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Early Pumpkin Ripening

August 22, 2012

Early Pumpkin Ripening
- Excerpt from Pumpkin and Winter Squash Harvest and Storage, written by Ruth Hazzard, University of Massachusetts. 

Ideally, pumpkins should be harvested when fully mature, with a deep orange color and hardened rind. However, as long as pumpkins have started to turn color, they will ripen off the vine if held under the proper conditions. While not ideal, this may be preferable to leaving them in the field if conditions are not favorable.

If necessary, pumpkins can be ripened in a well-ventilated barn or greenhouse. The best temperatures for ripening are 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of 80-85%. Night temperatures should not drop below the sixties. Even if pumpkins are ripe, a period of curing can improve storage life. The curing period should be about 10 days. During this process, the fruit skin hardens, wounds heal and immature fruit ripens all of which prolongs the storage life. Pumpkins should be stored in a cool, dry place. Ideal temperatures are between 50 F and 60 F and relative humidity of 50 - 70%. Higher humidity allows condensation on the fruit with risk of disease, and lower humidity can cause dehydration. Higher temperatures increase respiration and can cause weight loss. Temperatures lower than 50 F cause chilling injury. In a greenhouse, temperature can be managed with ventilation on sunny days. Unless it is quite cool, heat is not likely to be needed if the house is closed up at night.  

Often it is not feasible to harvest pumpkins early and store them until they can be marketed, and so they must be stored in the field. If vines and fruit are healthy, storage in the field can be successful for a few weeks. If the vines die back, damage to the fruit from sun, disease and insects is more likely. In any case, it is important to scout for insects feeding on the fruit and handles, which may include squash bug nymphs or adults, or striped cucumber beetle. Control them if damage is evident. In fields that have a history of Phytophthora blight, Fusarium fruit rot, or black rot, field storage may increase the incidence of these problems, particularly if we have a period of wet weather or a major storm while fruit is sitting in the field. This has been one of the causes of significant losses in recent years, and one reason that we recommend bringing fruit in as soon as it is mature.  



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Asparagus

Asparagus

Beets

Beets

Broccoli

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

Cabbage

Cabbage

Carrots

Carrots

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

Dry Beans

Dry Beans

Eggplant

Eggplant

Ethnic Vegetables

Ethnic Vegetables

Garlic

Garlic

Horseradish

Horseradish

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Leeks

Leeks

Lettuce / Leafy Greens

Lettuce / Leafy Greens

Melons

Melons

Onions

Onions

Parsnips

Parsnips

Peas

Peas

Peppers

Peppers

Potatoes

Potatoes

Pumpkins / Gourds

Pumpkins / Gourds

Radishes

Radishes

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

Rutabaga

Rutabaga

Snap Beans

Snap Beans

Squash - Summer

Squash - Summer

Squash- Winter

Squash- Winter

Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Turnips

Turnips

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Upcoming Events

NYS Processing Vegetable Industry Roundtable Meeting

March 18, 2024
Batavia, NY

Processing vegetable industry members who grow, manage, or support crop production for Farm Fresh First/Nortera Foods, Seneca Foods and/or Love Beets, are encouraged to sign-up for the 2024 NYS Processing Vegetable Industry Roundtable! You will:

  • Network at this in-person meeting.
  • Learn the results of industry-funded research.
  • Have a voice in Cornell research and Extension.
  • Earn 3.25 DEC pesticide applicator recertification credits
  • Earn Certified Crop Advisor Credits
View NYS Processing Vegetable Industry Roundtable Meeting Details

Oswego Muck Onion Growers Pre-Season Meeting: Stop the Rot, Nematodes and SLB Fungicide Resistance

Event Offers DEC Credits

March 20, 2024
Phoenix, NY

Christy Hoepting and Frank Hay will get growers ready for the season with updates on managing Stemphylium Leaf Blight fungicide resistance, progress made towards understanding and managing bacterial bulb rot of onion, and results of the 2023 nematode survey and research project. 2.5 DEC recertification credits will be offered in categories 1A, 10 and 23.

View Oswego Muck Onion Growers Pre-Season Meeting: Stop the Rot, Nematodes and SLB Fungicide Resistance Details

2024 NYS Dry Bean Meeting and Cutting Event

Event Offers DEC Credits

March 22, 2024
Geneva, NY

The NYS Dry Bean Meeting will be paired with the annual Dry Bean Cutting Event again this year! The morning meeting will include presentations on the latest dry bean research in New York, with topics including market updates, white mold management, western bean cutworm management, dry bean variety testing, and incorporating NY dry beans into schools. 1.5 DEC credits will be available in categories 10, 1a, 21, 23. CCA credits will be available too.

The Dry Bean Cutting will follow the meeting and showcase the canned dry beans from the 2023 Dry Bean Variety Trial. 

View 2024 NYS Dry Bean Meeting and Cutting Event Details

Announcements

Management Practices for High Organic Matter Soils

We are exploring management practices for vegetable farmers with high organic matter soils. These soils are usually found in urban growing areas as urban farmers typically grow in imported soil mixtures that have been constructed over time and in high tunnels where leaching events are limited. In both cases, we see that soil pH and calcium levels can increase due to alkaline irrigation water and with grower inputs such as high levels of compost and/or fertilizer. We commonly see limited plant nutrient uptake due to high soil pH. We have produced four "Management Practices for Urban Soil Health" case studies sharing project updates in our urban cover crop, pH adjustment, and bulk density adjustment work. In each case study, we are looking at the effect of the management practice on soil and crop health. 

Management Practices for Urban Soil Health: Cover Cropping
Management Practices for Urban Soil Health: pH Adjustment
Management Practices for Urban Soil Health: pH Adjustment in NYC
Management Practices for Urban Soil Health: Correcting Nutrient Test Results for Soils with High Organic Matter

2023 Year in Review and 2024 Preview

As the Cornell Vegetable Program reflects on 2023, we want to thank you for your partnership and continued support of our team and the work we do to address issues impacting the commercial vegetable industry in the western and central portion of NYS. Our 2023 Year in Review and 2024 Preview report highlights of some of the many research and outreach programs led by our team members over the last year plus a look ahead to some of our plans for 2024.
  • Use of Ground Barriers as a New Strategy for Swede Midge in Brassicas for Small Organic and Urban Farms
  • Cornell Vegetable Program Responds to Late Blight in 2023
  • Working Groups Help to Improve the Western NY Food System
  • Field Trials Completed to Test Lasers as a Bird Deterrent in Sweet Corn
  • Increased Monitoring of Western Bean Cutworm in Dry Beans
  • Sweet Potato Varieties Suitable for Western NY Production?


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