Recommended Varieties of Pumpkins
There are lots of options out there for the pumpkin gardener. You can focus on growing giant pumpkins, pumpkins that are known for their flavor, or you can grow a big crop of Jack O’Lantern style pumpkins for Halloween. There are also miniature pumpkins that make excellent ornaments for both Thanksgiving and Halloween. You can even try your hand at growing one of the unusual varieties of pumpkins such as a red, white or blue pumpkin!
Some of the largest varieties of pumpkins for the home garden include Big Max, Big Moon PVP, Prizewinner, Atlantic Giant, Gold Rush PVP, Jumpin’ Jack and Mammoth Gold. These pumpkins may grow to be over 100 pounds!
If you’re looking to grow pumpkins for baking or cooking, you might want to try a few of the following varieties: Peek a Boo, Sugar Treat, Dickinson Field, Baby Pam, Triple Treat, Kentucky Field, Buckskin (a hybrid), and Chelsey (also a hybrid). The reason that these kinds of pumpkins are good for cooking is because they are meatier and have less stringy fibers than carving pumpkins. These pumpkins also have a better flavor and are smaller than carving pumpkins.
Pumpkins that are suitable for Jack O’Lanterns come in a variety of sizes. Small pumpkin varieties (around 5 pounds) for carving include Winter Luxury, Spooktacular, Trickster, Sugar Treat, Baby Bear, Spookie, and Triple Treat. For medium to large pumpkins up to 25 pounds, try Autumn Gold, Frosty, Jack-o-Lantern, Harvest Moon, Aspen, Howden Field (one of the most popular), Trick or Treat, or Connecticut Field. Connecticut Field is a variety that also makes a good canning pumpkin. Trick or Treat, and Winter Luxury are nice varieties for both decorating and for cooking. Connecticut Field, Spirit Hybrid and Autumn Gold are great pumpkins with deep orange color that can be used for carving and pumpkin pies.
Miniature pumpkins are a wonderful way to grow pumpkins that won’t take up too much space. These pumpkins are suitable for decorative purposes throughout the fall. Try out Baby Bear, Jack-Be-Little, Munchkin, Sweetie Pie, and Jack-Be-Quick. Baby Boo is a beautiful white miniature variety.
For the adventurous gardener, there are several varieties of unusual pumpkins. White pumpkins are quite popular and you can try out Lumina, White Ghost, Casper, or Snowball. Lumina has a unique flavor and is also a good carving pumpkin. If you’re looking for something more unusual, Red Warty and Cinderella pumpkins provide a reddish color and unusual texture. Both these varieties are good for cooking. Believe it or not, there is actually a blue pumpkin out there called Blue Lakota. It is a light blue/grey color. Other unusual varieties include the Japanese Pumpkin, or Kabocha, and the Lil Pump Ke Mon, which is a miniature white pumpkin with green and orange stripes.
See this site from the University of Illinois for more pumpkin varieties.