Harvest time of pumpkins - so you harvest pumpkin properly

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Harvest time of pumpkins - so you harvest pumpkin properly: properly

They have long since achieved cult status in the hobby garden, as impressive as decorative pumpkins. The brightly colored and sometimes dramatically shaped fruits bribe with convincing attributes. Without demanding sophisticated care, they promise culinary delights, act as a tasteful decoration and serve as a creative medium for creative lantern carvers. Of course, the full range of benefits only unfolds the fruits if they are brought in at the right time and professionally. Learn here to determine the perfect start to the harvest time of pumpkins. So you harvest pumpkin properly.

Determine harvest maturity

The weather conditions dictate decisively the beginning of the harvest time of pumpkins. If the summer is in normal parameters, the first ripe fruit is expected from the end of August or the beginning of September. It would be so easy to follow the calender in this regard. The date, however, is for guidance only. Lastly, you can be sure of the following test procedures:
  • the pumpkin has no more green spots
  • the fruit stalk is hard and largely woody
  • The bowl can not be carved with a fingernail
Tip: Final clarity regarding the harvesting provides the classic knock test. Just tap the pumpkin with your knuckles and listen. If it sounds hollow and dull, the harvest season can begin.

Expertly harvest

Given the imposing appearance, no hobby gardener will bring out the glazé gloves to harvest a pumpkin. After all, harvesting requires a certain amount of tact, as even minimal damage to the skin causes rot and fungi or pests attack. In addition, the fruit stalk is a weak spot as a potential source of infection. The further its lignification has progressed at the time of harvest, the lower the risk that bacteria and viruses will gain access to the interior of the fruit. How to correctly harvest pumpkin:
  • Ideally, dry weather prevails without blazing sunshine
  • Cut the pumpkin with a freshly sharpened and meticulously disinfected knife
  • alternatively use a ground, clean secateurs
  • Half of the fruit stalk remains on the fruit
These criteria for proper harvesting apply equally to gourds and gourds. The more mature and unharmed, the more delicious the enjoyment and the longer the shelf life.
Tip: Place a pumpkin in the bed in time with a sheet of styrofoam or wood. Prepare the fruit early on the way to premium quality.


Frosty temperatures should not be exposed to pumpkins. Frostbite causes unsavory, watery spots on the peel. If an early winter announces, all immature fruits are harvested. Since these are equipped with the ability to Nachreife, but no copy will be lost. Here's how the simple procedure works:
  • After harvest, put the pumpkin in a dry, warm place
  • store there on polystyrene, wood or corrugated cardboard for 3 to 4 weeks
  • Turn the fruit a few times every few days
  • preferably hanging the pumpkin in a net on the ceiling
Under the conditions described, the soft shell of the immature harvested pumpkin will harden while at the same time the pulp assumes the desired firm consistency. During this phase, make sure to dispose of rotting fruits immediately. A phase of Nachreife is basically recommended for all pumpkins whose seeds are used as seeds for reproduction. Even if these fruits are harvested in the mature state, a post-maturity promotes the later germination of the pumpkin seeds.

To store

The variety determines the shelf life of pumpkins. The deadline expands the longer the fruit can remain outdoors after harvest. At the latest before the first frost, they must move to a dry, dark storage room. If no Nachreife is required, the mercury column should oscillate between 12 and 15° C. Cooler temperatures significantly limit the shelf life. In the garage, it should therefore quickly become too cold, even if it is frost-free. In the bedroom on the wardrobe, for example, the pumpkin may enjoy a long life, unless it is eaten beforehand. The storage time is cut within 2-3 days if the fruit is kept in the refrigerator. Alternatively, freeze a chopped pumpkin, which of course limits its use in the kitchen. Thawed pulp no longer assumes a firm consistency.


If the harvesting season provides a wealth of particularly ornamental pumpkins, every hobby gardener would like to conserve the natural beauties for as long as possible.The same applies if the mighty Halloween Pumpkin turned into a breathtaking scary mask or a mysterious flickering lantern. Since the masterpieces have a high water content, they are primarily threatened by mold and rot. Therefore, the optimal preservation pursues the goal of extracting as much moisture from the beauty as possible. If this process happens too quickly, unsightly dents will form on the shell, the pumpkin will shrivel and the shape will be lost. Drying in the hot oven is therefore out of the question. How to dry your most beautiful pumpkin specimens without shrinking:
  1. Wash the fruit carefully with warm soapy water.
  2. Rinse thoroughly with clean, cold water and rub dry.
  3. Spray with cleaning alcohol or a household cleaner.
  4. Place in a cool, cool place on a base.
  5. Turn every 2 weeks during the following time.
  6. Scrape small digests with a blunt blade.
Optionally, hang the pumpkin in a tree, fence or net in the attic. Depending on the variety and size, the process is completed after 6 to 12 months. The pumpkin carvers begin their work only after the drying process, adding to the durability of the work of art.

pumpkin harvest

Pumpkins whose outer shell was previously scraped off with a knife are dried much faster and at the same riskier. The campsite should be airy and warm, where the fruit is turned every 2 days. This approach is especially risky in that the injured sheath serves as a welcome access to the interior of the fruit for fungal spores and pests. The spraying with cleaning alcohol also has a prophylactic effect against infestation. As an effective seal of a dried pumpkin, wax and shellac have proven.
As the approaching autumn sends its first signals at the beginning of September, the starting signal for the harvest time of pumpkins is given. Now, good judgment and good hearing are needed to determine the actual maturity. The shell should be completely dyed and connected with a woody stem. If it then sounds hollow from the inside of the fruit by means of a knock test, the harvest can begin. So that no mistakes can creep in here, every hobby gardener should familiarize himself with how to properly harvest a pumpkin.

Frequently asked questions about the pumpkin harvest

  • When do you best harvest the pumpkins in the garden?
At some point in autumn, the pumpkins are ripe and can be harvested. But: How do you actually recognize the maturity? For example, by knocking on it: If it sounds hollow and does not give in with the pressure of the finger, it is ripe. One recognizes the maturity also on woody stems or a very hard shell. In addition, pumpkins have a bright shell at the time of maturity.
  • When will summer and winter squash be harvested?
At different times: Summer squashes are relatively fast after sowing, so this may also be the case in summer. Winter varieties are traditionally harvested in autumn. If it rains a lot during the ripening, it makes sense to protect the fruits from underneath against rot - so keep the soil dry with wooden boards or styrofoam. But beware! If you harvest the pumpkins too early, you also have to accept a loss of aroma. When the fruits stop growing, that's not a sign of maturity! However, before the first frost, it must definitely be harvested. To be on the safe side, the yield can then be left to ripen for a few weeks in the warm - that works quite well.
  • How to store pumpkins correctly?
If it is a winter squash species, it will stay in the cool cellar for a few months. Frost does not tolerate the fruit too much heat for a long time also not. A few weeks in the living room, perhaps as a fall decoration, but the pumpkin is not bad. When stored in the basement, it would be optimal to hang the fruits in nets on the ceiling - so they remain completely dry and can not rot. But also the storage time varies from variety to variety: The variety Early Butternut can be stored for months without damaging its valuable ingredients.
Tip: By the way, pumpkin is really healthy! The storage is well worth it. It provides a lot of potassium and fiber and it is worth trying out different pumpkin recipes. The most nutrient-rich is the Japanese Hokkaido pumpkin. It contains lots of vitamins.

Video Board: How to harvest pumpkins.

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