How to harvest pumpkins

Pumpkins are more than Halloween decorations!

My biggest lesson about growing pumpkins

Never grow cucumbers and pumpkins together as they are not good garden bed 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 pumpkin skin and 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 it is ripe.
  • Leave fruit as long as possible on the vine.
  • Make sure the vine stem 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 intend storing a bought pumpkin, buy one with a firm stem attached.

Tips

  • Do not worry about frost on the pumpkins. The frost kills the vine and hardens the pumpkin so it keeps better.
  • If your growing season is finished, the pumpkins 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. 

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% of Thiamine, B6 , folate, niacin and iron.

They are a versatile food.  You can add them to stir fries and salads, mash with butter, prepare as a soup or roasted vegetables or use to make delicious deserts.

Download your Low Budget Organic Gardening eBook – Understanding Companion Planting.

 

To err is human, a pumpkin is divine.