Vegetables and Fruit forum: Is the Pumpkin Ready to Harvest?

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Jaco17
Mar 17, 2017 9:00 PM CST
Hey everyone! It is my first time growing pumpkins in South Florida and boy did I get lucky. I have pretty large pumpkin on the vine right now that measures 24 inches from stem to the bottom (half of the circumference). Its fairly orange (I have had it covered under a towel ever since it started to get big) and it was pollinated on 2/21), but I'm not sure if I should pick it yet. It resists my fingernail a little bit but I'm not sure if it sounds "hollow"

It is Burpee's First Prize Hybrid.

Does anyone have an idea of some other signs I should look for? Can I leave it on for too long?

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Thanks everyone!!!

(I really want to make pumpkin pie!)
[Last edited by Jaco17 - Mar 18, 2017 5:36 AM (+)]
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Mar 18, 2017 11:32 AM CST
Welcome to NGA, @Jaco17 .

Congratulations on your very successful first attempt at growing a pumpkin in S. Florida, that's a beauty!

First Prize is one of the "giant" pumpkins, apparently potentially growing to 300 pounds. When did you actually plant your seeds (or the plant, if that's what you started with)? Pumpkins usually take around 120 days from seed, and if yours was "pollinated on 2/21" (I'm assuming you mean that before that there was no baby pumpkin growing?) I don't think you have a mature pumpkin there. If you harvest a pumpkin early the flesh will be very watery. From your photos it also appears to be a lighter yellow than the mature orange color that it should have. I'd let it keep growing at least until you hit the 4-months from planting mark (if you haven't already) and see how it looks then. Smiling

Also, there's a lot of difference in how well pumpkin varieties work for making pies (some have nice smooth flesh, some are pretty stringy), so if, once you harvest your big pumpkin, you are disappointed in it as a pie pumpkin, don't give up -- many of the smaller types make great pumpkin pie (as do many winter squash).
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Jaco17
Mar 18, 2017 12:12 PM CST
Thank you for an awesome reply! The seeds were sowed around December 15 of 2016, putting it around the 90-day mark. If the flesh doesn't come out smooth, I will try a smaller variety next year as the summer is getting too hot for pumpkins (time for watermelon!!!). I will wait and see if the color darkens. Do you know if I could leave the pumpkin on for too long? As in, can it over ripen on the plant?
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
Image
Weedwhacker
Mar 18, 2017 4:14 PM CST
"Do you know if I could leave the pumpkin on for too long? As in, can it over ripen on the plant?"

I don't believe so, at least not within any reasonable time period... but I'm gardening in about as different a climate from yours as one can get in the country (my main problem is getting the pumpkins harvested before they get frozen, LOL) so I'm not really sure. Maybe @Farmerdill could give us some insight about that!
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
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Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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farmerdill
Mar 18, 2017 5:09 PM CST
Weed whacker covered the subject well. They won't over ripen on the vine, You have to watch for pests that may damage The fruit. I am not in a frost free zone either so I really don't know much about south Florida conditions. But remember First Prize is a show pumpkin so don't expect too much for pies. It also has a 120 day growing season which would suggest April 15 as the target maturity date. The vine will usually show decline as it ripens and the stem will dry.

Jaco17
Mar 19, 2017 6:22 AM CST
Thank you farmerdill and Weedwhacker! I will wait until the vine starts to die-back. Thanks for all the help! I have also reached the conclusion that it is a maxima pumpkin.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
Image
Weedwhacker
Mar 19, 2017 7:27 AM CST
You are correct that it is Cucurbita maxima -- and the plants database here could use some photos of it!

Pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima 'First Prize')
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities[/I] / Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map

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