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How to sow and grow baby pumpkin

This baby pumpkin variety produces mini-pumpkins 15 - 20 cm in size. They're not very heavy, so they hang from a trellis easily.

The firm, tasty flesh is ideal for grilling, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin soup. No need to peel them.
Babypompoen van de Makkelijke Moestuin
Baby pumpkin

What is a baby pumpkin?

It's a regular pumpkin except for the size. The fruit is smaller than most types.

People have grown pumpkins as food for ages. In Central and South America, as far back as 9000 BCE. The fruits were (and still are) popular with native peoples in the US too. Pumpkins came to Europe around the 16th century.

Now there are hundreds of varieties, ranging from the size of a tennis ball to jumbo-sized, and in all colors and shapes. Our baby pumpkin plants produce small fruits that aren't that heavy: perfect for growing on a trellis.

Health check: how good is it for you?

Really good. Pumpkins have a lot of vitamin A, like most red or orange vegetables. They also contain a ton of vitamins B, C, and E, as well as beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc, and some omega 3 too. On top of that, they're full of fiber.

All that together in 1 plant makes the pumpkin a super vegetable. It's good for all of you: your brain, your heart, your blood vessels, your intestines, you name it.

The anti-oxidants in pumpkins also reduce inflammation, which can help with diabetes.
Pompoen: super gezond
Pumpkins: it doesn't get much healthier than this

More about our pumpkins

Pumpkin plants tend to spread out: ours does too. But since it grows small fruits, it's ideal for your vegetable garden box. You easily weave the plants through a trellis, and the pumpkins ripen while they hang.

The fruits are beautiful and delicious. No need to peel them.
  • Species name: baby bear
  • Family: fruit
  • Plants per square patch: 1 on the trellis
  • Height: 200 cm and up
  • Pre-sowing: end of April to end of May
  • Germination: 15 - 20°C in 7 - 21 days
  • Time to harvest: from 15 weeks
  • Sunlight: needs a sunny spot
Want to baby pumpkin seeds? We sell the seeds separately in the seed shop, but you can also get them as part of our complete seed pack.

What do you need to grow your own pumpkins?

Here's everything you need:
  • a 30x30 cm vegetable patch with airy, nutritious soil mix
  • pumpkin seeds
  • a spot with 6 hours of sunlight a day
  • a trellis or something similar that the vines can climb
In other words: a square patch under the MM-Klimrek trellis in your garden box, filled with MM-Mix.

Growing your own pumpkins is super easy with the MM-Mix. If you grow in low-quality (potting) soil, disappointment is pretty much guaranteed. So don't skimp on soil mix: go for the best.
Pompoen aan het klimrek van een Makkelijke Moestuinbak
A baby pumpkin on the MM-Klimrek trellis

How to sow and grow pumpkin?

Our baby pumpkin is included in the free Planty Gardening app. Use it, and you'll get step-by-step guidance from seed to harvest.

Each vegetable goes through a number of stages - we call them levels. The app tells you exactly what to do at each level and checks in when your plants are ready for the next.

So, you don't need to know how to grow pumpkins before you start: the app takes you through every step.

But if you'd like to read more about those steps, here's what the process looks like:

Level 1: Pre-sowing pumpkins - germinating seeds

Pumpkins are real summer vegetables. The seeds only germinate above 20°C and the seedlings are sensitive to lower temperatures. So, what can you do? Sow them indoors around the end of April or early May. Your plant will be ready to move outside and into your garden box around the end of May.

Before you sow a seed in a pot, help it develop a root. This is called pre-germination or pre-sprouting. Once you see a root form, you can be sure that the seedling will keep growing.

Pre-sprouting works like this: get a piece of paper towel wet, put the seeds in between the damp layers, and you're done.

Check every now and then for a root. It should appear in 2-3 days, but sometimes it takes a little longer.
Kiemende pompoenzaden
Pre-sprouting at work

Level 2: Put the pre-sprouted seeds in pots

You'll need:
Fill 2 air pots with a mixture of equal parts fine vermiculite and MM-Mix. Add some water to get it moist.

This half-half mixture is ideal because seedlings don't need as many nutrients when they're young. Too many nutrients can make them grow too fast: the plants become limp instead of sturdy. Also, vermiculite helps retain moisture and keeps the seeds nice and damp. 

Put 1 seed in each air pot. Do it carefully so you don't damage the roots.

Then you place the air pot in a bowl or saucer, add some extra water, and put it in a warm place on the windowsill.

That's it.
Voorzaaien-op-vermiculiet.jpg

Level 3: Pumpkin seedlings

When you see seedlings come up, you know all is well. From then on, put your pots in the sunniest spot you've got, but somewhere not too hot.

Keep the mixture moist and give the pots a quarter turn every day. This will prevent the seedlings from growing crooked.

After 5 days or so, you'll be ready for the next level.
pompoen-zaaien-en-kwekken-2.jpg

Level 4 and 5: Taking care of your plants on the windowsill

Keeping plants in good shape on the windowsill can be tricky.

Make sure they get plenty of light but don't get too warm: full sun, but not warmer than 20°C.

And keep giving them a quarter turn every day so they don't grow crooked. Keep the mix moist.

Level 6-10: Getting used to the outdoors

This level starts around the second half of May. Then it's time to let your plants get used to the outside air, for a little longer every day.

At the last level of this phase, your plants will stay outside all day. You only bring them inside at night.
pompoenplantje-afharden.png

Level 11: Plant the most beautiful plant in your garden box

Once your plants have gotten used to the outdoors, choose the best-looking pumpkin plant and transfer it into your garden box. Choose a spot at the back of the box near the trellis.

Sprinkle some extra nutrients in the hole where the plant will go. Then plant your pumpkin.
Pompoenplantje bij het klimrek in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Freshly transplanted pumpkin

Level 12 and 13: Caring for your pumpkin

At these levels, the weather's probably not that warm yet and your pumpkin plant won't grow very fast. Make sure it grows upward, not sideways. If necessary, put a stick next to it to guide it to the trellis. 

Once the plant has settled in, the main stem will grow like crazy and reach the trellis. Weave it horizontally through the netting. Use some string or ties if necessary.

Cut off side branches right away: they just use up energy.
Een pompoenplant groeit razensnel
Weave the main stem through the trellis

Levels 14 and 15: Flowers and nutrients

The first flowers appear at these levels. There are 2 types: male and female. The male flowers have a thin stem. The female flowers grow from a round lump that will eventually form a pumpkin: the ovary.

Pumpkins grow slowly: from a flower to a harvestable fruit takes up to 3 months.

As the pumpkin fruits grow in size and number, the plant needs a lot of nutrients. So, add an extra scoop of plant food at the base of the plants to keep them well-fed.
Vrouwelijke bloem van pompoen
Female pumpkin flower grows up a trellis in the Planty Garden

Level 16: Progress

At this level, the fruits slowly turn from green to orange.

But be aware: a pumpkin is only ready to harvest when becomes an even shade of orange and the stem dries out completely. If a pumpkin falls off the vine before that, place it in a sunny spot on the windowsill. It will ripen on its own.

Around this time, summer is nearly over and the days get shorter. Sometimes the plant itself gets pretty ugly.

But ugly leaves don't matter: it's the pumpkins that matter.
Kleurende pompoenen
Pumpkins are ripe and ready to harvest when the fruit is an even shade of orange and the stem is dried out

What do you use pumpkin for?

Well-known pumpkin dishes are pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, and pumpkin bread.

But you can do a lot more with your baby pumpkin. Roast it in the oven, stuff it, stew it, deep fry it, make pancakes, or quiche out of it, puree it, or you can even pickle it. The possibilities are endless.

You can roast pumpkin seeds too. The flowers are edible - and tasty. Their mild flavor makes them a nice garnish. Or add them to a salad. Or try my favorite: fry them up in a (beer) batter 😉
De bloemen van pompoenen kan je eten
Pumpkin flowers and seeds are edible

The last levels

At the last levels, the nights will be getting cooler. Pumpkin plants don't do well in the cold. The leaves can get ugly and mildewed.

But any remaining pumpkins will continue to ripen. Leave them as long as possible or until they are completely orange. If they fall off earlier, place them in a sunny spot on the windowsill so they'll continue to ripen.

Once fully ripe, these pumpkins will keep for about 2 months. Store them in a cool and dry place.

Harvested the last pumpkin? Remove the plant from your pumpkin patch and clean up the soil mix. Then you're ready to sow something new.
Rijpende pompoenen in de herfst
Pumpkins ripening on the vine in fall

So: why not grow pumpkins yourself?

Our baby pumpkins are delicious and a lot of fun.

Plus: with our app and materials, it's practially impossible to fail 😀

Buy your pumpkin seeds here or get started with a complete starter kit:
Enjoy!
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