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by Katie Hodgkins

Our Pumpkin Picking Guide

We’re well and truly in the midst of Halloween mania! Have you considered getting your pumpkins ready?

If you’re keen to make choosing the decorative pumpkins a family task, you should consider going on a family trip to your local pumpkin patch! It’s fun, reasonably cheap, and a great way to make fond memories. You may have some questions;

  • When can we go?
  • How will I know if a pumpkin is ‘bad’?
  • How long will a pumpkin last after being picked?
  • Where can I find a local patch?

We have you covered; after doing some research, we’ve put together this handy guide to help you. Happy pumpkin picking!

What time of year can I go pumpkin picking?

In the UK, the best time of year (and the time of year that patches start to open up to customers) is around mid October; some of my local patches open on the 12th, some slightly later. It all depends on this year’s harvest of Pumpkins and when they’re ready to be picked! This means that for many of us, this weekend will be prime picking time, so get your wellies on.

How can I spot a bad pumpkin?

It’s fairly easy to spot a bad/overripe pumpkin, luckily. We’d advise;

  • Checking pumpkins skin for a uniform shade and hard skin/rind. Any softness means your pumpkin is a bad pick.
  • Smell the pumpkin – bad pumpkin has a very obvious odour!
  • Examine for any blemishes; scratches, grazes, cracks, gouges etc. Small superficial blemishes aren’t usually an issue but deeper ones may mean your pumpkin won’t last as long.
  • Check for any ‘powdery’ finish on the skin, as this is a sign of mildew and means you should avoid that pumpkin.

How long will my pumpkin last?

Horticulturists agree that a pumpkin should last 8-12 weeks after being picked depending on;

  • The weather
  • The condition of the pumpkin
  • How carefully your pumpkin was farmed (protected from pests, the elements etc)

Ask your local pumpkin farmer for some more insight if you’d like to have more detailed information.

Once carved, your pumpkin will only last three to five days. This is all useful information to bear in mind when planning a pumpkin patch visit and carving session!

Where can I find a local pumpkin patch?

We’ve started our own directory here!

Other places to find local patches;

  • Facebook community groups/pages. Try searching for ‘Spotted: your town name’ on Facebook or Google!
  • Google searching ‘pumpkin patches [your location]’.
  • Word of mouth; ask friends and family for recommendations.

What should I Wear When Pumpkin Picking?

Remember, pumpkin picking is a dirty task! You should make sure that you wear…

  • Something that you can wipe down or don’t mind getting muddy.
  • Good quality waterproof shoes; wellington boots or hiking boots.
  • A waterproof coat.
  • It’s worth taking some gloves as, like most squash plants, pumpkin vines are very prickly.

What Else Should I Take?

  • A carrier bag for muddy things – make sure it can fit your shoes in!
  • Spare clothes and spare shoes.
  • Wipes and a towel.
  • A drink and snacks – it’s hard work!
  • Something to contain your pumpkins in.
  • Something to carry pumpkins across the patch in, unless your venue supplies a sledge or wheelbarrow.

Happy pumpkin picking, folks! Remember to wrap up warm and take lots of photos.

Love from Katie & Team BBY. Xx

Katie Hodgkins Image
I'm Katie, and I'm a mama, wife, and freelance content creator for Bump, Baby & You. I also help to run our thriving online community over in our Facebook support group, as well as volunteering for my local branch of the National Childbirth Trust. I'm a busy bee and enjoy keeping active, cooking, writing, and fun days out with my little family. My special topics of interest are... autism (as me and my son are both autistic), science, all things parenting and pregnancy related, and The Handmaids Tale!
Ready to get in touch?
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