When to harvest pumpkins & winter squash

Depending on your garden and when you planted, you may find some winter squashes are ready to harvest. Look for the two key signs for perfect timing, but don’t be tempted to harvest your winter squash and pumpkins too early as they won’t store as well.

  1. The stalk drying out and hardening – (as pictured) this is a good indicator that they are ready. You can expect that the leaves will be turning yellow/brown and dying back as well.
  2. The skin hardening – once the skin has changed colour it will start to harden. If the stalks have already begun to dry out as above, then try pushing a thumbnail into the skin of the pumpkin/squash. If it makes a dent but doesn’t pierce the skin, then it is ripe.

If the plants start to die off before they are fully ripe, or of the pumpkin/squash breaks away from its stalk, then don’t worry – you can leave the fruits in a warm, dry room in the house to continue ripening.