Just-In-Time Pumpkins

I planted the pumpkin seeds almost too late this year. Last year they sprouted too early (May) and they were ripe by August, whereupon they sat slowly drying out until pie-time at the end of November. So this year I decided to plant them later, but I procrastinated too long and got them into the ground only in the last week of July.

Here they are the last week of August:

By the beginning of October I had 4 pumpkins, but it was iffy as to whether or not they would ripen sufficiently before the plants died. The plants had begun their traditional mildewing and the stems were drying. The mildew never affects the pumpkins themselves, so I ignore it.

Thanks to a perfect warm October and early November, we managed a modest crop, enough for Thanksgiving pies. Last year I got about 30 pumpkins and couldn't use them all. Next year, I'll plant by mid-July.

I'm also going to look at an heirloom variety or two. The one we always plant, 'Small Sugar' has a fine texture, but little flavor. In the past, I've tried a "Buttercup" squash, but although the texture was velvety, the flavor was not much better and the yield was poor. I'd like something tastier--any suggestions?

All's well that ends well. Here's a good end: dessert and flowers!


Rosa 'William Morris' (Austin, 1998)


  1. Pumpkin pie AND roses! Doesn't get much better than that!

  2. I know this is old - really old - an you probably know by this time, but the reason for the lack of flavour is the mildew.

    1. No, did not know that Socratic. Very interesting--how does leaf mildew affect the flavour? Reduced nutrients to the fruits?


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