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Aug 1, 2011 09:30 AM

What to do about my pumpkins...

Well, I was a little premature about planting you live and learn...

This is the first year I have done pumpkins and I planted in early spring. Apparently I should have waited until late spring because now I have about 9 gorgeously orange pumpkins. They have been orange for a bit now and I am finally coming to the conclusion that they will not last until halloween for my kids to carve. So at this point, what should I do? I have them all still on the vines. Should I leave them on the vines so that maybe they are still getting a little nutrients to keep up their survival? Or should I cut them and hide them somewhere cool? I am seeing a couple vines that are starting so I am thinking if I cut off the already orange pumpkins and all their vines back that maybe it will push some energy into the few new vines that are starting and there might be a slight chance that I will get a few more that might be good for halloween.

There is also one vine that has seemed to pop up on it's own in a new spot so I am crossing my fingers that it pushes something out. Anyway, any advice is good advice...thanks :-)

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  1. I've only had experience growing the so called Cindarella pumpkin, "Rouge vif D'Etampes". The only problem I had with that was to perform surgery on the vine to get rid of the dreaded pumpkin borer. You do have to know the best time for planting any seeds in your horticultiral zone, though. It's usually after the last frost date in your area, but that can change yearly from time to time.

    Here's a site that has good information regarding harvesting and storing pumpkins...
    and another...

    Good Luck.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      Thanks Gio. Yeah, I am in Southern California so we really don't get frost. I just jumped the Oh well. Next year I will plant later. Now I need to come up with some good pumpkin recipes because we are going to need to do something with all this extra

      1. re: LadyGuise

        OIC. Well. I think you could still let them stay on the vine for a little while longer...till they get hard, then store them in a cool place. Last year my final CSA delivery was mid-October. I stored 3 butternut and 2 acorn squash in a make-shift root cellar (a cool, ventilated cooler) and we ate the last squash in late Feb/early March. They were still perfect after all that time. So I say it's worth a try to store if you have several pumpkins. Eat some save some.

        As for recipes, look for stuffed pumpkin recipes. That's my favorite way to eat them after cooking from several COTMs.

        1. re: Gio

          Ok, forgive me for sounding dumb, but... did you make your own cooler? If so, how did you do it? Maybe if I even took like 4 of them and put them in some kind of make-shift cool that might be good. I do have one huge cooler that isn't being used right now.

          And stuffed pumpkin...that sound interesting. I will do a search for some recipes... thanks

          1. re: LadyGuise

            Not dumb...

            We used a regular "cooler" that one would take to a picnic/tailgate/beach. Placed 3 frozen ice packs on the bottom, put the squashes around the ice packs trying not to touch them either to each other or the packs, propped the lid up with a short piece of wood - on its flat side, on the corner of the cooler, (about 2" high)

            We have a back entry, that's closed off from the back hall, where it's usually 10 degrees cooler than out of doors. That's where the cooler/root cellar lived all winter.

            It looks similar to this one:


            1. re: Gio

              And how often did you have to add ice? I might try this!

              1. re: LadyGuise

                Correction to the last paragraph above:

                I meant to say the back entry is 10 degrees WARMER than outside...

                The ice packs were changed whenever we thought to take the temperature in the cooler which was about once a week after food shopping. We tried to keep it about 50F. When the outside temp got somewhere in the 20s F we put the cooler in the back hall where it's even warmer. Both these areas are on the northwest side of the house and in the back, off the kitchen...just for reference.

            2. re: LadyGuise

              Hard-shelled squash and pumpkins like to be cool, but not cold -I think I remember reading that~ 50-65F is ideal for long-term storage. If you just want them to hang on for a month or two, warmer should be OK. Gio's method should be perfect for you in So Cal.

      2. I finally cut them :-( It was kind of a sad feeling but I cleaned up the whole patch and it looks like there are a few potential starters that might turn into something worthy. Everyone keep your fingers crossed for me!!!

        1. This is our second year growing pumpkins and we are having the opposite problem. We have been getting a bunch of little pumpkins started but as soon as they get to be about 2" in diameter they fall off of the vine. Does anybody know what could be causing this? I am watering them pretty regularly and feeding them with the Miracle grow sprayer every 10 days or so.

          2 Replies
          1. re: TongoRad

            Is pollination occuring? Just because you see small pumpkins, if they are falling off the vine pollination probably has not occurred.

            Here are some helpful websites...

            Also, be careful of over fertilizing.

            1. re: Gio

              Thanks, Gio. I had assumed that pollination had occured but to be safe we will be trying to pollinate them ourselves. Thanks for the links, also, and wish me luck.

              FWIW- we do have at least two small pumpkins started already, about the size of a large grapefruit, so it's not a total loss at this point.

          2. When the pumpkins are ripe cut them and store them. They will keep for quite a while. First wipe off with a dilute bleach solution to kill any mold, etc, that may be on them.

            I have a neighbor who had a pumpkin (not carved) on his porch for months after Hallowe'en, looked fine.