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John Fulton

John Fulton
Former County Extension Director

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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis

Pumpkin Tips

Posted by John Fulton -

Like many things, the pumpkins seem to be ready a bit early this year. Stores have them prominently displayed for fall decoration, and having harvested a few at home this past week, it's probably time for the annual pumpkin tips. If you are growing your own, make sure you watch your pumpkins and squash as you harvest them. Here are some rules for selecting pumpkins:

  • Choose a pumpkin with a stem and never carry it by the stem. Pumpkins without a stem will not last long.
  • Select a pumpkin with a flat bottom, so it will stand upright
  • Avoid pumpkins with holes, cuts or soft spots. These areas will rot.
  • Light colored pumpkins are easier to carve because the skin is not as hard as darker orange colored ones, but they will not keep as well.
  • Wash the pumpkin with warm water and let it dry before carving. Use of a small amount of dishwashing soap in the warm water may help extend the life of the pumpkin.
  • To make the pumpkin last longer, keep it in a cool place until ready to carve. After carving, coat the cuts with petroleum jelly.
  • Carving should only be done three days ahead of Halloween. After cutting, the pumpkin will deteriorate rapidly.
The use of a candle in the pumpkin will also make it deteriorate rapidly

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