Growing pumpkins stands as an enduring symbol of fall, whether they end up as smiling jack-o'-lanterns or stacked near cornstalks for a lovely autumn scene.Meet those requirements, and these sprawling vines will bear a bumper crop, especially when you start with strong young pumpkin plants from Bonnie Plants®, the company that has been lending a hand to home gardeners for over 100 years.Improve your native soil by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter.Plan to give each vine at least a 3-foot diameter mound, or hill, of warm, enriched soil.In cool climates, warm the soil a week before planting by covering it with a piece of black plastic.It is best to use a drip system or soaker hose to directly water soil at the base of vines so as to avoid wetting foliage.Wet foliage is more susceptible to fungus, such as powdery mildew, which can slowly kill all the leaves on a vine.Some gardeners promote branching to get more pumpkins by pinching the tips out of main vines when they reach about 2 feet long.You can also increase the yield on a vine by removing all female flowers (these have a small swelling at the base of the bloom) for the first 3 weeks.These practices may produce a sturdier vine that can set more, albeit smaller, pumpkins during the growing season if you have good soil, sun, and moisture.Insect pests of pumpkins include spotted and striped cucumber beetles, which can transmit bacterial wilt disease, which causes vines to collapse and die.As pumpkins form, you can slip a piece of cardboard or folded newspaper beneath the fruit to prevent contact with soil and possible rot, especially if you are growing a precious few.Fruit is ripe when the outside is fully coloured, skin is hard, and the stem begins to shrivel and dry.Before storing, cure pumpkins by setting them in the sun for 10 to 14 days to harden the skin, seal the stem, and improve taste.Dry, warm weather is best; protect curing pumpkins from frosty nights with old blankets or by moving them into a shed or garage. .
How Long Will Pumpkins Keep on the Vine After They Are Ripe?
The ripe fruits can stay in the garden until the first frost if the weather is dry and temperatures do not dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for more than a week. .
How Do I Know When My Pumpkin Is Ripe?
The other day, I brought my friend out to the garden and parted the vines of my ‘Howden’ pumpkin plant, revealing an enormous green fruit.I knew it had something to do with the green color changing to the classic rich orange that this cultivar typically exhibits.As long as you know what to watch out for, you’re sure to pick your pumpkin at its prime, to enjoy as a Halloween decoration, pureed and baked in a pie, or slow-cooked to perfection in your favorite fall soup.By monitoring your Cucurbit plants and keeping your eye out for these five signs, you won’t miss the perfect picking time.An important thing to do is keep tabs on how long your plant has been growing and compare it to the days-to-maturity section on your seed packet.But instead of using this timeframe as a hard and fast rule, just start keeping your eye out for signs of readiness once mid-August hits.So you’ll need to harvest them early and let them ripen indoors if you notice that the weather’s going to cool off significantly, or your first killing frost is on the way.All immature gourds are green, so it’s common sense to assume that a pumpkin isn’t ripe until it turns orange, right?Along with color, one of the most important indicators of squash maturity is the shell, which should be hard and firm if you aim to keep a pumpkin around for a few months.If your nail makes a small dent but does not puncture the skin, that’s a good sign that the rind has matured into a hard shell and it’s time to pick your Cucurbit.The shell will protect the pumpkin from pests and diseases after it’s picked, which means it can be featured as a bright spot of autumnal sunshine on your front porch for a nice, long time.Say your gourd has mostly turned orange, and the vine around it is beginning to succumb to autumn’s cool temperatures.If the stem of your gourd feels hard to the touch, as opposed to being slightly spongy, check the color.The portion of stem that you leave on the gourd will actually continue to provide the last dregs of nutrients to the fruit, meaning it will last longer after it’s harvested.All you need to do is wipe the freshly cut fruit down with a dry cloth, and leave it in a warm, sunny spot for 10 days to two weeks.If your area is extra hot, you may want to provide a few hours of shade each day so the skin doesn’t get sunscald.After a week and a half or so of curing, your pumpkin will store nicely in a cool (50°F or slightly higher), dark, dry place until you can cook it. .
How and When to Harvest Pumpkins
It’s harvest time when your pumpkin has grown to its full extent and the vines start to wither and die.Along with ensuring that you cut the stem a few inches from the pumpkin to avoid early rotting, there are other technicalities you need to take care of.If you provide them with the necessary care and fulfill its required conditions, your pumpkins will thrive and your harvest will be successful.Let’s first talk about when to harvest pumpkin and then we can move forward to the actual process.Although distinctive species require different periods of time to grow mature, the process is identical for all pumpkins.Firstly if there are no signs of frost in your surroundings, the foliage and the vines are really healthy and thriving, know that your pumpkin is going to continue to grow.However, if the case is opposite; the foliage is attacked by pests, diseases and severe infections then the leaves and vines will wither and die.If the pumpkin has completely achieved its color according to the variety you have planted and your fingernail doesn’t leave an imprint then it’s time to harvest.See that the plant isn’t infected in any way and the vine starts to dry off and pull away from the pumpkin stems.If you see these signs on the main vine, you’ve executed the fingernail test, and your pumpkin has fully developed its respective color then it’s time to enjoy the fruitful outcomes of your hard work and efforts!Twisting and pulling your pumpkin directly from the vine might be enticing once you see your fruit ready but as they say, just because it’s easier, doesn’t mean it is better.In case you remove the stem completely, it is best practice to consume the fruit as early as possible as it will probably spoil.If you wish to eat the pumpkin the same day, wait for a few hours for the solution to evaporate and wash thoroughly before consuming it.After your pumpkin plant has successfully passed through all its growth stages, its color turns into a vibrant and beautiful orange.Make sure you check with the manufacturer of the seeds to know what color will your pumpkin form once it has fully grown.Simply jab your fingernail in the rind, if it punctures or dents then the fruit isn’t ripe yet.When the stem starts to dry off, twist, shrivel and turn hard then your pumpkin is ripe and ready for harvest.Cut the stem a few inches from the pumpkin and store your fruit in a warm place where the temperature is around 77ºF for about 14 days.As pumpkins need frost-free days and warm soil to thrive, you need to plant the seeds keeping the harvest time in mind.It is best practice to harvest pumpkins in late September or early October before heavy frosts settle in.The vines retain their lush green shade and stay healthy until it is time to harvest the fruit. .
Pumpkins Harvest and Store Tips
A mature pumpkin will have a hard, shiny shell that is not easily dented or punctured by a fingernail.Do not leave pumpkins in the garden if the weather turns cold and rainy or if a freeze is predicted.If pumpkins can’t be harvested before cold and rainy weather comes, put hay or straw under them to prevent rot caused by contact with damp soil.Pumpkin vines can be prickly, so protect your skin by wearing gloves and long sleeves when harvesting.Cure pumpkins by setting them in a warm place–80-85°F (26-29°C) and 80 to 85 percent relative humidity—for 10 days to two weeks.Curing will harden the skin, heal wounds, ripen immature fruit, and, importantly, improve flavor.Curing will harden the skin, heal wounds, ripen immature fruit, and, importantly, improve flavor.If frost or cold nights are predicted, cover curing pumpkins with old blankets or move them into a shed or garage. .