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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 Time

Posted by John Fulton -

For all those that decorate for Halloween and Thanksgiving, it's time to select that orange globe to set out by a corn shock or to carve into a jack-o-lantern. With some of the heavy frosts we've had, it's critical to check pumpkins over carefully before purchasing. Following are some of the cardinal rules for selecting and keeping 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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