Many people are traditionalist and prefer to choose a short, round pumpkin that is orange in color when it comes to Halloween pumpkin carving. Pumpkins are part of the vegetable family called squashes and are great for making delicious desserts, but while your trying to chew on that thought consider that pumpkins come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors. Squashes and gourds can be carved into cute or scary pumpkin faces or other designs.
What kind of pumpkins are good for carving? According to About.com's gardening division there are many kinds of pumpkins for carving including:
- Carving Pumpkins: 'Connecticut Field', 'Ghost Rider' or 'Jack O' Lantern'.
- Giant Pumpkins: 'Atlantic Giant’
- Cooking Pumpkins: 'Small Sugar', aka 'New England Pie'.
- Heirloom ‘Cinderella’ Pumpkin: ‘Rouge vif D'Etampes’, ‘Musque de Provence’
- White Pumpkins: ‘Baby Boo’, Lumina, Casper
- Other Colors: ‘Australian Blue’ & ‘Rouge D’Etant’ (Red)
- Hull-less Varieties: ‘Hungarian Mammoth’, ‘Lady Godiva’, ‘Triple-Treat’.
Pumpkin growing facts:
- Pumpkins are annuals and require a long growing season.
- Maturity of pumpkins vary from a few ounces like the 'Jack Be Little' type to over 1,000 pounds with the giant pumpkins namely the 'Atlantic Giant'. The length of vines vary too, of course, they grow from 10 feet across the ground. They do not have to grow vertically, they can grow vertically if they strong support.
- Pumpkins need exposed to full sun and plenty of warm days to grow best.
- Pumpkins need 90-110 days to ripen, Ohioans have plenty of long, hot days to grow pumpkins. It takes 3 months to grow pumpkins to maturity.
- Do not rush a pumpkin's growth they will not taste good or last long.
- Wait until the pumpkin is one solid color and the outer shell doesn't dent in when you push a finger on it.
- When the tendril (the pumpkin stump part) turns brown closest to the pumpkin top then you can harvest it.
- Cut it off at the vine 2-4 inches whether it is for a carved pumpkin or not. The stump protects the pumpkin from disease and bacteria.
- Harvest before a hard frost, a light frost will not harm them.
- Pumpkins are not a winter squash and cannot be kept over the winter. The best way to keep pumpkin over the winter is to process pumpkin in Mason jars.