The pumpkins pictured above have been wiped clean and are ready for temporary storage. As described in the article, Result of cross pollination on vine crops, these unique looking pumpkins are a result of inadvertent cross pollination. They may not display the characteristics typically seen in regular pumpkins, but they still make a festive presentation for Halloween and other fall decoration around the house.
When to harvest pumpkins
I typically let nature take care of the pumpkins as long as possible by leaving the pumpkins attached to the vine. A good orange color can indicate ripeness and a time to pick. To cut the pumpkin from the vine, use a knife or pruners to cut the stem about 3 inches from the pumpkin. I picked my garden pumpkins at the end of September this year because too little sunshine and too much rain were causing the vines and leaves to mold. With Halloween weeks away, now that I have harvested my pumpkins, I need to store the pumpkins properly to help prevent mold and rot before carving them for display.
How to store uncarved pumpkins
Before storing, I wash my pumpkins with a bleach and water solution to eliminate bacteria and help retard mold growth. I mix one cup of bleach in one gallon of water. For just a few pumpkins, cut that back to one-half cup bleach to eight cups of water. Use a rag, if desired, to wipe the pumpkins.
Purdue University's Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture tells us that harvested pumpkins need to be stored in a location where the relative humidity is between 50 and 70 percent. The temperature should be between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Though the daytime highs are in the 70s (temperatures will continue to drop into October), the night time temperatures are in the 50 to 60 degree range. I will keep the pumpkins on a sheltered porch, away from sunlight. Another option would be to store the best pumpkins in the refrigerator. The pumpkins may last about two months.