Preserving Your Fall Pumpkins!

“… Just for one’s health… it is very necessary to work in the garden and to see the flowers growing.”
Vincent Gogh

If you’re like me, you want pumpkins from September through Thanksgiving! But how do we keep them from rotting prematurely & preventing little critters (AKA squirrels & others) from chewing them to pieces you ask? Well there are a few ways to stop them.

I’m going to discuss both a natural & chemical way to preserve your pumpkins. You choose the path you feel most comfortable with.

The natural way to deter critters from gnawing away at your beautiful pumpkins is by using cayenne pepper!

Please note, if you accidently purchase a pumpkin with any cuts, scratches, deep wounds, or if the stem is broken off this alternative will not work. The cayenne pepper will simply deter insects & critters from attempting to eat them, it will not prevent rotting.

Using Cayenne pepper is a natural alternative to chemical means. It is very easy & inexpensive, however you will need to reapply the pepper after each rain.

Rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks will take one taste & quickly scurry away!

It’s cute, but it will destroy your beautiful pumpkins!

The not so natural way.

An alternative way to keep those critters at bay is to simply coat each of your pumpkins, gourds & even your Indian corn with clear acrylic spray. This is also an inexpensive way to protect them, however you do not want to toss these pumpkins into your garden as compost. I happen to live on seven acres with five of those being woods. We generally toss our corn stalks, pumpkins, Christmas trees &  any other live garlands into our woods. They naturally compost, act as habitat for the wild life, and of course food for the animals as well.

Depending on how many pumpkins & gourds you have purchase 2 to 3 cans of clear acrylic spray.

Taking a damp rag or paper towel wipe down any debris and moisture on your pumpkin or gourd.

Watch my video on how to appropriately spray your pumpkin with clear acrylic spray!

How to pick the perfect pumpkins!

I wanted to share a few tips & tricks on choosing the perfect pumpkin. 

First, be sure the pumpkin or gourd has a securely connected stem. If it is loose at all, or even worse broken off DON’T buy it… no matter how cute it is, no matter how perfect it is, walk away. It will rot and attract insects & critters that will be happy to chew away at it.

This pumpkin has a securely attached stem and no wounds or knicks.

The stem of this pumpkin is broken off. It will rot much more quickly as well as attract insects & critters.

Secondly, be sure there are no cuts or wounds on your pumpkins.
Unfortunately even with our best attempts to be cautious, we can miss them. A perfect example is the pumpkin I used in my video. In this case the price tag was covering the large wound & I had no idea until I took it home and removed the sticker. I was so thankful I did as this allowed me to take care of it.

This is a very deep wound, so as you saw in the video I sprayed a lot of acrylic spray into it.

With this wound using cayenne pepper unfortunately would not work.

Lastly, support your local farmers & farmers markets with the purchase of your pumpkins and other holiday decorations. As we continue to spend our dollars locally, it naturally benefits our community.

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Happy Day,
Jean