When to pick pumpkins to avoid softness and rot
Pumpkins are one of the most interesting and easy vegetables to grow in the vegetable garden. The trick is to remove them from the vine in time. You need to do this before they begin to soften and rot. But also not too early.
OBOZREVATEL tells you how to recognize when it's time to harvest pumpkins and how to cut and store them properly so that the harvest does not spoil.
When it is time to harvest pumpkins
The fruits usually ripen in September-October. This depends on the climate, weather and variety. In general, you can recognize a ripe pumpkin by four signs.
Time of ripening
It usually takes 90 to 120 days from the time of sowing for pumpkin fruit to fully ripen. Giant varieties can take up to 150 days. The main thing is that the plant has time to make this way before the onset of fall frosts.
The color of the fruit is the most obvious sign that the pumpkins are ready for harvest. When they acquire a shade indicating the maturity of a particular variety (which can be orange, yellow, red or even blue), the harvest can be removed. You can check with the photo on the seed package.
According to the condition of the rind
As the pumpkin matures, its rind hardens and becomes shiny. It should be difficult to pierce with a fingernail. If you can dig your fingernails into the flesh, it means the fruit is not ready yet and needs to stay on the plant for a while.
The condition of the stem
The pumpkin stem changes color from green to brown over time. If it has darkened and stiffened, and the place where the fruit is attached to the plant has shriveled and dried up, then you can harvest. An additional test can be tapping the fruit. If they make a muffled sound in response to a hand pat, this is another sign that it's time.
How to harvest pumpkins
Harvesting pumpkins depends on the size of the fruit. The smallest varieties can be cut when they have ripened to their final color and their rinds have hardened. When it comes to large fruits, here it is better to focus on the condition of the stem.
Always cut the pumpkin as close to the vine as possible. The fruit should have the longest possible tail. It will keep the pulp from premature rotting.
If the weather forecast promises frost, the harvest will have to be removed early. In this case, collect half-mature pumpkins and take them to a warm, well-ventilated room, such as a shed, garage or greenhouse. When the weather improves and the sun comes out, take the fruits out and put them under the rays. Turn them over from time to time. This will help the pumpkin to ripen on its own.
How to store your pumpkin crop
Fully ripe pumpkins can be stored for 3 to 4 months. The ideal temperature regime for them is from 10 to 15 degrees Celsius. The humidity should be 50-70%. Arrange them in a single layer on the floor or on a shelf, making sure they do not touch each other. Check them every week or every two weeks to make sure they haven't started to rot.
Earlier OBOZREVATEL shared how to store garlic properly so that it does not spoil.