Days to Harvest:
The variety grown by most commercially is Connecticut Field'. They are usually between 10 and 20 pounds each and orange color. Watery, with bland taste, this is not a great pie pumpkin.
Pumpkins need to be cured, to store well. Place in a warm, sunny spot (low to mid 80s F.) And space so they are not touching. Allow to cure about 10 days. Then they can be stored in a cool, dry spot (50 F.)
- Carving Pumpkins : 'Connecticut Field', 'Ghost Rider' or (yes) 'Jack O' Lantern'.
- Giant Pumpkins : 'Atlantic Giant
- Cooking Pumpkins : 'Small Sugar', aka 'New England Pie'.
- Heirloom Cinderella Pumpkin : Rouge vif D'Etampes, Musque de Provence
- White Pumpkins : Baby Boo, Lumina, Casper
- Other Colors : Australian Blue & Rouge DEtant (Red)
- Hull-less Varieties : Hungarian Mammoth, Lady Godiva, Triple-Treat,
Pumpkins like full sun and a rich, well-draining soil. Soil ph should be slightly acidic, 6.0 to 6.5.
You can start seeds indoors about three weeks before the last expected frost. If your growing season is long enough, sow seeds directly in the garden when the soil temperature reaches about 60 degrees F. Plant 3-6 seeds in a hill, or slightly raised mound. Spacing varies with the variety (check the seed packet), but in general allow at least 5 feet between plants in each direction. Vines and roots can easily spread 15'. Maintenance: Thin the seedling to the strongest 2 -3 plants. Mulch around the plants to conserve moisture, suppress weeds and keep the fruit clean. It also helps to place boards or old roof tiles under the fruits, to keep them from touching the ground and rotting.
Give your plants at least 1 to 2 inches of water a week, especially when they're blooming and setting fruit. Once the first fruits appear, you can pinch back the vine tips, to limit vine growth and to put the plants energy into maturing the existing pumpkins. However, this may limit production of more fruits.
Turn the pumpkins slightly every week or so, to keep them growing symmetrical. Do this gently. You dont want to snap the vines.
Problems: Squash bugs and cucumber beetles. Avoid planting close a relative, like cucumbers or squash. Companion Planters can try planting petunias or nasturtiums nearby to repel the squash bugs and circling each hill at planting with radishes, to ward of squash beetles.