How to Ripen your Pumpkins in time for Halloween

For several years we grew pumpkins and sold them in the fall. It was fun to watch the kids pick out their pumpkin and hear what they planned to do. Some had carving plans and others were preparing to paint them. We also sold apple cider, other squash and gift items. Overall we had a festive fall feel in our yard from mid September until November.

Pumpkins could be a lot of work. We would harvest them, clean them cover them at night to protect them from the frost. One of the biggest concerns we had would be having them ripen in time for the Halloween season. If you are having this problem here are a few suggestions.

  • If your pumpkins are still on the vine, they are best left there. Cut away any leaves so that the pumpkin will get full sun. Cover the fruit and vine at night to prevent frost damage.
  • If your pumpkin is already off the vine wash off the dirt and place the pumpkin on a warm, sunny deck, patio or porch. You can bring them in at night to keep the pumpkins temperature warmer.

You can also bring them indoors. Just make sure there is good air circulation to minimize the chances of mold and rotting.

Turn the greenest side of the pumpkin towards the sun and rotate the pumpkin from time to time to allow the sun to reach all parts of the pumpkin.

One year we had a horribly cold and wet summer. More than half out pumpkins did not turn orange and were a dark green. By bring them indoors we ripened more but we still had too many green ones. So we sold ninja pumpkins with sunglasses and also bought glow in the dark fluorescent paint and decorated some of them. They were a big hit and fit right in to the Halloween season.

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