For pumpkin lovers

For pumpkin lovers

By Lidia Boque Gousgouni
19 Apr 2018

Well, it’s pumpkin time again. For those of you in doubt about when to pick your pumpkins – harvest when you need one or wait until mid-autumn. There are those gardeners who will only pick their pumpkins after a few frosts. They say it toughens the skin and sweetens the fruit. Yes, pumpkins are a fruit – they contain seed.

Now about frosts toughening and sweetening – this may or may not be the case, but by the time we’ve had a few frosts the fruits should be quite ripe and ready for picking. If you’ve been lucky enough to get a reasonable crop this year, and if you want to store your fruits to keep you in pumpkin for the next few months, you need to be careful about how you store them.

When checking to ensure the fruit are ripe, you can knock on them with your knuckles or a stick. If they sound hollow, then they’re ripe. The skin should also be fairly hard and thick. Tap the skin with your fingernail. If you only get a light indentation, then all is good. Look at the stem above the pumpkin, it should be hard and may has turned brown, this also indicates a ripe pumpkin.

When harvesting – use a sharp knife and cut the stem leaving at least ten centimetres attached to the fruit. Never use this stem as a handle, it will break off and pumpkins without stems can rot faster. After you’ve harvested your pumpkins it pays to wipe them down with a weak disinfectant solution. This should kill any organisms that could start the rotting process. Ensure that the fruit is stored in a ventilated position away from direct sunlight. It’s preferable to store them on their side to prevent condensation sitting on the main stem, but sometimes this isn’t practical. If there are any cuts or damage to the fruit, you can drip candle wax over the wound to help prevent disease entry.

Wire racking is the best for long term storage – this ventilates the whole pumpkin. Make sure the fruits aren’t touching each other and voilà you have the perfect storage solution for your pumpkins. 



The Friends of the Albury Botanic Gardens have plants for sale every Tuesday and Thursday morning 9-30am 12noon at their nursery in the gardens behind the curators cottage. 

Wodonga TAFE – you can still enrol to study horticulture.  You are welcome to visit the department in University Drive Wodonga to discuss your study needs in Agriculture or Horticulture.


Wodonga TAFE nursery staff member Shiralee Fish harvesting produce in the pumpkin patch.

Written by

Deb Delahunty, Horticulture teacher at Wodonga TAFE.