The Q&A Archives: When do you harvest pumpkins

Question: How do you know when to harvest pumpkins? I have one pumpkin for my four plants. It is already orange. Do I cut it off now?

Answer: Pumpkins will taste bland and watery and won't store well unless you allow them to fully ripen on the vine. Wait until the plants die back and the shells are hard. A light frost will improve the flavor by changing some of the starch to sugar, but it may shorten their storage life. Try to harvest pumpkins after the vines have died back, but before a frost. Harvest during dry weather by cutting the fruit from the vine, leaving 3-4 inches of stem. Dry in the sun until the stems shrivel and turn gray. Then brush dirt off and store in a cool, dry area. Pumpkins will keep several months in storage.

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