CO-Horts Blog

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Pumpkins Galore and More

Pumpkin- Johnny's Seed Picture

Assorted Gourds- Johhny's Seed picture
This is the time of year when we think of adding colorful vegetables to our table.  Among these are ornamental gourds.  They come in all shapes and sizes with some as small as an egg and others the size of a duck but shaped like a swan.  Some are warty.  Some are smooth.  Some are striped while others are speckled.  Many can be dried and used to make crafts or items like birdhouses.  If you like them and have the room, try planting a mixture of gourds next year after the soil temperatures reach 60 degrees F.

Then there are pumpkins.  My son, a CSU sophomore, contacted me to ask if he carved a pumpkin, could he still use it to make pumpkin pie.  The answer was NO on two counts.  The first no is due to food safety conditions.  The second no is because there are different varieties of pumpkins for different uses.  Some pumpkins are breed for eating where others are breed to be a Jack-o-lantern and others like gourds just for ornamental reasons.  Here is a Ram-o-lantern.  If you have a Facebook account, search for Colostate how to carve a ram-o-lantern and there is a nice YouTube. 

CSU Ram-o-Lantern
Today’s pumpkin no longer comes in a smooth textured orange package.  Colors range from white, to pink to orange to red.  There are striped, speckled and warty pumpkins.  Members of the squash family easily cross giving us all kinds of squash shapes and sizes.  And did you know that there are male and female flowers?  We also have a native squash bee that will visit and pollinate your plants.
As with any crop, buy certified disease free seed.   There are many Colorado seed companies with great seed or national seed companies.  Or you can save some seed from your healthy plants but what you get may be a cross (hybrid).  Rotate your crops so the pumpkins and gourds (all squash) are only in the same place every 4 years and don’t plant too early in cold soils.  It potentially can setback the plants for the whole season.
Common pumpkin problems include powdery mildew, squash bugs and critters like deer that like to eat them.  Here is a fact sheet:

Pink Porceline Doll Pumpkin-
The main pumpkin season is October and November.  Support the pumpkin farmers by using them for cooking throughout the winter. From pumpkin bread, rolls, soup, eggnog to coffee, there are lots of pumpkin recipes out there.  I always heard to eat all the colors so pumpkins have orange covered.
Pumpkin Pie from GardenPress

Happy Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Give Pumpkins a try.  

Susan Carter is the CSU Extension Horticulture Agent for the Tri River Area.


  1. So you're saying that pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns and gourds are NOT edible or just not as tasty?