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CULTURE: Fertile, composted, well-drained soil is best.
PLANT SPACING: Medium- and large-fruited pumpkin varieties need plenty of growing room for sufficient sunlight penetration for successful fruiting, and to grow to their fruit size potential. Rules of thumb: Small fruited = 18 sq.ft./plant; Medium = 24; Large = 30; Giant = 48.
TIMING: Sow pumpkins to mature in Sept. for the fall decorating market. Too many days of sun on fruits in the field after maturity will bleach handles and sunscald the fruits.
HARVEST: Before frost or after 1 or 2 light frosts. Clip stems close to the vine. Use care to avoid gouging or bruising. Store under cover with plenty of air.
AVG. DIRECT SEEDING RATE: 130'/oz., 8 oz./1,000', 3 1/2 lb./acre at 2 seeds/18" in rows 6' apart, (9,800 seeds/acre at 2,800 seeds/lb.).
TRANSPLANTS: 58 pots or cells/oz., 930 pots or cells/lb. at 3 seeds/pot.
SEED SPECS: SEEDS/LB.: 2,300-4,000 (avg. 2,800).
PACKET: Avg. 5 gm. unless otherwise noted (avg. 30 seeds).



Pumpkin meat is very high in carotenoids. They're what give pumpkins their orange coloróbut that's the least of their benefits. Carotenoids are really good at neutralizing free radicals, nasty molecules that can attack cell membranes and leave the cells vulnerable to damage.

Pumpkins are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin, which scavenge free radicals in the lens of the eye. Therefore, they may help prevent the formation of cataracts and reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a serious eye problem than usually results in blindness.

Besides carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which are all antioxidants, pumpkins have a lot of common nutrients, like iron, zinc, and fiber. Iron, of course, is needed by red blood cells. Zinc deficiency may be related to osteoporosis of the hip and spine in older men. And fiber is important for bowel health.

Pumpkin is low in fat and calories and rich in disease-fighting nutrients such as:

  • Alpha-carotene
  • Beta-carotene
  • Fiber
  • Vitamins C and E
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Pantothenic acid

Health Benefits of Pumpkin

The alpha-carotene and beta-carotene are potent antioxidants found in pumpkin and are pro-vitamin A carotenoids, meaning the body converts them to vitamin A. Vitamin A promotes healthy vision and ensures proper immune function. The beta-carotene in pumpkin may also reverse skin damage caused by the sun and act as an anti-inflammatory. Alpha-carotene is thought to slow the aging process and also reduce the risk of developing cataracts and prevent tumor growth. Carotenoids also boost immunity and lessen the risk of heart disease.