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sheeshshe
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Do you leave the pumpkins on the vines until the vine dies?

or do you pick them when they're done changing color? or does it matter either way?
Sheila, gardening on the zone 4b/5a line.

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jal_ut
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I usually leave them on the vine until the first frost then the vines all die immediately, and it is time to gather in the pumpkins and squash. If you want a pumpkin to eat, it is certainly OK to pick it anytime after it turns orange.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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sheeshshe
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cool thanks!!! I have 1 small pumpkin and then a few little tiny ones. they look all ready I think, but I want to be sure. Do they keep longer if you keep them on the vine until it dies?
Sheila, gardening on the zone 4b/5a line.

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jal_ut
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Do they keep longer if you keep them on the vine until it dies?
I don't know how to answer this. I grow them for fall decorations, and that is about all they get used for. I don't need them until after frost so I just leave them on the vine. I think they will not dehydrate as long as they are on the vine. It is good to get them mature enough that the skin is really tough before picking them if you want to keep them a while. Like I said though, if you want it to eat, any time after its orange should be good.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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digitS'
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I remember long ago, when my youngest child was still at home, thinking that the pumpkins were going to have a real problem making it to the end of October and Halloween. So, I cut them off the vine and brought them into the garage. That was a mistake.

Some years I was having the opposite problem: the pumpkins were not turning color until very late, even after frost. Frost here, comes quite a few weeks before the end of October. They would begin to decay quickly but those that I tucked away in the dark garage, probably in early September, also began to decay before Halloween.

I think that we avoided any "jack o'lantern issues" on those years but Dad wasn't doing his job properly. What saved me in later years was finding just the right variety that has the right timing. For my garden, that was Rock Star. No, that's really its name . . . It is just the days-to-maturity sort of thing.

Steve
Make everything as simple as possible but not simpler. ~ Albert Einstein

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sheeshshe
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alright, I'll just leave em. :) they;re for the kids :) decorations which if still good, will end up as food :)
Sheila, gardening on the zone 4b/5a line.

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applestar
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I found this discussion interesting because most years, my problem is keeping the vines alive until the pumpkins mature -- and I start worrying around late summer when frost is still maybe 6 weeks away.

-- most years, squash vines get hit hard by pests like SVB's, cucumber beetles, squash bugs and stink bugs. And powdery mildew starts up by mid summer too due to high humidity as well as, no doubt, the bugs infecting them.

Then I looked at where you are all from and you are all farther north/colder areas and/or drier too. Hmmm.

110-120+ day cucurbits do present similar problems for me as well though. Last time I tried, luffa finally started to flower (males only, not even females yet) when frost killed the lot. But I'm going to try growing luffa again next year. :wink:

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sheeshshe
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farther north here, terrible humidity :(

all 3 pumpkins are ripe! but I'm going to leave them :)
Sheila, gardening on the zone 4b/5a line.

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ripeness test

All cucurbita vines have a curly que on the stem close to the fruit. When that curly que is dried up completely they are at full ripeness. If frost hits before then, you must harvest immediately. Store with the curly que and watch it as they continue to ripen in storage.

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