All About Growing Pumpkins

Growing your own pumpkins is as easy as pie! Learn when to plant pumpkins and how to harvest, cure and cook incredibly diverse pumpkin varieties. From fairy tales to the Thanksgiving table, the pumpkin has played an important role in our cultural and gastronomical past.


| June/July 2013



Pumpkin Varieties Illustration

There are many beautiful and diverse pumpkin varieties, and each fulfills its own useful niche. Whether you want to bake a delicious pie, carve a grinning jack-o’-lantern or roast hulless seeds, there is a pumpkin type for your every whim.


Illustration By Keith Ward

(For details on growing many other vegetables and fruits, visit our Crop at a Glance collection page.)

Delicious, nutrient-packed and easy as pie to store, pumpkins also lead a double life as colorful autumn ornamentals. Fruit sizes range from tiny to huge, with small to medium pumpkins being the best to eat. Growing pumpkins is easy as long as you protect young plants from insect pests and provide ample space for the long vines to run.

Pumpkin Types

For thousands of years, growers have selected pumpkin varieties to maximize different characteristics. Growing pumpkins will be most rewarding if you choose varieties based on what you plan to do with your crop.

Pie pumpkins are the best pumpkins for desserts, grilling, soups and other culinary uses. Little pie pumpkins weigh less than 6 pounds.

Carving pumpkins include larger varieties that are the top choice for jack-o’-lanterns. These decorative types are usually not ideal for cooking, however.

Oilseed pumpkins produce green-striped fruits that you can use for decoration, after which you can harvest the plump, hulless, ready-to-roast seeds.





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