Now that Autumn has arrived full force, it’s time to pull out all of those Fall decorations! And what is the major star of Fall? Why, the pumpkin, of course! From giant pumpkins that can weigh hundreds of pounds to miniature pumpkins that fit in the palm of your hand, there is one for every need, taste, and desire. With Halloween decor out, we can all admit that there is nothing scarier than a sunken, sad pumpkin.The traditional orange color is perfect for carving, but your decor will also benefit from other colors such as white, buff, blue-green, and scarlet. No matter the color or use, you want your pumpkins to last well into November. Put on a delightful display all season long with these tricks to extend the life of your pumpkins.
Handle with Care
The easiest way to maximize the life of your pumpkins? Keep your hands off of them! The only time you should touch them is when you pick one from the patch, when you unload it to and from your car, and when you clean it. The reasoning behind this is because the oils from your fingers can speed up the rotting process. Handling a pumpkin too aggressively can lead to unwanted cuts from your fingernails or bruises from gripping too hard. It is ideal to set your pumpkin where you want it for the season and then keep your hands off. Also, when picking up your pumpkin from the patch, don’t grip it from the stem. If you break the stem, the pumpkins life will be shorter.
It is only natural to want to keep your pumpkins outside. They make a perfect addition to any porch or garden. However, if you are keeping them outside pick a dry, shaded spot. Too much hot sun will speed up the decaying process. Additionally, moisture from too much rain will lead to mold and mush, which no one wants for their festive pumpkin decor.
Giving your pumpkin a bath every now and then will keep its rind fresh. Mix one part bleach to ten parts water in a large container. Let your pumpkin bathe in the solution for two minutes, stirring it around to cover all sides. Once done, let your pumpkin dry completely before setting it back in its home. Pay special attention and make sure the base is dry as liquid tends to pool there. This bleach-water solution can also be used as a daily spray to keep your pumpkins healthy. Just watch where you are spraying. There are certain things, like other plants and fabrics, that will not react well to the solution.
We know that too much moisture will lead to mold and mush, but a proper amount of moisture is necessary to keep your pumpkins fresh for a longer period of time. Carving pumpkins is a tradition we all know and love, but it speeds up the decaying process. Oxidation happens as soon as the pumpkins are cut open, causing your pumpkins to dry out faster. When carving your pumpkin, try rubbing petroleum jelly around the carved areas of the pumpkin to keep it from drying out. you can also try the beforementioned bleach and water solution, or you can try a peppermint-based conditioning spray. You can make this with all natural peppermint soap and a few drops of peppermint essential oil. Not only will your decor smell awesome but peppermint has anti-fungal properties that will keep your pumpkins soft and smooth when they begin to dry out.
Keep Pests Away
Halloween is scary enough without pests roaming around your pumpkins. Unfortunately, pumpkins are delicious and pests will want to snack on them just as much as they will your other produce. This is especially true for carved pumpkins, which are prone to fruit flies. What attracts fruit flies? Mold. The first step towards fruit fly prevention is proper pumpkin care. Make sure your carved pumpkin is completely gut-free, which lessens the chance of mold. If you have flies, trap them in an open dish of wine next to your pumpkin. Since fruit flies are attracted to fermented fruit, your wine will serve as a distraction. If you have ground lurking pests, such as ants or squirrels, keep your pumpkins off the ground. Instead get creative and set them on a windowsill or stack them on hay bales.