Frost On Immature Pumpkins - Knowledgebase Question

Minneapolis, MN
Question by rpspas
September 18, 2000
I have several pumpkins growing on my vine. Some are bright orange, quite hard, and others are small to middle sized, light to bright yellow and still 'dentable'. There is supposed to be a real frost this weekend. Do I need to cover the 'baby'pumpkins or let them take the frost? And the mature pumpkins, is it best to cut them off right after?


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Answer from NGA
September 18, 2000

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Pumpkins are very tender when it comes to frost tolerance. You should protect them all with a covering. Don't use plastic. Cover at the end of the day to trap any heat that's in the ground and remove the covering the next morning when temperatures warm up. Pumpkins that get hit by frost will rot, so it's best to harvest them before the frost. Try to leave two inches of stem, which helps during storage. The best time to harvest is when the color has reached the expected shade and when the skin can't be pressed in with a fingernail. I know that's hard to do when Jack Frost is around. Good luck!

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