Pumpkin picking, now or later?

pumpkins in the field
Photo credit: EESC slide collection
Q:

Should I pick my pumpkins or leave them on the vine? They are fully orange and the vines are dying. Is it better to pick them and store them or just leave them until October?

- Multnomah County, OR
A:

For winter squash such as pumpkins, you can harvest them when the skin is hardened. Use your thumb nail to puncture the outer skin. If it is hard and you cannot make an indentation, then you can harvest. If you are going to use the pumpkins for eating, you might leave them on the vine until the first frost this fall, which can make them sweeter to the taste.

Weston Miller
Community and Urban Horticulture Faculty
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