In theory, the pumpkin (Cucurbita) gets along well with many other plants in the vegetable patch. However, there are only a few that are particularly suitable as good mixed culture neighbors for the pumpkin due to certain factors.
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Caution: heavy feeder
All pumpkin varieties are heavy feeders. These place special demands on nutrients and minerals in the soil. Their need for it is high, so they extract it from the earth on a large scale. The problem: there are either hardly any nutrients and minerals left for neighboring plants, or plants that also consume a lot of food appear as competitors and one of the two plant types suffers from an undersupply. Therefore, a pumpkin mixed culture with weak and medium-consuming plant neighbors is always the “safe” choice, so that a sufficiently good supply is guaranteed for all plants.
The Cucurbita makes different demands on its location. Those of the plant neighbors should therefore be the same – with the exception of the nutrient and mineral content in the soil. They must be able to cope with poor soil quality, with a few exceptions. Otherwise, a neighborhood is suitable that also thrives under the following site conditions and cannot disturb pumpkins in their development:
- Warm place
- Light conditions: sunny
- Sheltered from the wind – protection from tall and/or densely growing neighborhoods is also welcome
- Very nutrient-rich soil (correspondingly low nutrient requirements for the neighborhood)
- pH: between 5.5 and 7.5
- Evenly moist soil
- Location recommendation: directly at or in the immediate vicinity of composting facilities
Good neighbors from B to K
Beans (Phaseolus coccineus and Vicia faba)
The good neighborhood of pumpkins includes broad beans and runner beans . As weak feeders, they grow well under the poor soil conditions that pumpkins create in their environment. As tendrils, they leave room for pumpkin growth near the ground and can ideally act as a windbreak.
Peas (Pisum sativum)
Peas are particularly well suited to mixed cultures alongside pumpkins, because they are weak feeders and, as “central roots”, they take care of themselves from deeper layers of the earth. The shallow-rooted Cucurbita, on the other hand, feeds itself from the upper layers of the earth.
Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea Gongylodes Group)
Kohlrabi falls under the middle eaters. Just like peas, it pulls the required substances as central roots from deeper soil regions. This makes the cabbage an ideal plant neighbor for pumpkins.
Good neighbors from M to Z
More (Zea mays)
Maize belongs to the group of heavy consumers, which are actually not suitable as plant neighbors for pumpkins. In this case, however, the taproots benefit the slender-growing corn, because pumpkins are shallow-rooted. This means that the squash draws nutrients from the earth far above, while corn takes care of itself from below the ground. Thus there is no competition.
(Conditional) Radishes (Raphanus sativus var. sativus)
Radishes are weak eaters and make almost the same demands on their location. They are recommended as neighbors because they protect the pumpkin from snail damage. However, they must not be too dry, especially in midsummer. If radishes are planted , increased watering is therefore necessary or they are moved to the semi-shade for the hot season. In addition, a sufficiently large distance of at least 1.50 meters must be ensured, since radishes, like pumpkins, have shallow roots and could otherwise get in each other’s way.
Ringelblumen (Calendula officinalis)
Marigolds are very suitable in the vicinity of the pumpkin, not only because of their low-consumption properties, but also because they promote soil health. Pumpkins thrive particularly well in their vicinity.
Onions (Allium cepa)
As heavy consumers, onions are also a rare exception in the “good neighbors for pumpkins” category. In addition, their roots grow shallow, like those of pumpkins, but not very extensive. Nevertheless, planting them is recommended because they are perfect as a defense against (field) mice, which can become a real problem for pumpkins. It is important that the following rules are observed when planting:
- Minimum sowing distance: 1.50 meters
- Harvest onions as soon as they ripen
- Ideal: plant onions as a bed border
- Other plant neighbors may only be weak consumers
Frequently Asked Questions
Cucumbers and squashes are very susceptible to powdery mildew. This moves quickly from one plant to another. If cucumbers and pumpkins are close together, this can quickly lead to the complete destruction of the entire harvest. In addition, cucumbers are heavy feeders and have shallow roots, like the pumpkin. They will definitely compete for soil components.
No, this should be avoided. The soil is still very polluted even after the harvest. It takes about four years to fully regenerate. In addition, the pumpkin could have left pathogens or pests in the soil. If the neighboring plants are bad and only become so because they have the same susceptibility, the chances of healthy growth are poor. It is therefore essential to ensure the optimal post/mixed culture after the pumpkin harvest.