If you have visited the Garden Center lately you may have noticed a distinct orange presence! Our Farm Grown pumpkins and gorgeous gourds are on display and ready for your fall gardens! It’s easy to become mesmerized by the array of colors and shapes of all the varieties – but we guarantee you will find one you fall in love with. Pumpkins are such diverse fruits (yes, technically a fruit!) that can be used in a multitude of ways, and we LOVE them here at the Garden Center.
Some people think that pumpkins are limited to orange, but it’s completely the opposite! They come in shades of white, green, gray, yellow, pink and many are multicolored! As far as the shape – some are traditionally round, while others are tall, elongated or bulbous. One variety will have smooth skin, the next will be covered with multicolored warts. Some are flat and compact, and you can stack them into towers, others stand proudly alone.
Beyond their role as Halloween decorations, pumpkins are delicious! They are culinary chameleons, performing strongly in tasty pies, breads, and soups. Their seeds are anti-inflammatory and rich in magnesium, a nutrient which most of us are lacking in our diet. They have been edible for thousands of years, with evidence of them being dinner for ancient peoples as far back as 5,000 years ago.
The pumpkin is a symbol of abundance, prosperity, and good fortune, and its association with the harvest season has made it an important part of the autumn season. The pumpkin’s ability to produce so much food from a single seed is a testament to its importance as a food source and symbol of abundance.
Tips for Picking Out your Pumpkins:
A sturdy stem is a good sign of a healthy pumpkin, but to avoid tears, it is always best to handle your pumpkin by the body. During the harvesting process some pumpkins lose their stems (through no fault of their own), so don’t take the absence of one as a bad sign. Make sure the pumpkin you pick is firm, with no large soft spots or blemishes. A soft or mushy pumpkin will not last long and should be regulated to the compost heap. If you are carving a pumpkin, you may want to consider one with a flat, even, base to prevent it from rolling or toppling over.
Once you have your pumpkin home, we understand you want to keep it looking as best as possible for as long as possible. Store your pumpkin in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat. Be gentle when moving and handling it – bruising or punctures will only speed up the decomposition of the pumpkin. Moisture also promotes rot and mold. Try to keep them out of the rain if possible.
If you are planning to carve your pumpkin friend, delay cosmetic surgery until just a few days before you want them displayed. Carved pumpkins will deteriorate at a much faster rate. Carved pumpkins that dry out tend to collapse around the knife marks. You can put a thin layer of Vaseline or spray WD-40 on the edges of your carvings – this will lock in moisture and slow down the drying process.
**WARNING: WD-40 is flammable – use a LED flameless candle to be safe.
If you have a group of pumpkins, keep an eye on them! Remove rotten or moldy pumpkins from the group promptly to prevent rot from spreading to the others.
Our Favorites this year:
These colorful pumpkins bring us so much joy just due to the variations of colors that they can produce. To me they look a bit like a wheel of cheese, they really stand out in displays and on porches.
Another favorite is this pumpkin with deep slate blue colors and deep grooves. Inside they have bright orange flesh – perfect for pies or for roasting!
These unique and warty characters produce a very sweet and mild flavor. We love how they look when paired with the traditional smooth pumpkins.