When to Remove the Pumpkin From the Plot: Signs of Ripeness and Harvesting Dates

It is very important to remove the pumpkin from the plot in time. If you hurry with the harvesting, you will get fruits with hard and tasteless flesh. Well, if you hurry, the vegetables will begin to rot quickly. We name the main signs of ripeness of the crop and tell you how to artificially accelerate the ripening of the pumpkin.

When and how to remove the pumpkin from the garden

Each variety of pumpkin has its own ripening period. These vegetables are divided into early ripening (ripening around mid-August), medium ripening (ripening in mid-September), and late ripening (ready for harvesting in October). Late varieties take longer to store and can be harvested unripe. Nutmeg pumpkins are cut later than others, at the onset of the first frosts.

Picking pumpkins from the bush should be careful not to tear the stalk. Without the tail, the vegetable will quickly rot. Experienced gardeners advise cutting the pumpkins with garden shears and leaving a tail length of 3-4 cm. After harvesting, the fruit is stored in a cardboard or wooden box away from other vegetables and fruits.

Signs of pumpkin ripeness

  • The stalk of a ripe pumpkin is light and dry, resembling wood to the touch.
  • The skin is quite thick and can’t be pierced with the fingernail.
  • There are clearly visible stripes and lines on the pumpkin.
  • The sound when tapping should be muffled.
  • The leaves of a ripe pumpkin begin to wither and dry out – this is a clear sign that the vegetable is ready for harvesting.

How to speed up the ripening of the pumpkin

Experienced gardeners have invented many ways to artificially speed up the ripening of the pumpkin in order to get the harvest earlier.

  1. If there are many small pumpkins on the bush, cut off the smallest ones and leave only 3-4 of the largest ones. This way the plant won’t waste energy feeding the smaller fruits.
  2. The plant will ripen faster and give larger fruits if you fertilize it in the fruiting period. We have already written to feed the pumpkin in August.
  3. About 2-3 weeks before the first expected frosts, make a pruning of the upper shoots of the pumpkin. To do this, leave one or two main shoots on the plant, and cut the remaining stems after the fourth leaf. The stems that are cut should reach at least 1.5 m in length.
  4. If pumpkins in your region always take a long time to ripen, try planting them in the vegetable garden from potted seedlings. This will greatly speed up the ripening of the fruit.
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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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