 20 pounds of Buttercup squash, 127 pounds of Neck pumpkins and 63 pounds of Queensland Blue squash.


Winter squash and pumpkins take a lot of space. To have a substantial harvest you need to dedicate a good size area to your plants. I planted squash and pumpkins in two plots. The primary plot is about 27 x22 feet. I made six hills and put in three plants to a hill. The plants quickly grew to fill the plot and by July they were already growing through the fence. Neck pumpkin vines can grow a foot a day, so monitoring the fence line was a constant struggle. I think I overcrowded the plants. The secondary plot was for my leftovers. I started all the plants from seed and had good enough germination that I had extra plants. I couldn’t bring myself to throw the extras out, so I put a hill of three more plants into a somewhat shady and compact area.


I added fertilizer before planting and again after the plants had been in the ground about a month. After that the plants only got water. The most time consuming part of growing such a large crop was managing the squash bug infestation. I couldn’t use pesticides because that would interfere with my pollinators, not to mention go against the rules of the community garden. That meant I was spending several hours a week crouched down over my plants picking off squash bug eggs and adults.