The Q&A Archives: Growing Pumpkins

Question: It is July and I have 20 pumpkins and they are turning Orange already. Even if they are orange and I leave them on the vine will they grow bigger? Right now they are half the size for a jack-o-lantern. So do pumpkins still grow and get bigger when then turn orange?

Answer: Your pumpkins may grow a little larger, but not much. Once they begin to color, they are just about as big as they are going to get. If your goal is to have large pumpkins, you'll want to limit the number of fruits on each vine to one or two. This way the vines will have fewer fruits in which to send their energy and the those pumpkins will be considerably larger.

Pumpkins will color before they are truly ready to pick. You will want to leave them on the vine until the skins have hardened up. When you can no longer pierce the skin with your fingernail, they are ready to pick. Cut them off the vine leaving a stub several inches long as a "handle". This is important to helping them keep better. Next, leave them in the garden to cure in the sunshine for about ten days; but do not allow them to be frosted. Then, dip them in a weak bleach and water solution to help avoid mold problems, let that dry thoroughly, and then store them in a cool dry location out of direct sun. The ideal temperature would be about 50 to 55 degrees.

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