Ripen Pumpkins without Freezing them?

ion_source_guyOctober 24, 2008

Okay it's 1 week till Halloween, and I've got about 15 pumpkins, all but 3 of which are still quite green. I'm afraid most of them will not be Orange in time for Halloween. Can anyone give me advice about speeding up the process?

Last year, when it got cold I picked a few and put them up next to the house, a couple weeks before Halloween to make sure they wouldn't be freeze damaged, but two weeks later, I found that those next to the house hadn't changed color much, but the ones I left out in the Garden had mostly turned orange.

I know if they get frozen hard, then when they thaw they kind of turn to mush. It was supposed to get to 26 Wednesday night, so I went out in the dark after the 10 o'clock news and picked the 4 biggest ones and put them in my garage so they wouldn't be frozen. I think it got down to about 25, but the ones I left out still seem sound. Just how cold does it have to get to damage these pumpkins anyway? Am I wasting my time bringing them in for fear of the cold?

I'm not sure what to do with these ones I picked to get them to ripen up. Is this one of those exhaled methane or CO2 things?

My little ones are going to be disappointed if our Jack-o-lanterns are mostly green this year.



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david52 Zone 6

I feel your pain. I don't think they'll go from green to orange in a week.

So, you can either have green pumpkins, or use spray paint.

Last year, we grew one of those monster pumpkins, and it wouldn't stand on end with the pretty side out. So we had to turn it around and carve the flat side, which was all scared up from the grass and white as a sheet, from where it rested on the ground..... It all worked out ok.

This year, I have 3 of the ^^&*# things. Off of one fine. The biggest two are north of 130 lbs, the smaller one, maybe 80 lbs....

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 7:13PM
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Bruce, I'm not really sure. A couple years ago, they all seemed to be green very close to Halloween. They still made it.

The last 2 or 3 years, I've grown Rock Star and they've worried me by beginning to turn orange in September! . . didn't seem to matter any.

I'd be very inclined to bring your green ones into the house and keep them warm, warm.

As far as frost damage - I think we expect too much out of pumpkins and squash. I cut them and put them somewhere more protected (like our car port or garage) after we've had a few light frosts. Heck, some of the pumpkin vines were toast before there was frost.

Frost-damaged squash rind means they won't keep worth a darn.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 2:05AM
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Beeone(4 N. Wyo.)

Wish I knew what would work as I usually have green pumpkins when it freezes.

One thought, though--take them to a warmer area so metabolic activity is faster and put them in a cardboard box with a couple ripe apples or bananas that will give off lots of ethylene gas. The box will help keep the concentration up without getting the humidity so high mold develops. That might do it, or it might not.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 3:09AM
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Okay, two things. I found that all the pumpkins which were less mature, with a more bright green color, now have frost damage, and all the ones which were at least close to being ripe do not. There was a tendency for the more mature ones to be bigger, so it could be that thermal mass played a role, but there were a couple pretty large lighter green ones that froze, and there were a couple of medium, or even leaning toward the smallish side, that did not freeze. So I donÂt want to discount the thermal mass, but I suspect there must be a change in the flesh itself which may make it less susceptible to freezing if itÂs maturing. Perhaps increasing sugars or more starch in the flesh as the pumpkin matures, or maybe just less water.

One of the pumpkins had sagged down off my chain link fence and had been sitting on the lawn for the last week or two. Interestingly, that one was all orange on the bottom side where it was sitting on the lawn. HmmmÂ.

The 4 big ones I picked and brought in the night of the hard freeze are all getting noticeably closer to orange, so Maybe thereÂs still hope. IÂve had them outside except the extra cold nights. I'm a little skeptical of bringing them in to the warm, because of the ones last year that were kept warmer and did not ripen. Still it DOES seem reasonable to try to speed up the metabolism. Maybe I'll experiment by bringing only one or two in. ItÂs going to be close.



    Bookmark   October 26, 2008 at 8:57PM
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