Choose the Best Pumpkins For Your Homestead

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Choose the Best Pumpkins For Your Homestead

Choose The Best Pumpkins for Your Homestead

Doing a bit of research to help you choose the best pumpkins for your homestead is fun and rewarding. It doesn’t take much effort and it’s entertaining to look through seed offerings with the kaleidoscope of colors, shapes, and sizes. Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you get ready to order seeds for your very own pumpkin patch!

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Galeux D' Eysines Squash

Galeux D’ Eysines Squash is a unique and tasty heirloom that looks like a pumpkin with ‘peanuts’ stuck to its skin.

Heirloom vs Hybrid

Heirlooms, or open pollinated varieties, allow you to save seed each year and grow the same variety of pumpkin over and over again.

Hybrids are a cross of two or more varieties and the seeds produced this year will not produce the same variety of pumpkin next year.

If you would like to save seeds each year, choose an heirloom variety for your pumpkin patch. You’ll most likely need to hand pollinate the flowers and tape them shut to produce heirloom seeds, unless there is only one variety of pumpkin, squash, or gourd in the area. (Pumpkins, squash, and gourds may cross pollinate.)

Seed companies have produced a plethora of hybrid pumpkin varieties with warts, stripes, and unusual colors. These unusual varieties sell well at roadside stands and farmers markets.

Perhaps you prefer to grow an heirloom variety for historical interest or to help preserve the genetics. Quite a few customers are interested in purchasing heirloom vegetables, so you may have a market for old world pumpkins in your area.


Warty Goblin pumpkins

Warty Goblin Pumpkins are an F1 Hybrid and they live up to their name!

Growing Space

Homesteaders with a lot of space may not be concerned that pumpkins spread out, but urban and suburban gardeners are unlikely to have room for these space hogs. Small space gardeners can choose bush varieties, such as Spirit hybrid pumpkin, with vines 4 to 6 feet long. Pumpkins can also be grown up a trellis to save space.

Space Saving Pumpkin Varieties

    • Crunchkin Pumpkin – (F1 hybrid) Mini, flattened, ribbed, orange pumpkins, bush habit
    • Racer Pumpkin – (F1 Hybrid) Mid-size, orange, round, pumpkin, short vines
    • Flatso Pumpkin   – (F1 Hybrid) Small, flattened, orange pumpkins, semi-bush habit
    • Kakai – (Open Pollinated) Small, round, orange and green striped pumpkins with hull-less seeds, semi-bush habit
    • Lechebnaya – (Open Pollinated) Small to Mid-size, round, grey green pumpkins are decorative and good for cooking, bush habit
    • Wee-B-Little – (Open Pollinated) Mini, round, orange pumpkin, semi-bush habit

Field pumpkins

Field pumpkins have been around for ages and make great Jack-o-lanterns. They also take up a lot of space.

Your Pumpkin’s Purpose

Whether you want pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns, to make pies from scratch, or you want to set up a Pick-Your-Own pumpkin stand, there is a variety for you. In fact, you may have trouble picking just one variety you want to grow!

Jack-o-lantern

boo

Halloween Jack-o-Lantern’s

You’ll want a nice sized pumpkin that doesn’t have very thick walls for carving. These varieties make great pumpkins for your home garden, farmers markets, Pick-Your-Own patches, and roadside stands.

Grow your own autumn decor!

Fall Decoration

There are so many interesting colors, shapes, sizes, and markings in pumpkin and squash varieties that it’s difficult to pick just one. Why not choose a variety of different pumpkins to decorate your home for autumn? Many of these decorative fruits sell very well at farmers markets, apple orchards, Pick-Your-Own patches, and roadside stands. Here are some interesting and decorative varieties that are sure to attract attention!

  • Warty Goblin – (F1 Hybrid) Small to medium sized, round pumpkins with green ‘warts’ that stay green for several weeks after harvest
  • Rouge Vif D’ Etampes – (Open Pollinated) Medium to large, flattened, reddish orange pumpkin that is also very tasty
  • Musquee De Provence – (Open Pollinated) Medium, flattened, ribbed, copper brown pumpkin with fine flavor
  • Jarrahdale – (Open Pollinated) Small, grey blue, ribbed pumpkin with excellent eating qualities
  • Flat White Boer – (Open Pollinated) Medium large, flat, white pumpkin with excellent eating qualities
  • Baby Boo  – (Open Pollinated) Miniature, white pumpkin
  • ONE TOO MANY – (Open Pollinated) Orange and white striped, medium pumpkin that resembles a blood-shot eye
  • Porcelain Doll – (F1 Hybrid) Miniature, ribbed pumpkin with unusual pink color
  • Galeux d’Eysines  – (Open Pollinated) Flattened, light orange squash that looks like a pumpkin with peanut shaped warts. Good to eat

Pumpkin pies

Pies, Baking, and Cooking

Most pumpkins may be cooked and used in pies, breads, muffins and other goodies. However, for fine grained flesh that tastes great and isn’t overly moist, try these varieties:

  • Winter Luxury Pie – (Open Pollinated) Small, round pumpkins with fine grain and great flavor
  • Small Sugar – (Open Pollinated) Small, round pumpkins with with fine grain and flavor. Aka ‘New England Pie Pumpkin’
  • Dickinson – (Open Pollinated) Medium to large, tan pumpkin that is great for cooking and canning
  • Seminole – (Open Pollinated) Small, tan pumpkin with fine, dry flesh. Insect and disease resistant
  • Rouge Vif D’ Etampes – (Open Pollinated) Medium to large, flattened, reddish orange pumpkin that is also very tasty
  • Musquee De Provence – (Open Pollinated) Medium, flattened, ribbed, copper brown pumpkin with fine flavor
  • Jarrahdale – (Open Pollinated) Small, grey blue, ribbed pumpkin with excellent eating qualities
  • Flat White Boer – (Open Pollinated) Medium large, flat, white pumpkin with excellent eating qualities
  • Galeux d’Eysines  – (Open Pollinated) Flattened, light orange squash that looks like a pumpkin with peanut shaped warts. Good to eat

Giant pumpkin

Giant Pumpkins

Want to grow a behemoth to show at the fair? Or maybe you’d like to decorate your yard with a giant pumpkin. Your only problem may be moving a pumpkin that weighs several hundred pounds. For the largest pumpkins, allow one fruit per vine, pinch end of vine to direct energy to fruit, water and fertilize heavily.

  • Big Max – (Open Pollinated) Extra large, round, orange pumpkins that may weigh 100+ pounds. Can also be used for pies
  • Atlantic Giant  – (Open Pollinated) The largest pumpkin variety, commonly produces 200 – 300 pound fruits, and larger!



Now Pick Your Pumpkins!

There are so many different pumpkins to choose from, it may be difficult to narrow down your list. If you have a lot of garden space and you’d like to sell the extras, why not plant a nice sized patch of field pumpkins for Halloween and several smaller patches of decorative, edible, and long lasting pumpkins?

You’ll have some to decorate your yard for autumn, some for pies and baked goods, and enough extra to share with friends or sell to raise some ‘seed’ money for next year!


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Lisa Lombardo
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Lisa Lombardo

Freelance Writer & Blogger at Tohoca, LLC
Lisa writes in-depth articles about gardening and homesteading topics. She grew up on a farm and has continued learning about horticulture, animal husbandry, and home food preservation ever since. She has earned an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She is a self proclaimed gardening freak and crazy chicken lady.

In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org.

The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.
Lisa Lombardo
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About Lisa Lombardo

Lisa writes in-depth articles about gardening and homesteading topics. She grew up on a farm and has continued learning about horticulture, animal husbandry, and home food preservation ever since. She has earned an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She is a self proclaimed gardening freak and crazy chicken lady. In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org. The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.

8 comments on “Choose the Best Pumpkins For Your Homestead

  1. Nancy W

    I always grew heirloom pumpkins and would save the seeds. It’s amazing how many different varieties there are. I loved the smaller pumpkins I grew, they made the best pies!

    Reply
  2. Marla

    HI Lisa,
    I usually buy my pumpkins from a local farmer that are organically grown and cook them and then freeze them for winter. I am amazed at how many different varieties there are of pumpkins and squash. Thanks for sharing all this informative and valuable information.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      That’s great, Marla! They are a very space hungry plant…so for many people it is better to just buy some in the fall.

      Reply
  3. farmgal

    I love my pumpkins, I grow a good amount as fodder for the critters, I use a good amount in the house a well. We have three large pick your own pumpkin or come pre-picked pumpkin places within 20 minutes of the farm so it never seemed worth putting it out there.. and I still think that is true for the most part.. however the cost of squashes has gotten crazy high here locally and I am thinking of growing some extra this year and I might grow a few pie/eating pumpkins to see if I can market them side by side..

    Maybe I can develop a new little side line in this way without trying to price point with the big guys locally.. we will see!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      A very good point about the fodder for livestock, FarmGal…that should have been on my list! My chickens are loving the extra winter squash that got ruined by mice and their egg yolks are such a deep orange color! I think I need to plant extras every year for them. 🙂

      I hope the idea of a winter squash for sale goes well for you! Sounds like a great idea 🙂

      Reply
  4. Julie

    We were recently doing some research for a niche market, and we realized no one really grew pumpkins around here. We are seriously considering adding them, so this is a timely and informative article for us!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Post author

      Great idea, Julie…it is a crop that doesn’t need a lot of care, you can save the seeds to reduce your costs, and then you can just let people pay to do the work themselves at harvest time!

      Let me know how it goes!

      Reply

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