How to Harvest and Store Pumpkins

Written by Bill   Date Posted: 11 January 2017 

Pumpkin, Gourd and Winter Squash are all popular vegetables to grow in the home garden but how and when is the best time to harvest them?

So you have a thriving pumpkin patch full of beautiful pumpkins and you're starting to think about picking them.  Did you know that their taste and storage qualities will depend on when you harvest them and how you handle them?  Here's how to achieve maximum flavour and the longest shelf life:

 

Timing

If picked too early your pumpkin will be bland, having never developed its natural sweetness. If you wait too long, frost could shorten its shelf life. When the perfect moment arrives, you'll see one or more of these signs:

Dry leaves. When the leaves have dried and turned brown, the plant's life cycle is complete; it has infused as much flavor into its fruits as it possibly can. 

Woody stems. When the stems on each squash are no longer green, but tough and brown like wood your pumpkins are ready to harvest.

Frost is threatening. Exposure to a light frost will shorten the shelf life of the pumpkin, and a heavy freeze will ruin it. If the weather report predicts chilly temperatures, it's time to bring your pumpkins inside.

 

Harvest

Harvest your pumpkins by cutting them at the vine, leaving a few inches attached to each fruit. Remember that the stem on a pumpkin is not a handle; if a stem breaks off, be sure to eat that pumpkin quickly, before decay sets in. 

 

 

Curing

Curing pumpkins will give the fruit a tougher skin which will dramatically improve their storage life.

Wait a week for the skins to harden, or cure, before you transfer the pumpkin into long-term storage. If your climate is usually sunny, group the pumpkins together in the field; cover them with a tarp at night to protect from light frost, but remove the tarp each day for sun exposure. If the weather in your area is unpredictable, you can cure the pumpkins on a covered porch.  Do not stack them; arrange the pumpkins in a single layer with a few inches of separation so that air can flow between them.

 

Storing

Your pumpkins should store for up to six months(or even longer!) in a dark, dry room at temperatures between 10 and 16°C . It's a good idea to place a layer of cardboard or plywood beneath them; this will protect your floor if any of them begin to decay. Check and rotate the pumpkins regularly and discard any that show signs of mold. 

Keep in mind that thinner skinned varieties(like butternut) will generally not keep as long as thicker skinned varieties.

 

By harvesting your pumpkins at the peak of ripeness, and curing and storing them well, you'll achieve produce of gourmet quality that you'll be able to use throughout autumn and winter!


Related Products:

Pumpkin- Big Max

Pumpkin- Big Max

$1.50

Pumpkin- Waltham Butternut

Pumpkin- Waltham Butternut

$1.40

Pumpkin- Queensland Blue

Pumpkin- Queensland Blue

$1.50

Pumpkin- Galeux D'eysines

Pumpkin- Galeux D'eysines

$2.00

Pumpkin- Pink Banana Jumbo

Pumpkin- Pink Banana Jumbo

$1.50

Pumpkin- Small Sugar

Pumpkin- Small Sugar

$1.50

Pumpkin- Gramma

Pumpkin- Gramma

$1.50

Browse all our products here

Recent blog posts:


Seed Sowing - A Guide for Success

Author: Jennifer Charlotte   Date Posted: 12 April 2018 

Growing seeds is an exciting and satisfying journey, but many small details can make the difference to your success. Planning is vital - before sowing, decide on how to give your seedlings the best start in life, and you'll be rewarded with healthy plants

Read more


Green Manure - A Sustainable, Organic Soil Improver for Vegetable Growers

Author: Jennifer Charlotte   Date Posted: 3 April 2018 

A healthy, nutrient-rich soil is a vegetable grower's best friend. Green manure offers a sustainable way of improving your soil year on year for very little effort, and this article explains how to begin.

Read more


How to Grow Sprouts - the Quickest, Easiest Way to Put Home-Grown Food On Your Plate

Author: Jennifer Charlotte   Date Posted: 21 March 2018 

Sprouting seeds is probably the fastest way of putting home-grown food on your plate. This article explains the benefits of sprouts, and gives a clear, step-by-step guide on how to start sprouting at home.

Read more


How to Grow Microgreens - Its Simple and Quick but Intensely Rewarding

Author: Jennifer Charlotte   Date Posted: 16 March 2018 

Microgreens have been an essential highlight of modern kitchens over recent years, but they're far more than a passing trend. This article explains what they are, how to grow them, and why every green-fingered food lover should give them a try.

Read more


7 Essential Perennial Herbs for Your Garden

Author: Jennifer Charlotte   Date Posted: 8 March 2018 

Growing your own herbs provides a happy meeting between two great pastimes of gardening and cooking. Starting a herb garden opens up a huge range of flavors beyond those you'll find on the supermarket shelves.

Read more


View all blog posts