When Can I Expect My Pumpkins to Turn Orange?

Gardeners of all skill levels love to plant pumpkins. It is satisfying to watch the plants grow and start to produce the globular orange vegetables. Sometimes it seems like the time to harvest takes years!


When Does Harvest Start?

The process of harvesting pumpkins actually begins when the yellow pumpkin blossoms begin to wilt and die. The female flowers are the ones that produce the pumpkin, and if pollination has been successful, you will see the small fruits appear. However, at this point, there are about 45-55 days left before you can anticipate harvesting.

What Does It Take For a Pumpkin to Turn Orange?

All through the growing season, you have faithfully watered and fertilized your pumpkin plants. You have kept the weeds under control, and the pumpkin vines are full of ever-growing green globes. At this point, many people think there is nothing left to do but wait. However, to ensure a good harvest, the pumpkins still need regular feeding and watering.

For the pumpkins to turn orange, they continue to need warmth and sunshine. As summer wanes, the days become shorter and the nights get colder. In turn, the pumpkins slowly change from green to orange, and the shells begin to harden.

Tip: Keep in mind that different types of pumpkin will not be as orange as you expect. When planting, take note of the expected color of each variety and watch the pumpkins accordingly.

When is Harvest Imminent?

You know that harvest is coming closer when the green pumpkin shell begin to turn orange. Additionally, the vines will start to die off, and the stems of the pumpkin will shrivel. At this point, it is only a matter of time before the pumpkins are ready to pick. When they are completely orange, and you cannot dent the shell with a fingernail, you can begin to harvest.

Tip: Pumpkins do not tolerate cold well. Be sure to harvest all of the pumpkins before the first heavy frost or your crop will be ruined. Observe the weather and cover the plants if a freeze is in the forecast.

How to Turn Green Pumpkins Orange

If any of the pumpkins are still green and a hard frost is imminent, you should harvest them while they are still green rather than leave them on the vine to ripen. There are several ways to encourage pumpkins to mature even off the vine.

  • Bring pumpkins indoors to ripen in a sunny spot.
  • Place green pumpkins in a sheltered area outdoors with access to the sun.
  • Provide consistent temperatures and adequate air flow.
  • Place green pumpkins in a sheltered area outdoors with access to the sun.

Often, some of the pumpkins are still green when the rest are ready to harvest. If only part of the pumpkin is green and the weather permits, carefully turn the pumpkin green side up and allow the sun to hit it. It will not take long for the rest of the pumpkin to develop the proper color.

Tip: When turning the pumpkin, be sure to keep the stem attached to the vine.

Even if the harvest requires some additional help regarding artificially providing warmth and light, growing pumpkins is worth the effort. Ripe pumpkins are useful for so many things that even twice the work would reap enormous benefits.

Text: Garden.eco