How to Harvest Pumpkins

Pumpkins are more than Halloween decoration!

My biggest lesson about growing pumpkins is:

Never grow cucumbers and pumpkins together they are not good sleeping companions. They will cross pollinate as they are family and you will end up with not great pumpkins or cucumbers.

Tips for harvesting pumpkins:

  • press your nail in the skin if it resists puncture (should be hard), it is ripe
  • be sure it has reached full colour
  • cut fruit off the vine carefully with sharp knife pruners (do not tear)
  • allow 3 to 4 inches at the stem to increase the keeping time
  • if your pumpkin makes a hollow sound its ripe
  • leave fruit as long as possible on the vine
  • make sure the vine that is attached to the pumpkin has died and turned brown and woody

    Young pumpkins sheltering under the massive leaves
    Young pumpkins sheltering under the massive leaves

Storing your pumpkins:

  1. wash dirt off your pumpkins
  2. store in a cool, dark, dry place
  3. store on a board or on a piece of cardboard
  4. if you are storing a bought pumpkin buy one with a firm stem attached


  • Do not worry about frost on the pumpkins. The frost kills the vine and hardened the pumpkin so it keeps better.
  • If your growing season is finished they will still ripen and colour up off the vine if placed in a warm sunny spot.

How long will they keep?
Healthy disease free pumpkins should last 8 to 12 weeks.

Ripe pumpkins curing and ready to eat
Ripe pumpkins curing and ready to eat

How healthy are pumpkins?
One cup of cooked pumpkin provides 100% of your Vitamin A for the day, 20% of your Vitamin C,  Vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper, and manganese and 5% for Thiamine, B6 , folate, niacin and iron.

In the kitchen they are versatile you can add to stir fries and salads, mash with butter, prepare as soup and roasted vegetables and make delicious deserts.

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To err is human, a pumpkin is divine.