Pumpkin - Jack Be Little Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) Certified Organic Open Pollinated-Heirloom

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Pumpkin - Jack Be Little Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) Certified Organic Open Pollinated-Heirloom

One of the oldest domesticated species. Pepo derives from the Greek pepon, meaning ‘ripened by the sun.’ They have hard 5-sided ribbed stems, and fruits are usually ribbed. They also include summer squashes and small gourds, as well as some pumpkins.  Cucurbita pepo (mini pumpkins, small pie and some jack-o’-lanterns), C. moschata (cheeses) and C. maxima(jack-o’-lanterns, decorative and culinary).

Culture: May be direct-seeded or transplanted. Direct seeding: Sow 4–5 seeds per hill when weather has warmed after danger of frost. Allow 4–6' between hills. Thin to 3 best plants. Use row covers and low tunnels to hasten maturity and reduce insect damage. Transplanting: Start indoors three weeks before setting out. Do not disturb the roots. Transplant bush varieties 18" apart, vining varieties 30" apart. Tender, not frost hardy. Heavy nitrogen feeders. Excessive heat and/or drought can prevent blossom set, reduce yields. Pumpkins can take one or two light frosts on the vine. To improve flavor and storage, field cure for at least 10 days after harvest, covering if hard frost threatens. Store under proper conditions, at least 50° and 60–70% relative humidity in a place with good air circulation. Do not pile up pumpkins. Inspect periodically and be sure to use damaged, stemless or small fruit first. Minimum germination temperature 60°, optimal temperature range 70–90°.

Saving Seed: Varieties of the same species will cross readily, but crossing will not occur between the different species. You must isolate varieties of the same species by half a mile if you want true-to-type seed. If you can pull off the variety isolation, processing the seeds is easy: rinse seeds from the guts of fully ripe and cured pumpkin. Dry and store.

How To Grow Jack Be Little Pumpkins

Jack Be Little Pumpkins are a non-invasive annual that requires full sun, lots of water, fertile, warm soil, and grows well in hardiness zones 3 to 7. If grown in zones cooler or warmer than 3-7, you may run into temperature-related issues and have a less than optimal harvest or no harvest at all. These pumpkins don’t grow large fruit so have are less nutrient demanding but still do well with the occasional fertilizing with a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer.

Jack Be Little Pumpkins can be planted outdoors once the soil has warmed up to 70°F. These pumpkins have a spread of about 4 feet and can grow to a foot tall, so it’s best to space them in rows about 4 feet apart. If planting multiple rows, space the rows by 6 feet. Each plant will yield 6 to 8 pumpkins. If more begin to develop, cut them off to allow the existing 6 to 8 fruit to grow properly.

  • Latin name: Cucurbita pepo
  • Native to: Central America
  • Invasiveness: Not invasive
  • Tenderness: Annual
  • Sun: Full sun
  • Water: Well-watered
  • Soil: Fertile, warm
  • Hardiness zone: 3-7
  • When to plant: When soil reaches 70°F
  • Spacing: 4 feet
  • Plant height: 12 inches
  • Bloom period: Summer
  • Time to maturity: 95 days
  • Container friendly: Yes
  • Fertilizer: 10-10-10
  • Toxicity: Not toxic
  • Deer resistant: Not appealing to deer
  • Pest resistant: No
  • Seed Count: 30