Storing and Using Your Organic Pumpkins
and storing your pumpkins is an important part of successful
pumpkin growing. Here, we offer some basic tips for harvesting
and storing your pumpkins. Also, if you are interested in growing
pumpkins commercially, this site from the University of California
Davis is designed for commercial growers and has specific information
on optimal storage conditions of pumpkins and winter squash.
Most pumpkins take around 50 days to mature after the female
blossoms appear. You’ll know when your pumpkins are ready
to harvest when they have a rich color and the vines start to
die off. The rinds will also get nice and tough, and should
resist scratching with your fingernail. Make sure you harvest
your pumpkins with the stems and try to harvest before any threat
of deep frosts.
For medium sized pumpkins, you can expect a harvest of about
25-50 pumpkins per 100 foot row. Harvests may be higher for
small and miniature varieties, and lower for large or giant
pumpkins. If you have a large number of pumpkins to harvest,
make sure you use gloves, as many pumpkins have tiny bristles
on the stems that will begin to rough up your hands. These all-purpose
gloves are perfect for harvesting pumpkins.
For best results, pumpkins should be “cured” before
storing them by placing them in a warm, moist place for about
a week and a half. 80 degrees at 80% humidity should do the
trick. If you need to harvest your pumpkins earlier in the season,
the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service recommends
that you wash your pumpkins briefly in a solution of chlorine
bleach in water diluted to 10% before storing in a cool and
dry spot. For all pumpkins, you should store your pumpkins in
a cool place with the humidity around 60%. Do not allow your
pumpkins to freeze.
out your pumpkins in a single layer rather than stacking them
will ensure that they won’t rot due to lack of air circulation.
If your space is limited and you must stack your pumpkins, try
to stack them no more than 3 pumpkins high.
If for whatever reason your vines begin to die off before harvest
time, you can pick the mature pumpkins and store them until
you’re ready to use them in the fall. Make sure you leave
a decent amount of the stem attached and store your pumpkins
in a warm and dry place until the fall. As fall approaches,
move your pumpkins to a cool and dry place.
Check out this site from the National Center for Home Food Preservation
for more tips
on processing and storing pumpkins after harvest.
that you’ve learned how to successfully harvest your organic
pumpkins, you can go on to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Pumpkins
have a great variety of culinary uses, from roasting the seeds,
to pumpkin soup and pumpkin bread. Not to mention pumpkin pancakes
and pumpkin pudding! The folks at Clemson University are serious
about pumpkins and have a great
site devoted to pumpkin recipes. Enjoy!
2005 Pumpkin Growing Tips. All Rights Reserved.
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