How to Grow Miniature Pumpkins
Big pumpkins, small pumpkins, dontcha just love all pumpkins!? There's a
lot said and written about Jack O'Lanterns and giant pumpkins. But, just
a wee little bit is written about the cute, little miniature pumpkin.
Miniature pumpkin plants can be grown in a small amount of space. Gardeners
who are space limited, will often grow them along fences, or up a
trellis. They are even grown in big containers on a balcony or a deck.
Miniature Pumpkin Varieties:
Orange colored varieties include: Jack B. Little pumpkin, also called "JBL",
and Wee B. Little.
White colored miniature pumpkins: We only know of one variety, called "Baby
You can often find miniature pumpkin seeds in a gourd mixture (See Harvest
Blend pictured above). That's because these cute little "pumpkins" that fit
in the palm of your hand are actually gourds. (But, we won't tell anyone
that, if you don't!)
More on Varieties of Pumpkins
Days to Maturity:
Plan 90-100 days for miniature pumpkins. We always recommend new growers
to add a few days to this estimate.
How to Grow Miniature Pumpkins:
Miniature Pumpkin seeds can be started indoors 2-3 weeks before the last
frost date in your area. Or, they can be direct seeded into your garden.
Plant these tender annuals outdoors after the last frost date for your area.
Grow pumpkins in full sun. Pumpkins, even miniature varieties, are big feeders.
Plant them in rich garden soil. Mix in ample amounts of compost and manure
prior to planting.
Ideal soil pH: 5.5 - 7.5
More on soil pH
Miniature pumpkins are vining plants. If you are limited in your garden space,
plant miniature pumpkins where they can grow on a trellis or fence. If you
are growing them in a container select a very large one.
Grow miniature pumpkins like you would grow regular Jack O'Lantern pumpkins.
Keep the soil moist. Avoid watering the leaves, if possible. Mulch heavily
around the plants to help keep the weeds down, and to retain moisture.
It's all in the Stem! The stem gives pumpkins character. This is even
more true with your miniature pumpkins. When harvesting, be careful not to
break the stem. Use a sharp knife to cut the stem. And, never hold or carry
a pumpkin by the stem, as it can break.
Insects and Pests:
Gardeners love pumpkins. Insects and a wide variety of pests love 'em, too.
The most common insects are Cucumber beetles, squash vine borers and squash
bugs. Dusting or spraying regularly before an infestation occurs, is recommended.
Among the animals that love pumpkins (both the plants or the fruit) are bunnies,
woodchuck, squirrels and deer. Use animal repellent like pepper and garlic
sprays as needed. More on sprays.
Disease of Pumpkins:
A variety of diseases affect pumpkin plants, most notable is powdery mildew.
Apply fungicides at the first sign of a problem. Better still, apply them
before plant disease problems occur. Hot, humid weather encourages pumpkin
Tip: Allow enough time after watering for the leaves to dry before
evening. Water on the leaves in warm weather encourages plant disease.
More on Plant Problems
Pumpkin plants are tender annuals. Protect them from frost and cold weather
both spring and fall.
Harvesting Miniature Pumpkins:
Miniature pumpkin plants will produce up to 8-10 cute, little pumpkin fruits.
Harvest when they turn completely orange, and the stem has dried and turned
brown in color. Cut the stem near the vine with a sharp knife. Be careful
not to break the stem.
Use miniature pumpkins in decorating projects and displays. They look great
in any and every room of your house.
Yes, miniature pumpkins are edible. Use them in a variety of recipes. They
are great stuffed, or as bowls to serve puddings or Jell-O.
Pumpkin Puree - make your own puree.
There's none better!
Pumpkin Zucchini Nut Bread
Recipes Galore at Pumpkin Nook
on Miniature Pumpkins
to Grow Big Pumpkins -and small ones, too.