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I have often read that pumpkins and potatoes should not be planted near each other, and I’ve always followed that advice.

As they are not closely related , I suppose common diseases etc are not the problem. Is it simply a question of competition for soil nutrients and/or root-space the soil?

The reason I ask this now is that I have just found (in the Northland spring) tiny bits of potato sprouting in the compost I’ve been using for planting out butternut pumpkin seedlings. Is it sufficient to remove the sprouting potatoes (to rule out competition) or is there something more “sinister” that may be lurking there that I should be aware of, and which might cause trouble for the pumpkins?

With grateful thanks for any light anyone can shed.

  • DaviTupinikiwi asked 2 years ago
  • last edited 2 years ago
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Hi Davi, ? I can’t think of any reason why they can’t grow together, they both have different fertiliser requirements, although both like a lot of it. Potatoes like a reasonable moisture content, pumpkins can be overwatered. So there are some challenges but can’t see any reason why they can’t be overcome. Thanks the Palmers Team

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When I used the word “sinister” in my question, I should have been clearer. I was thinking in terms of some kind of allelopathy – defined as “the chemical inhibition of one plant (or other organism) by another, due to the release into the environment of substances acting as germination or growth inhibitors”. And if there is some allelopathic relationship, would it be mutual or one-way, inhibiting the growth of one more than the other… and in that case which would suffer more? Any kind of allelopathic change in the soil chemistry might, I suppose, leave residues in the compost, in the situation I mentioned in my original question above.

Where would I find such information?

Thanks,
D

  • Davi Tupinikiwi answered 2 years ago
  • last edited 2 years ago
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Hi Davi, It sounds like you want to take all the fun out of gardening! This is most definitely one step beyond my expertise and is more of a science question. In simple terms yes there is companion planting, where I would imagine some of the above will come into effect. No doubt there is a huge amount of information about companion planting available online. Our stores often have companion charts displayed or available.
Re Potato/Pumpkin, Potato is a root crop while pumpkin is a fruit both requiring different fertiliser components, i.e. a potato requires higher levels of Phosphorus for root development while a pumpkin would prefer nitrogen and potash. In a perfect world, I can’t see any reason why they wouldn’t grow together if you get the fertiliser balance right, conversely if you don’t one will outperform the other. Throw in potential Allelopathy components as well as quick search online where you will find some articles against planting the two together, but not that I can find any technical reasons apart from competition between the two for space/light. Add potential soil complication, rain fall, persistent cloud cover, etc etc.(all of which have a different effect on one or the other). For me gardening is all about having some fun, try something different, sometimes it will sometimes it won’t work. Thanks the Palmers Team

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