Ok, FINALLY I think we will have some actual fall weather this weekend! It’s hard to think pumpkins and sweaters when we’ve been having temps in the 70s for the last few weeks. Not that I’m complaining! I LOVE the summer and would take warm weather any day. Pumpkins, however, are not huge fans of the high temps and humidity! So, today I am sharing with you some pumpkin tips and tricks to help your pumpkin last longer!
Which brings me to my first pumpkin tips and tricks – wait until the weather cools down to purchase!
After running the farm (and our seasonal pumpkin patch) for the last 8 years I’ve learned a thing or two about how to maintain these giant orange squash relatives. Read below for all my pumpkin tips and tricks!
How early can I buy pumpkins?
I would wait as long as possible. Sorry! I know that’s not what you want to hear! But I usually wait until October or even mid-October. Basically, you are safe once the weather has officially cooled down. Temps in the 40s-50s would be ideal for making pumpkins last! At the farm, we throw out tons of pumpkins in September because its still too hot for them (but we bring them in because the people want them!).
How do I pick the best pumpkin?
- Look for a hard, sturdy stem, and the greener the fresher
- No soft spots/scabs/wounds
- A nice, deep orange color, even patches of green are good because that means its less ripe. Pale yellow is not a good sign on an orange pumpkin!
- Odd shapes are the best! And bumps/warts add character, they’re not flaws!
Speaking of stems… DO NOT carry your pumpkin by the stem! They can be super heavy and the stem was not made to support all that weight! Carry your pumpkin from the bottom.
How can I lengthen the life of my pumpkins?
Keep them outside (in cool temps) as long as possible and wait until the last minute to carve them. Also, try not to keep them in the house. The heat and dryness inside houses are instant pumpkin-killers! And that is also why I say buy them once the weather has cooled down – the heat will make pumpkins rot super quick for sure.
How can I lengthen the life once I carve my pumpkin?
Pumpkins are vegetables and vegetables rot in the right conditions, especially once their insides are scraped out (sorry). Here’s a way to preserve the life once you’ve carved it, but please note this will still only help it last a few extra days so carve as close to Halloween as possible!
- After your pumpkin has been carved, rinse it out with water to get rid of excess strings and gunk.
- Take a large bucket and fill it with three gallons of water.
- Stir three teaspoons of bleach into the water bucket.
- Dunk the pumpkin. Be sure to hold it down as it will try to float. The entire pumpkin should sit in the solution for two minutes. I recommend wearing gloves for this part!
- Remove from the solution and let the pumpkin air dry.
How can I keep squirrels/deer/raccoon from eating my pumpkins?
UGH!! My pumpkins have been getting eaten these last few days and it is so frustrating! The last thing you want to do is spend money on your beautiful pumpkins only to have your beautiful porch display turned into a rodent buffet. Here are some things that may work, keep in mind you will have to re-apply after every rain or every few days regardless!
- Rub or spray hot sauce on them,
- Spread dog hair or human hair around them
- Surround the pumpkins with white vinegar
- Concoct an essential oil spray out of lavender, peppermint, thieves and/or eucalyptus. All these oils are known to repel deer and rodents.
- Consult your local garden center and purchase a repellent spray
What about rain?
If at all possible bring them in or under an overhang when rain threatens. They do NOT like to be wet for long periods of time, they WILL rot! If you cannot bring them in, tend to them after the rain by dumping any pooled water around the stems and turning them over to air out their bottoms (LOL, couldn’t think of another way to say that!). Just don’t let them sit out in the rain/wetness for long, move them around or inside if possible!
Best pumpkin for eating?
By far my favorite is Fairytale! These babies are super dense and sweet. The meaty shell/minimal seeds makes it the perfect type for baking and cooking! Other favorites are hubbard squash and sugar pumpkins. You can still eat traditional carving pumpkins but I prefer these others instead!
Can I keep the seeds after I carve my pumpkin?
Yes! Simply rinse them of all excess strings and gunk and pat them dry with a paper towel. Then lay them out to cure (make sure they are spaced out/not touching). Once they are fully dried ( about a week or so) you can store them in an envelope for planting next year or enjoy them as a snack!
There you have it! My pumpkin tips and tricks! Which was your favorite? Be sure to check out all our awesome pumpkin pictures below! Want more tips and tricks? Check out our Fall Mum post!
A view of our patch!
Was this post helpful for learning Pumpkin Tips and Tricks? Share it on Pinterest!