When to Pick Pumpkins | Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Pumpkins


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This article’s primary objective is meant to educate us on when to pick pumpkins and other necessary subtopics discussed in the topics.

When to Pick Pumpkins

There are several ways to know when to pick pumpkins are ready to be picked.


Whether you are growing pumpkins for fall decorations or garden, color is probably an important factor. Once the pumpkin on the vine is the right color, you can pick it up. The color may become more saturated if it stays on the plant, but take it off if you like the shade.

The pumpkin skin hardens with ripening

Glue the sticker to the outer skin of the pumpkin. If the skin is hard and the adhesive does not penetrate easily, it can be cut. If it is soft and still has a deep cut, leave the plant a little longer.

When pumpkin stem to the plant be green and robust:

When the fruit reaches natural maturity, the stem begins to crack. This is also a good time to choose. The vine begins to wilt, and the pumpkin can shatter, saving some effort.

Hitting a ripe pumpkin with your fingernail should make a dull sound:

It is difficult to describe a boring sound for someone who has not heard it. Just like a drum, but not as loud or excited. This is the most difficult way to determine when to choose.

In severe frost, the leaves will die, the plant will no longer support the pumpkins, and the vine will die. Some gardeners are waiting for this moment to reap. Pumpkins can withstand light frosts but must be picked and protected before severe frosts. Low temperatures can damage the pulp.


The vines and stems are prickly. When you decide that the time is right, use scissors or a knife to cut the stem. For Jack-O-Lanterns, leave enough stem to hold the cover. Three or ten centimeters is enough. If the vine is dead, it is easy to separate the pumpkin manually. Do not bring the pumpkin by the stem; use both hands. If you carry a heavy pumpkin by the stem, it can burst, break the pumpkin when it hits the ground, or remove the handle from the lid, affecting its aesthetic appearance. A lost stem can also cause the pumpkin to rot prematurely.

The vines, whether alive or dead, are ready for the compost pile. They can add many green ingredients while remaining fresh and a good balance for dry leaves, which usually appear to be picked.

After cutting the pumpkin from the vine, it should harden for at least ten days if you plan to store it. The hardening further strengthens the skin and keeps it moist so that the flesh remains fresh for a long time. If not storing, there is no need to dry, and you can use it immediately. Properly dried pumpkins can be stored at 10 ° C for two to three months and up to six months in a dark, well-ventilated area.

Read More: How to Choose the Right Pot for your Cactus

When to Pick Pumpkins

Caring for Pumpkins

Place the pumpkins in the sun to make them sturdy. Ideally, high temperatures and high humidity (minimum 80 ° F and 80% humidity) are necessary for the best drying, but few producers experience such conditions at harvest time. Store the cured pumpkins at about 500F (100 C) with about 60 percent humidity. A shed or garage will do. Place pumpkins in a sunny, dry place to prevent them from rotting in contact with moist soil. Also, unrestrained Nitrogen on the soil will be harmful to pumpkins so keep in mind to reduce it. While the days are sunny and warm, pumpkins heal. If there is a threat of frost, cover them overnight with straw, plastic, or canvas or bring them inside. Disinfect the pumpkin after you harvest the pumpkin, wipe it down with a 10 percent bleach solution.

After drying or to facilitate drying, place the pumpkins inside. This must be done before low temperatures can damage them. Please do not place the pumpkins on top of each other and do not let them touch each other; this can cause weaknesses and potential decay. Gently clean the pumpkins by brushing off any excess dirt and then place them in an area with a temperature of about 80 to 85 degrees F with 75 to 85 percent relative humidity for 7 to 10 days.

Do not place them near apples or other ripe fruit. The ethylene gas they emit can shorten the life of the pumpkin. Ideally, high temperatures and high humidity are needed for the best curing (at least 80F degrees and 80% humidity), but the reality is that few gardeners have those conditions at harvest time.

When to pick pumpkins NZ

When to Plant Pumpkins

Pumpkins develop best when the seeds are planted straightforwardly in the dirt. Wait for the plant’s soil temperature to reach 21 ° C or more before sowing outdoors. The ideal soil temperature is 95 ° F- 850F (26-290C) and 80 to 85 percent relative humidity for 10 days to two weeks. Pumpkins are extremely delicate to cold.

  • If your growing season is very short, sow indoors in peat pots about 2 to 4 weeks before the last spring frost. Make sure to harden before transplanting.
  • Choose an area with the strong sun (shaded) and ample space to spread the vines. Pumpkin varieties require 50 to 100 square feet per hill.
  • However, if your garden space is limited, Plant a pumpkin on the edge of the garden and direct the vine’s growth to the lawn or sidewalk. The screws will only be uncomfortable for a few weeks. You can even grow pumpkin in large 5 to 10-gallon buckets! Or try the miniature varieties.
  • Pumpkins are large and greedy. They prefer very rich, well-drained, and not-too-humid soils. Mix large amounts of compost and seasoned manure at the planting site before sowing or replanting. 

How to Grow a Pumpkin

After learning when to pick pumpkins lets learn how to grow it.

  • Use row covers to protect plants early in the season and prevent insects from entering. But remember to remove the caps before flowering, to allow insects to pollinate.
  • Pumpkins are very thirsty and need a lot of water. Water an inch a week. 
  • During watering: keep the leaves and fruits dry, unless it is a sunny day. Moisture increases the likelihood of rot and other diseases.
  • Add mulch around pumpkins to retain moisture, suppress weeds, and repel pests.
  • Remember that pumpkins are tender from seed to harvest. Weed control with mulch. Do not transplant or damage very small roots.
  • Most small vines can be a pergola.
  • Larger varieties can also be grown on a trellis – although it is an engineering challenge to sustain the fruit – usually with steaks or old socks.
  • If your first flowers are not bearing fruit, this is normal. Male and female flowers must open. Be patient.
  • Bees are essential for pollination, so be careful when using insecticides to kill pests. If necessary to use, apply only in the late afternoon or early evening when the flowers are closed during the day. To attract more bees, try to place a bee house in your garden.
  • Pumpkin tendrils, although stubborn, are very gentle. Be careful not to damage the vine, as this can impair the quality of the fruit.

How to Plant Pumpkins

After learning when to pick pumpkins, lets learn about its plantation process.

Plant the seeds in lines or “pumpkin slopes” about the size of little compartment slopes. On the slopes, the dirt warms quicker, and the seeds sprout quicker. It additionally assists with seepage and control. 

  • Set up the slopes ahead of time with extremely old excrement covered somewhere down in the dirt (30 to 15 inches). If you don’t have manure, loosen the soil and mix it with a 5 to 10 cm thick compost layer.
  • Plant seeds 1 inch deep in the hills (4 to 5 seeds per hill). The space hills were about one to eight meters away.
  • Your plants should sprout in less than a week at the correct soil temperature (70 degrees Fahrenheit) and sprout in 5-10 days. 
  • When plants are 2-3 inches tall, thin out 2-3 plants on the hill, cutting out unwanted plants without affecting others’ roots.
  • Inline, sow seeds 6-12 inches separated, in columns 6-10 feet separated. Prune the plants to one plant every 18-36 inches. The ideal relative humidity is 50 to 70 %; with lower humidity, the fruit may shrink some, but higher can allow the disease to invade the fruit.
Picking pumpkins too early

How to Harvest Pumpkin

It is best to harvest the pumpkins when they are fully ripe. That way, they will get the best. Do not pull the pumpkins off the vine because they have already reached the desired size. 

  • The pumpkin is ripe when its skin is firm and rich in color (orange in most varieties).
  • When you hit the pumpkin with your finger, the skin will be hard and hollow. Press the nail on the pumpkin’s skin; if it resists a puncture, it means it is mature.
  • Pick the pumpkin and squash on a dry day after the plants have died and the skin is hard.
  • Leave 1-2 inches of stem on the squash to slow rot.
  • To harvest the pumpkin, carefully cut the vine’s fruits with a sharp knife or pruner; do not vomit. Be careful not to cut the pumpkin too close; a large amount of stem (3 to 4 inches) will increase the pumpkin’s life.
  • Handle pumpkins very carefully; otherwise, they can cause injury.

When to Pick Pumpkins: FAQs

How do you know that pumpkins are ready to be harvested?

When ready for harvest, the pumpkin should be fully colored, regardless of the shade. The crust must also be hard. If the nail hits easily or leaves a mark on the skin, the pumpkin is not ready to be harvested. Choose a pumpkin that is too soft, and it will wilt after a few days.

Can the pumpkin be left on the vine for a long time?

You should leave the pumpkins on the plant as long as possible. They ripen and change color only as they grow. Unlike tomatoes and bananas, the pumpkin does not improve after being picked. There are several ways to determine when pumpkins are ready for harvest.

Do vines ripen pumpkins?

Ideally, the pumpkins should be harvested fully ripe, dark orange in color, and with hardened skin. However, if the pumpkins start to change color, they will ripen on the vine if kept in the right conditions. Even if the pumpkins are ripe, the drying period can extend the service life.

Last Words

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