Harvesting Pumpkins: How To Plant & Grow Pumpkins

Dawson Steele

Are you looking to go bigger and better when it comes to your pumpkin-centric activities this Fall? Have no fear! We have all the tips and tricks to help take your pumpkin-picking, growing, harvesting, and carving to the next level!

Whether you want to get huge pumpkins for a show-stopping jack-o-lantern or just want to put in the effort for a really impressive display in your front yard, it’s all about having lots of fun! Let’s get into all the creative ways to make this Fall extra spook-tacular!

The Secrets of Growing Perfect Pumpkins for Harvesting

How to Select a Pumpkin

When it comes to picking out a pumpkin, be sure to look for one free of blemishes with no signs of decay or soft spots. Also, choose one with a smooth, firm rind that is heavy for its size and avoid any with bruises or cracks in the rind.

How to Store a Pumpkin

Once you have your pumpkin, give it a good wash in a mild bleach solution. Let it dry before storing it in cold, dark place like a refrigerator or basement for up to two months for optimal freshness!

Harvesting Pumpkins

In order to properly harvest your pumpkins before the first hard frost but also after the vines have starting to turn brown and die back. Use a clean, sharp knife to cut about 4-inches of the stem off of the fruit (make sure to leave at least 2-inches on). Then use the stem to gently lift it off of the vine so you can avoid breaking off the stem of the pumpkin.

Types of Pumpkins

Did you know there is more than just one type of pumpkin? Check out all of your options when selecting your perfect pumpkin! Whether it’s mini-sized, Jack-O-Lanterns or heirloom varieties – take your pick!

Uses for Pumpkins

Sure, you can use pumpkins for decorating by carving into classic Jack-O-Lanterns but did you know you can also use them in recipes like soups, stews and breads? Pie pumpkins have an even better texture for making homemade puree that can go into all sorts of desserts!

Health Benefits of Pumpkinns

Pumpkins are teaming with vitamins like beta-carotene in form of vitamin A which can help keep your immune system up! Get all of those nutritional benefits by snacking on small varieties like pie pumpkins or sugar pumpkins!

History of Pumpkins

Did you ever stop and think about why we have our beloved tradition of carving out spooky Jack-O-Lanterns on Halloween? It turns out that Irish immigrants brought over this tradition when they came over to America – except they were probably carving out turnips instead! Talk about old school!

Fun Facts about Pumpkins

Here are some fun fast facts about these edible orange orbs worth knowing: The largest recorded pumpkin weighed in at 1,469 pounds! And on average, pumpkins have an entire life cycle of just 120 days! Pretty amazing right?

The Perfect Timing: Knowing When to Harvest Your Pumpkins

Green Pumpkins

If you have some pumpkins on the vine that are still green, it’s not time to pick them! These need to stay on the vine to ripen and for the skin to harden. If it’s getting to be October but your pumpkins aren’t quite ripe yet, let them stay on the vine to get as big as possible before you pick them.

Pale-Orange Pumpkins

If your pumpkins have started to turn pale-orange but others are still mostly green, give all of them at least a few more days before picking. All of the pumpkins need to be fully orange before they’re ready to go, but try to get all of them at once in order to avoid rot on the vine.

All-Over Orange Pumpkins

When all of your pumpkins have turned all-over orange, it’s finally time for harvesting! Whether you want to use them for Jack-o’-lanterns or cooking up some pumpkin dishes in the kitchen, make sure to leave at least two inches of the stem on each pumpkin for longest freshness. But no matter what use you have for your pumpkins this season, once all-over orange is your cue—pick away!

How to Perfectly Harvest Pumpkins!

When to Start Looking for Signs of Ripeness

Pumpkins are usually ready for harvesting by late September to early October. Before you pick it, check the variety to see how long it takes to mature. Keep an eye on the weather in the week before you want to harvest it to make sure it isn’t set to be rainy for several days in a row- that could cause splitting or rotting on the vine.

Signs You Should Look for in Your Pumpkin!

  • It should have at least achieved the desired color- usually many types of pumpkins take at least two months on the vine before they get their deep orange color. Keep it on for another week to let it mature if it hasn’t reached your desired look by then.
  • All over it’s skin should sound and feel hard when you tap it- if it still feels hollow in any places after two months on the vine, keep it on for a couple more weeks before picking!
  • The stem should also be dry and brown by this point- once it reaches this stage, no more nutrients will go into making it bigger! But also use this as a sign that bad weather roll have been prepared for, as more dry stems can help keep them on the vine better!
  • If all is good but your pumpkin is small in size- put into a big paper bag by itself for about a week to help get its desired color! Put some holes in for breathing but keep shut for optimal curing! For bigger ones, put in sunny spot of your yard also over about a week!
  • When cutting from vine use at least 4 inch distance away with sharp knife to help keep pumpkin lasting longer after being harvested! Also don’t try carrying by stem most likely break off easily!

Harvesting and Storing Pumpkins: Ensuring a Bountiful Future Harvest

Step 1: Give it a Bath to Get Rid of All that Autumnal Fun!

Give your pumpkin a good scrub before storing it to get all of the dirt, bacteria, and residue from off it before you set it away for the year. Use antibacterial soap for light staining, but for tough spots try non-toxic cleaners like vinegar or bleach for ultimate cleanliness!

Step 2: Keep it Sealed for Ultimate Protection!

Find a big plastic food storage bag to keep your pumpkin in and seal it up tight! Make sure to use one that is large enough to fit your pumpkin, or go for an extra-large option like an airtight plastic container if you have larger pumpkins on-hand.

Step 3: Keep it Cool in Storage!

Keep your pumpkin in an area of the house like the basement or crawl space! Aim for temperatures no greater than 75 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid it rotting in storage. Set it on top of cardboard as well to keep away any hungry critters and also protect it from moisture on the ground.

Step 4: Check on Your ‘Gourd-eous’ Masterpiece Every Now and Then!

Make sure to check on your pumpkin every couple of weeks to see how it is doing! Look out for signs of shriveling or wrinkling – give it a spritz of water to keep it moisturized if need be; but try not to make it too wet as this can also lead to rot. Also check for pests or other signs of damage – get rid of any bad pumpkins right away to avoid spreading to the others in storage!

Gardening Tips for Growing Giant Pumpkins On-The-Go!

1. Start with Quality Seeds

Getting good-quality seeds is the first key to growing giant pumpkins in your own backyard! Buy fresh seeds for the current year as it takes about 15 to 20 of them to plant a single hill of pumpkin plants. Keep in mind to store them in a cool, dry place to keep them viable for up to 5 years after purchase.

2. Use Fertilizer to Promote Big Pumpkin Growth

In order to get those big pumpkins, start by adding some rich compost to your garden before planting your pumpkin seeds. It also helps keep the soil loose for better air and water circulation to the roots of your pumpkin plants! Once it starts taking off, give it a boost by using a natural fertilizer at least once a month at a rate of ½ cup per plant- it will help keep it on track!

3. Give it Shelter With Companion Planting

To give it some extra warmth in early spring and in the fall, try planting tall, leafy crops like corn nearby to help keep your pumpkin vines at comfortable temperatures. Plus, it can also help protect from strong winds!

4. Train Your Vine for Better Pumpkin Growth

In order for all of that hard work to put into just one or two big pumpkins instead of lots of smaller ones, use smooth wood to train the vine up! Put small pieces at regular intervals on the ground around your pumpkin plant, go up onto the wood and repeat until you get longer vines!

5. Take Control of Pollination

Keep pollinators away by picking off all of the male flowers on your plant and keep pollination away!

6. Pick Pumpkins at Peak Maturity for Good Results

For those delicious pumpkins you can take into consideration once it gets close to harvest season is look at the skin of your pumpkins- when it starts to turn light orange, give it at least another week before picking out for best results!

Bring a Smile to Your Face with Carved Pumpkin Harvesting and Creation

As Halloween creeps closer, you might be eager to start on your annual pumpkin-carving routine. But it can get pretty messy! Avoid all of the goop-coated clothes and floors by following these five tips for cleanly creating an awesome Jack-o’-lantern.

Prep Your Pumpkin-Carving Workspace

Before you let out your inner artist, set up a work area that will help keep things in check. Laying out newspaper or a plastic tablecloth to cover the surface is a good start. Also have paper towels on hand to wipe off any of your carving tools, as well as a large bowl for all of your pumpkin scraps. Keep your template in-tact by taping it to the front of the bowl for some extra help in staying put!

Use a Good Tool for Scraping Out the Pumpkin

Using a serrated pumpkin-carving knife is the way to go for cutting into and scraping away all of that slimy goop once it’s time to clean up. These knives are cheap and can be re-sharpened once they get dull over time. But before doing so, always give it good washing off to avoid any chance of food-borne illness!

Keep Your Pumpkin Stable

To keep things in place while creating your Jack-o’-lantern masterpiece, use either an old lazy Susan or small turntable for easy spinning around to all of those different angles on the pumpkin without having to pick it up off of the table..

Use an Ice-Cube Tray for Pumpkin-Seed-Extraction

If you want to give away small bags of freshly roasted pumpkin seeds but want avoid all that slime, try this handy hack! Put about half of all of the goop into an ice-cube tray before sticking into the freezer for at least several hours or overnight. Let all of that juicy goodness settle down before popping out all of those cubes into a bowl for roasting and tossing out those empty husks! But don’t forget those last bits before popping into the oven!

Disinfect Your Tools When You’re Finished

Soak all of your carving tools in 1:9 bleach to water solution for about five to 10 minutes before use, then rinse them off really well before air-drying before storing away in dry location until next year!

Final Thoughts

Being out in the pumpkin field can be an exciting adventure for any young person! From picking and harvesting to carving, it’s all about having fun and learning important lessons along the way. I had so much fun on my family’s outing to get pumpkins, help my dad with work, and get to play in such a peaceful environment.

I think it’s important to take time away from all of life’s distractions in order to take in all of nature’s beauty before it is gone. I also learned about the power of hard-work, dedication and problem-solving through my success at harvesting pumpkins! I have newfound respect for my dad and all of those out in the fields at this time of year! All in all, it was a beautiful experience that I’ll never forget!

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