My pie pumpkins are turning orange

AutherJuly 20, 2014

I thought I planted Sugar Pie Pumpkins but they are turning orange at 91 days. I thought it took 100 - 115 days. I was wondering if anyone else has any doing this.

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

The days-to-maturity given for anything you grow are estimates only. Rarely will you find a DTM to be exactly right for anything you grow. It would be impossible for any single variety of any fruit or vegetable, like Small Sugar Pie, to grow at the same rate in every single part of the country given that temperatures, rainfall, hours of sunlight per day, etc. can vary so much from one part of the USA to another. With Small Sugar Pie, you can get ripe pumpkins in anything from 80-110 or 115 days.

When the pumpkins turn orange, they aren't ripe yet, by the way. They can be orange for a prolonged period before they are ripe enough to harvest. You don't want to harvest them until they are mature. When pumpkins are mature, their rind will harden. If you press your thumbnail or fingernail down into the rind of a seemingly ripe pumpkin and it leaves an indentation or scratch in the pumpkin rind, the pumpkin is not yet ready to harvest. The rind should be so hard that you cannot scratch it or make an indentation in it with your fingernail. So, be patient and give the pumpkin time to fully mature before you harvest it. Also, watch the stem of the pumpkin. It also will become very dried out as the pumpkin matures. Then, after you finally harvest the pumpkin (leaving several inches of the stem attached to it), you want to cure it out of direct sunlight for a couple of weeks before you use it or move it to a more permanent storage space. During the time it is being cured, some of the starches are converting to sugars, which ultimately will give the pumpkin a better flavor.

Provided it has adequate nutrition, space to grow, and adequate moisture, your Small Sugar Pie plant will keep producing pumpkins over a long period of time as long as the plant stays healthy and you can get quite a few pumpkins from just a couple of plants.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 11:23PM
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Thank you for all the information. I don't want them for decoration. I wanted to use them for cooking. I have tried to grow pie pumpkins for several years but when they turn orange either the grasshoppers or squash bugs manage to ruin them, if they don't rot. This is the first year I have had any that have looked like they might make it. I was concerned that the seed might have been labeled wrong.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 1:07PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

You're welcome. If the fruit of your small sugar pie pumpkins is relatively similar in size and shape to photos of Small Sugar Pie Pumpkins you find online or on the seed packet, it likely is the correct variety.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 4:55PM
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The pumpkins are small, most are about the size of softballs. One more question, is there a noticeable difference between Sugar Pie pumpkins and Baby Pam pumpkins?
I'm sorry for all the questions.
Thanks' again.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 12:13AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Sugar Pie pumpkins are larger and more ribbed than Baby Pam. With Sugar Pie you also can see some variation in the shape with some of them being more rounded and others being slightly taller/oblong. With Baby Pam the pumpkins are very uniform in shape and size. Often Baby Pam will have more of a yellowish-orange tint to the rind until it is nearly mature.

Because Small Sugar Pie is an open-pollinated plant, you can save seeds from mature pumpkins, dry them and plant them the next year and the plants/squash they produce will come true. Baby Pam is a hybrid, so if you save seeds and plant them, you may or may not get plants/squash that resemble Baby Pam. Often, when you save seeds from a hybrid and then plant them, you will find some of the plants and the fruit they produce resemble the plant/fruit from which seed was saved but others do not.

Both pumpkin varieties are C. pepo, so they will be vulnerable to squash vine borers.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 12:57AM
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Thank you OkieDawn for the information. I had been wondering about this.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 11:29AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

You're welcome.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 1:23PM
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