Sunday, August 15, 2010

When should you harvest pumpkins and winter squash?

I  recently harvested two pumpkins. Neither was completely orange but I could not puncture the skin with a finger nail, the stage at which they are ready to harvest. Instead of leaving these pumpkins I cut them off the vine and put them on my back stoop. They continued to ripen and are now uniformly orange.

If you leave pumpkins and winter squash on the vine even though they are ready to harvest, you run the risk of them being damaged by insects or vandals.

Harvest your pumpkins and winter squash as soon as they are ready. If you can cut their rind with a finger nail they are not ready to harvest; when the rind can no longer be cut with a finger nail they need to be harvested.

Always leave a portion of the stem attached to the fruit.  Otherwise you run the risk of a disease organism invading the fruit causing rot.

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