Most pumpkins need between 90 to 120 days from seed to harvesting. By Janet B. Carson

Plant now for pumpkins this fall

Not many people think about Halloween in June, but now is the time to plant seeds to have pumpkins in time for fall.

Pumpkins aren’t difficult to grow, but require a long time to mature and ample space. Pumpkins come in all sizes and shapes — from the traditional orange to white, red, green and striped, from smooth rinds to warty.

Pumpkins are members of the cucurbit family, which means they are related to cucumbers, squash and watermelons. They are normally planted once the soil warms up, or from mid-June to early July for a fall harvest.

Most pumpkins need between 90 to 120 days from seed to harvesting. They need full sun and well-drained soil. Mound up the soil, plant three seeds per mound, and space the mounds 2 to 5 feet apart. Vines are prolific, but if space is limited, they can be trained to grow up a trellis, with support given to the resulting pumpkins. Fertilize at planting and again lightly when plants begin to vine. Don’t overdo it with fertilizer or you will get more vines than pumpkins. Mulching can help with weed control. Water as needed.

Pumpkins can be used as decorations or as a food source. Pie pumpkins are traditionally smaller — usually between 3-6 pounds. Pumpkins are low in calories, fat and sodium, and high in fiber. They are good sources of Vitamins A, B and C, potassium and iron.

BlazeYellowish-orange skin with deep orange stripes on a squatty, round pumpkin; up to 3 pounds.100
Blue DollGreenish-blue pumpkin; between 15-20 pounds.110
Connecticut FieldHeirloom variety; up to 20 pounds, taller than wide.100
FairytaleMedium-sized, flatter fruits with a light, dusky tan color. Beautiful and great pie
pumpkin; between 12-15 pounds.
HijinksUniform perfect shapes with deep orange fruits; between 7-9 pounds. Widespreading plants but very productive.100
Jack-Be-LittleMini pumpkin; 3-4 inches wide, 2-inches tall, less than 1 pound. Bright orange fruits. Plants are more bush-like and easier to fit in a small space.95
KnuckleheadOrange, oval pumpkin with green and orange warts; up to 16 pounds.130
PepitasLight orange fruits with green blotches; 9-12 pounds. It has naked seeds (pepitas) that are great to roast.90
Orange SmoothieSmooth, dark orange fruit; between 5-8 pounds. Decorative and good pie pumpkin. Requires less space.90
Sugar PieHeirloom, small-to-medium round fruit; between 6-8 pounds. Very vigorous and considered the best pie pumpkin.90-100
Super MoonWhite pumpkin; between 25-30 pounds. Vigorous plant and disease-resistant.90