Pumpkins need a long warm season, deep organic soils and plenty of water during their growing season. Part of a large plant family that includes zucchini, squash and gourds, ‘real’ pumpkins, or winter squash as they are called elsewhere, are something of an Australian specialty. With three major botanical species available, Cucurbita moschata. C. maxima and C. pepo, try growing one of each to maximise your harvest, while avoiding cross-pollination.
Nowhere else in the world are pumpkins held in such high esteem, rivalling potatoes on the family menu. There are three main species of pumpkin (C. maxima, C. moschata and C. pepo), and only one of each should be grown to avoid cross-pollination. Soils with a pH of 5.5 to 6.8 are ideal, as is plenty of mulch and some extra potash. Harvest when the stems turn woody and the skin has hardened. Carefully cut from the vine with secateurs leaving at least 5cm of stalk attached. Do not carry by the stem. Wipe with a mild chlorine solution to minimise the likelihood of rot. Store in a cool, dry, dark place on a piece cardboard or wood. Most pumpkins should store for 30-90 days.