October 13, 2021
It’s that time of year again. Time to harvest the pumpkins. Each variety has its own date of maturity. Hopefully, you noted that date on your calendar to help give you an idea of when your pumpkins might be ready. When the stems are dry and the rind hardens are the physical clues to knowing your pumpkin is ready to be cut from the vine.
Remember that date of maturity includes the germination time when the seedling starts sending up a shoot and a root develops. Here are a few different varieties:
Baby Boo — 95 days to maturity.
Hybrid Pam — 95 days to maturity.
Magician — 98 days to maturity.
Magic Lantern — 100 days to maturity.
Apollo — 100 days to maturity.
New Moon (white) — 85 days to maturity.
There are a handful of varieties great for children. According to Utah State University Extension here are a few selections such as Jack Be Little, Wee-B-Little and Baby Bear are small (0.5-1.5 pound) orange fruited types suited for small children.
Pumpkins need good deep root watering of one to two inches a week all season, but especially in late July and early August when the plants come into bloom. Be sure your pumpkin seeds were planted in soils that get good drainage. They do not do well in poorly aerated soils. Watering deeply can give you good fruit set. Keep the weeds down around plants and between rows. Weeds bring insects and take water and nutrients from other plants. Adding one pound of nitrogen fertilizer to a 1,000 square feet of soil, will help keep your plants healthy. Work the fertilizer in the soil before you plant the seeds. Adding the nitrogen will help all your cucurbit crops. If you wish to add fertilizer to each mound of pumpkins add one or two tablespoons of 21-0-0 per mound.
Avoid as much overhead watering as possible. Pumpkins and other cucurbits get leaf diseases such as Angular Leaf Spot, powdery mildew and even downy mildew. All these diseases are opportunistic and just waiting for the right conditions. Be proactive in preventing them will make for higher yields and better quality fruits at harvest.