More Seminole Pumpkin Questions

soonergrandmomOctober 1, 2012

I assume that this Pumpkin will turn color on the vine, right? The fruit seems to be hardening, but not changing color yet. I can see a few little places that show a little color change, but not the whole fruit. It is growing so fast, I think it may be 'stretch marks'. LOL

The vine has some small fruit on it that doesn't seem to be growing fast, but it has 3 fruits that are MUCH bigger than I expected them to be and they just keep growing like the vine is putting all of it's energy into these three. I have read that this isn't a stable and consistent plant and may have several shapes on the same vine. Mine are all the same shape, a little like a butternut but with a little thinner and longer neck. Not a lot longer, but a little, and they are a perfect shape with a straight neck, but much bigger than butternut. Like butternut on steroids, but still green. What gives?

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I can't speak for Seminole, for lack of experience with it. But Old Timey Cornfield Pumpkin and at least some Tahitian Melon Squash varieties, also c. moschata, actually ripen before the color turns. Perhaps this is what is occurring with your Seminoles.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 10:21AM
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George, does the stem dry? How do you know when to pick it?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 11:11AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

It will change color on the vine. Eventually. Sooner or later, and usually later as opposed to sooner. This is one of those plants about which it can be said "a watched pot never boils".

I suspect yours are growing so fast and so large because of all the rain you've had in recent weeks.

In our garden, Seminole is a plant-it-and-forget-about-it winter squash. After I plant it, I almost completely ignore it until I see the buff-colored mature ones. I will try to remember to water it about twice a month in drought years. Even once the squash turn buff, I do not necessarily get in a big hurry to harvest them. They'll hold forever on the vine, and twice as long as forever once they are stored inside in a cool, dry place.

Seminole is nothing if not unstable. Most of mine are teardrop-shaped every year. Every now and then I get some of the ones that are more rounded than teardrop shaped. Once in a blue moon, I'll get one with a more elongated neck. They all taste the same.

It does seem to take them forever to go from green to buff and they do it in a sort of uneven and often splotchy sort of way. Once you are seeing any color break at all, you can harvest them and they'll usually continue to color up in storage.

Butternut is a C. moschata and so is Seminole so that partially accounts for why you see the resemblance. Also, you used Baker Creek seed, which seems like maybe it has been selected for the longer-necked versions. Maybe it is just that their original seed had the tendency to produce those with a slightly longer neck, so that trait is dominant. I always use SESE seed and get the teardrop-shaped ones most of the time.

Seminole plants that were too hot and dry in the summer often stall in the extreme heat that accompanies drought but then go completely crazy with new growth, flowering and fruiting as we move into autumn, the weather cools and autumn rains begin falling.

Our plant has oodles of green ones in all stages, and lots and lots of new blooms daily. We're at the point now where I don't know if anything that sets in October will mature. It just depends on when the first killing frost or freeze arrives.

I agree with George that Seminole can be fairly ripe inside like some other moschatas well before it turns its mature buff color. If you harvest them at a mature green, they still are edible but just not quite as sweet and also tend not to store quite as long. If frost is expected to occur and I believe it actually will occur as forecasted, I normally pick them all on the day we are expecting the overnight frost or freeze. The ones that have begun to break color usually color up just fine, but the ones that are smaller than their rxpected final mature size and still a darkish green often will not color up.

Seminole can be used in several ways. For example, it produces tons of squash blossoms that can be harvested, prepared and eaten. Or, just a day or two after the bloom withers, you can harvest the small (with small being a relative term because the blooms are big and so are the 1 or 2 day old fruit) green ones and use them like summer squash. Or, of course, you can let them mature and use them like winter squash.

I planted Seminole in May and didn't have a buff-colored fruit until September. That's later than some years, but earlier than others. Seminole is so inconsistent and weather-driven that I tend to think of it strictly as a late autumn harvest. I grow Butternut and Tahitian Melon for earlier winter squash and Seminole for later ones. This year I planted Butternut super early and had ripe ones in late May or early June. I had ripe Tahitian Melons in early July. I had that one buff Seminole in early September, and obviously won't have any more buff colored ones until sometime in October. In November there should be lots of buff-colored ones, barring a very early killing frost or freeze.

If you remember when you planted it, you ought to get mature squash between 95-110 days after it sprouted, but in a drought year if it stalls, you can add another 10-30 days to that, depending on how long your plant stalled in growth during extremely dry, hot weather. This year, mine stalled from mid-July through the end of August, so I expect a lot of my greenies won't turn buff for at least another 4-6 weeks, which brings us close to my average first frost date.

Of course, there is always a chance that you have some crossed seeds or seed that was mis-packaged as it was processed. I think that is not very likely, but with any pack of seed you purchase, there is that chance. Your description seems like Seminole though. If the squash get larger than 8-10 pounds, then you might not have Seminole. Even at 8-10 lbs., that would be very large for Seminole but it is not unheard of. Mine are usually 3-4 lbs. with an occasional large one up to about 6 lbs. It is not unusual for one Seminole plant, if it has adequage room to roam and adequate moisture, to produce several dozen fruit per plant. When they are that loaded with squashes, the size tends to remain smallish. If you remove blossoms or cut off all but a few squash before they begin to enlarge and mature, you'll get somewhat larger ones.


    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 11:23AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Like all winter squash, it is fully ripe and ready to harvest when you press your thumbnail into the rind and it does not leave an indentation. When they first turn buff, they still have some softness in the rind, which is one reason I don't harvest them right away. Usually within a month of turning buff, their rind is incredibly hard.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 11:30AM
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The rind has been pretty hard for awhile, but I didn't see any signs of turning. One seemed to slow down it's growing cycle in the last few days and this morning is showing a few more light spots. It was the first one on the vine, so maybe it is beginning to ripen. The second one is larger and still not showing signs of ripening.

I have both Zuchetta and Seminole growing and it's almost impossible to walk out there for the vines. They are crawling over everything and climbing anything they can find.

Dawn, I planted Zuchetta and Seminole just after the Sugar Snaps were harvested from that trellis. The Zuchetta came up quickly, but I had to replant the Seminole, so it may have been as late as early June. Of course, July was bone dry.

We don't usually have our first frost until around Halloween, so I think the three large ones are sure to make it. If the others would be the size that I expected, then they could probably make it too.

Sorry to have so many questions, but this is my first time to grow this and it has been an odd experience.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 12:18PM
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I had this squash leaning in and resting on one of the wires of the cattle panel, but it got to big to fit between the wires, so I put it in a sling. It doesn't look as big in the picture as it does in the garden. The wires on that panel are roughly 6x8 inches, so it is a very heavy fruit to be hanging from a vine.

Here is a link that might be useful: Seminole???

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 12:30PM
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The seed ought to be mature once one cannot break the skin with a thumbnail. However, as Dawn has mentioned, it is better to leave the fruit until buff colored, or until it is in danger of freezing.

With Old Timey Cornfield Pumpkin, last year, mine set fruit quite late. Only a few turned buff before frost/freeze. But there were a number of beautiful, dark green fruit, which I brought in, just because they were too pretty to leave out. Lo and behold! Every one of them finished turning buff, in storage. I still have one of them sitting on work bench in our milk shed. I need to cut it!


    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 1:09PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I hope George revisits this thread and sees your photo. He knows more about squash than anyone else I know and I bet he'd have something to say about what it looks like to him.

Your photo leaves me almost speechless. If that winter squash were growing in my garden, I wouldn't think it was Seminole because I never get long-necked ones like that. Even the ones that seem to me that they have a longer neck than usual are nowhere near as long-necked as the one in your photo. So, in my garden, I'd think I had planted cross-pollinated seed or incorrectly labeled seed, and I'd think that big green winter squash was either a cushaw type or maybe one of the many neck pumpkins....maybe a C. argyrosperma (formerly known as ) of some sort. I have grown something that had that shape once. It might have been Tennessee Upper Ground Sweet Potato (which is a winter squash, not a potato) or something similar, but it didn't have that dark green color at any stage that I can remember.

It is possible it could be Seminole. Some people get some very elongated shapes like yours. However, when I have seen photos of the elongated ones, they are nowhere near as dark green as yours. I feel like that is crossed Seminole seed out there, too, because a decade ago I rarely saw any except the teardrop shaped or almost rounded ones and every year I see more and more people posting photos of them with longer and longer necks.

If you look at the photos in the below link, you'll see some on the bottom row with a shape similar to yours, but with lighter color. The Seminole pumpkins I get usually are more like the ones in the first three photos on the left side of the first row of photos in the link.

Did you look at the BC catalog on the winter squash pages to see if they sell something that is an identical shape/color to yours? Of course, yours may change color later on. For a Seminole to be that big and that green while already that big just doesn't fit what I know from growing Seminole for about a decade or so. You'd think if that size/shape was in the normal range of what Seminole regularly produces, Id have seen one that size/shape at least once, and I don't believe I ever have.


Here is a link that might be useful: Photos of Seminole Winter Squash

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 1:24PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Carol, I meant to comment on the size of mentioned that it is very large to hang from a vine. While that is true, I have had 20-lb. pumpkins grow from trellised vines with no support, and they never broke the vine, nor did their weight pull down the vine significantly.

George, Have you ever seen a Seminole that looked like Carol's? I'm just not convinced it actually is a Seminole.

Every buff pumpkin I've ever grown has held forever in storage....easily a year and sometimes longer. Turk's Turban holds a long time like that too, and so do some cushaw's.

What I find fascinating is how you can look at one in storage every day and it seems fine, and then suddenly one day---poof!---it has collapsed.


    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 1:29PM
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I can't judge whether that's a Seminole or not, as I have no experience with the variety. I just assumed it was.

Back in 1984 I purchased seed to Thompson & Morgan's melon squash. It looked a little like that, only with longer necks. Interestingly, my seed came crossed, probably with Golden Cushaw. I liked the cross more than the original. Unfortunately, I had not yet learned to hand pollinate. When I wrote the company about the cross they never responded. (I never purchased from them again.)

Anyway, it's possible you have a cross, or that they sent you something else. Whatever it is, it looks nice. My own Warsaw Buff Pie Pumpkin produced a lot fruit very similar to that, this year. Sometimes it puts out more of one shape than of the others.

Yes, they can collapse abruptly. Also I cut a 2011 Old Timey Cornfield Pumpkin, back in July. It looked fine. But it had mold in the cavity. That mold tainted the whole thing. We had to throw it out.


    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 1:36PM
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HaHa - Now you know why I have been so confused. I have seen pictures of this shape, but not this size. Thanks for the info. We will just wait and see, I guess.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 2:22PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

George, It is interesting you had one that had mold in the middle. If I have seen that before, I do not recall it. I have had it with peppers and tomatoes, where it is an internal form of BER.

Carol, If it stays dark green, I won't know what to think. I am expecting it will turn some other color as it matures....though it may not. All the stores here have a huge assortment of winter squash for fall decorations, and none of them are dark green like yours.


    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 2:48PM
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I had a very dark green Warsaw buff pie pumpkin crop up in 2006. It turned buff like the rest.


    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 2:54PM
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