B. Rosie Lerner
Purdue Extension


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Not too Late to Plant Your Halloween Pumpkin

It may seem a bit late to be planting Halloween jack-o' lanterns, but there's still time to plant if you get growing quickly.

The key will be to choose a cultivar with a relatively low number of days to maturity when planted from seed. There are early-, mid- and late-season cultivars of pumpkin, ranging from about 85-120 days to maturity. You'll want to look for those in the "early-season" (around 90 days) category.

While it is too late for the giant pumpkin types, there are quite a few medium- and small-fruited cultivars that can still be planted.

Very small, or "baby," pumpkins include:

  • Jack B Little--deeply grooved orange fruit
  • Munchkin--deeply grooved orange fruit
  • Lil Goblin--smooth, orange fruit
  • Baby Boo--ribbed, white fruit

Small to medium pumpkins include:

  • Baby Bear--shallow-ribbed, orange fruit
  • Bushkin--ribbed, orange fruit
  • Autumn Gold--shallow-ribbed, orange fruit
  • Sorcerer--shallow-ribbed, orange fruit
  • Racer--ribbed, orange fruit
  • Orange Smoothie--smooth-skinned, orange fruit
  • Oz—shallow-ribbed, orange fruit
  • Lumina--shallow-ribbed, white fruit

Pumpkins should be harvested before frost. In preparing for storage, pumpkins should be handled with care to prevent bruises or cuts in the rind, as these wounds provide entry for rotting organisms. Cure the pumpkins before storage in a warm, humid area, about 80-85 F with a relative humidity of about 80 percent. After about 10 days, the pumpkins should be moved to a storage area where the temperature can be maintained between 50-60 F with a lower relative humidity of about 50-70 percent. These conditions can be difficult to find in Indiana homes in September and early October. So try to time your pumpkin crop as close to Halloween as your growing conditions will permit. 


Writer: B. Rosie Lerner
Editor: Olivia Maddox