Improving pumpkin storage

There’s a growing market for pumpkins in the UK, both for food and for decorative carving. But many pumpkins are lost to rot each year during storage. Find out what causes rot in stored pumpkins and what steps you can take to reduce your losses.

Our research into pumpkin storage losses

In 2014, pumpkin storage losses were estimated at around 15 to 20% of the marketable yield. The reasons for these substantial losses weren’t clear, so we ran a trial (AHDB project FV 439) to find out what causes rot in stored pumpkins and what fungal and nutritional treatments might help to reduce losses.

What causes storage losses in pumpkins?

Our research showed that a fungal plant pathogen called Phoma cucurbitacearum is the main cause of rot in pumpkins in the UK once stored after harvesting.

See our findings on pumpkin rot

How to reduce pumpkin storage losses

We worked with growers on two UK sites to find out whether fungal and nutritional sprays for pumpkin crops could significantly reduce the occurrence of Phoma cucurbitacearum and, therefore, reduce losses.

Read the trial results on pumpkin losses

Useful links

Cucurbits storage research: Identifying pre-harvest, harvest and post-harvest management practices capable of reducing losses of pumpkins during storage

Download the PDF: Crop management strategies to improve pumpkin storage

Read our outdoor cucurbit crop walkers’ guide

If you would like to order a hard copy of the Outdoor cucurbit crop walkers' guide please contact:


Telephone: 0247 799 0069

This information was written by Debbie Rees, Richard Colgan, Marcin Glowacz – NRI, University of Greenwich Peter Waldock – Growing Earth Consultancy Ltd. Gerard Bishop, Robert Saville, Jennifer Kingsnorth – NIAB EMR.