When to harvest pumpkins & winter squash

If you’ve been growing some lovely squashes or pumpkins this summer, then hopefully you’ve got a few good sized fruits on the plants that will be ready to harvest soon. Here are the tell-tale signs to look out for…

  1. The skin has changed colour – depending on the variety, the skin colour will change as it reaches maturity. You can expect Uchiki Kuri, Jack O’Lantern and Hundredweight to turn to their deep orange. Queensland blue will take on a blue-green tint (as pictured) and whiter varieties may start to develop green streaks.
  2. The stalk drying out and hardening – 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.
  3. 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.