Can You Grow Squash and Pumpkins Together?

You can grow squash and pumpkins together, but there are good reasons you may want to plan your planting carefully or avoid the practice altogether. Pumpkins pair well with summer and/or winter squash. Pumpkins are usually planted by the height of summer to provide a fall crop, and both summer and winter squash can be planted around the same time; however, pumpkins destined for pies rather that porches can be planted in spring.

  1. Benefits

    • All of the members of the cucurbit family of vegetables share similar planting needs and growing condition requirements. These include full sun, good drainage, and fertilizers high in potassium and phosphorous and low in nitrogen to aid in fruit development, according to Purdue University Extension. The vegetables need warm soil; you shouldn't plant them until the soil temperature reaches an average of 60 degrees F. and all threat of frost has passed. Squash and pumpkins should receive watering to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, or the equivalent of 1 inch of rain per week.

    Negatives

    • Many diseases are common among the cucurbits, including viruses, bacterial infections and fungal infections. To prevent disease, you should water the plants in the early morning, and water the plants near ground level to prevent splashing that may transmit infections, clean your tools between crops and avoid working with your crops until the foliage dries. Squash and pumpkins also share pests, including the squash bug, cucumber beetle and squash vine borer.

    Considerations

    • Crop rotation is vital to the health of these crops. Extension sources suggest rotating crops to provide three to four years between cucurbit plantings in the same space. Because this rule applies to all cucurbits, planting squash and pumpkins together in a space makes sense, as you will need to allow several years to pass before either or both can return to a particular spot in the garden. In a garden that must contain both squash and pumpkin vines, space can become an issue. You should consider using dwarf or bush types or training the vines to climb in order to save space and ensure good ventilation between plants.

    Cross-Pollination

    • Squash and pumpkins can cross-pollinate, as they are members of the same species. This will not affect the fruits you harvest, but will affect any seed you save for the following year. The plants from these seeds will not grow true to the parent plants. If you plan to save seed, you should avoid planting more than one variety of each species of squash in the same area. The Seed Saver website suggests you can safely plant one member each of of Cucurbita pepo, which includes pumpkins and summer squash; C. maxima, which includes winter squash and hubbard; C. mixta, which includes cushaw; and C. moschata, which includes butternut squash, in the same space without cross-pollination occurring.

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