Real ‘pumpkin weather’ coming soon, but what is it?

No Wait Weather

HOUSTONTexas (KIAH) – Mornings are becoming crisper, and days are getting shorter. We are officially in the fall season; stirring up your cravings from pumpkin everything! 

Lower temperatures and “pumpkin spice” seem to go hand in hand as most prefer this savory taste in the cooler months, but what type of weather does a pumpkin actually prefer?  

What is ‘pumpkin weather’? 

The answer goes back all the way to when that sumo squash was just a tiny seed. Although pumpkins are a winter squash, they need warm weather to grow! It normally takes between 90-100 days for a seed to ripen. If you want to harvest your pumpkins in time for Halloween, the planting process needs to occur much earlier in the year. Most farmers begin planting in July, when the soil and air temperatures are warm. Seventy degrees is the perfect temperature for the soil to be if you want your pumpkin to thrive. At night, you do not want the soil temperature falling below the middle 50s. This will limit growth. Air temperatures should range from 50-90 degrees throughout the growing process for a happy pumpkin.  

The biggest tip for planting is avoiding the first frost/freeze dates. Find out when these occur on average for your area. Colder climates may have to start the growing process indoors so that there is enough time for maturing to occur. You can begin indoor planting 3 weeks before the last spring frost. Transplanting an already sprouted seed can also better your chances for a successful crop! You should always plan to harvest your pumpkin before the first frost. This will damage the plant.  

FUN FACTS

Is a pumpkin fruit or a vegetable? 

Depends on who you are asking. From a botanist’s perspective, a pumpkin is a fruit. A pumpkin is a product of the seed holding structure of a flowering plant. Vegetables are considered all other parts of the plant. From a culinary perspective, we call them vegetables because they are less sweet, normally used in savory dishes.  

What is the largest pumpkin ever grown? 

The largest pumpkin ever grown was 2,624 pounds, by a Belgian horticulturist. 

Origin of the name? 

Greek. ‘Pepon’ means ‘large melon’.  

What is the Pumpkin capital of the world? 

Morton, Illinois. 

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