Year of the Pumpkin

A pumpkin decorates front steps last autumn. (File photo (c) Hilda M. Morrill)
A pumpkin decorates front steps last autumn. (File photo (c) Hilda M. Morrill)

Every year the National Garden Bureau (NGB), the non-profit organization whose mission is to disseminate basic information and instructions for backyard gardeners, selects one annual, one perennial, one edible and one bulb to be featured in their “Year of the …” program.

Plants are chosen because they are popular, easy-to-grow, widely adaptable, genetically diverse, and versatile. According to Diane Blazek at the NGB, 2019 is “The Year of the Pumpkin.”

“To have mature pumpkins for use in autumn, plant seeds between late May and mid-June after all risk of frost has passed. Seeds can be direct sown or started indoors and should be planted at a depth of 1″ into well-drained soil that has warmed to 70°F.”

“To ensure fruit set and yields, allow sufficient space between each plant. Give small pumpkins a 12 ft. area, large pumpkins a 24 ft. area, and giant pumpkins a 36-48 ft. area per plant.”

“Pumpkins perform best when they are fertilized throughout the growing season and fruit set will be strongest if the flowers are pollinated by bees. If pumpkin flowers are not pollinated completely, the fruit will start growing but will abort before full development. To ensure a bountiful pumpkin harvest, encourage bees in your garden or pollinate the flowers by hand.”

Be sure to read the complete details about growing pumpkins, including their interesting history, at the Bureau’s website,

Happy Gardening!