My yearly pumpkin experiments have developed as my garden develops.   In previous gardens the pumpkins did not do that well.  I was lucky to get one or two medium sized pumpkins.  My current garden has much more space and a good place for the vines to rambling.  Rambling is really what pumpkins need.   They like to be wild and free not confined, kind of like unruly children that get into places that they shouldn’t be.   Last year one grew between the rungs of a ladder.   This year one grew into a nursery pot and came out looking like the pot!

They also produce male flowers first then the female flowers.  Research into why no pumpkins are produced indicates that water is a big factor.  If they are too dry they will produce male flowers but no female flowers.   AND you know you need both!

Not content with regular pumpkins the heirloom ones are for me! Fairytale Pumpkins or Cucurbita moschata have deeply cut ribs so the lush color really stands out.   A soft blush of white frost and blue frost overlay the orange for a beautiful subtle fall feel.  It is similar to a Cinderella pumpkin but with deeper ribs.   This makes good pies and can be used in other cooking.

Pumpkin Jarrahdale, Cucurbita maxima or Blue Pumpkin has a shiny slate gray color. These are so beautiful in the moonlight and mixed with other pumpkins. Sometimes they start out dark green and age to gray. This is also good for eating after displaying. You can bake them like a squash and use it in recipes the same way.

The more well know ‘Ghost’ pumpkin or Cucurbita maxima Lumina is also lovely white. Truly glow in the dark. This is edible too so enjoy it.

One of my pumpkins is lovely gray with a great ‘netting’ pattern on the skin. I’m not sure about the variety it may just be a variation of the Jarrahdale or another random seed that got in the packet by accident. I will save the seeds this year for replanting next year.

All of these can be harvested and kept for several weeks to a couple of months if not damaged. Keep them as dry as you can outside and don’t allow to get nicked or have the skin broken. When I’m ready to change out decorations outside I bring them into dry storage in the garage. You could also can them in a pressure caner or give excess away to friends or a food bank.

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