When are baby trees ready to pick?

Harvesting the pumpkin - picking the winter or summer pumpkin

Pumpkin plants are popular with home gardeners, but when to harvest pumpkin can arise. Is the best time to pick pumpkin the same for all types of pumpkin? Is the size of the summer squash or the winter squash a factor in the choice? Read on to find out.

When to pick summer squash

Summer squash includes all pumpkins with a thin, delicate skin such as:

  • zucchini
  • Yellow crookneck
  • Patty pan / scallop
  • Yellow straightneck

The size of the summer squash can get quite large, but you will enjoy it more if you choose it small. The best time to harvest pumpkin of these strains is while they are still small. The size of the summer squash when it's ready to be harvested is about 6 inches long or wide when it is the patty shape.

Beyond this size, the summer squash develops a thinking skin and becomes bitter. The taste isn't the best for cooking. Frequent harvesting also encourages the plant to produce more fruit.

When to pick winter squash

Winter pumpkin contains all of the pumpkins you can keep in winter. Popular types are:

  • Butternut squash
  • Acorn gourd
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Buttercup
  • Hubbard Pumpkin

Winter squash is used when it is fully ripe. This means that the best time to harvest pumpkin of this variety is at the end of the growing season, precisely at the time of the first frost. If your vine happens to be damaged by pests or weather forcing you to harvest early, you can also tap it lightly when you're ready to pick a winter squash. When it feels solid and sounds slightly hollow, it's ready to be picked.

Video: Pumpkin farmers in harvest fever | The Northern Reportage | NDR documentary