Pumpkin fruits range in size from miniatures weighing less than 1 pound to 1,000-pound giants. Choose thick-walled pie pumpkin varieties for cooking and baking, and varieties with thinner flesh for Halloween carving.

by Dani Yokhna
PHOTO: Patrick Slaven/Flickr

Size: Full-sized vines grow up to 12 feet long; miniature vines grow 5 to 6 feet long. Each vine produces separate male and female flowers and develops several fruits per vine.

Sunlight requirements: Full sun (A minimum of six hours is ideal.)

Water requirements: About 1 inch per week

Soil requirements: Highly fertile soil, rich in organic matter

When to plant: Direct-seed in late spring when soil temperatures reach 65 degrees F, or start seeds indoors in peat pots three weeks before transplanting.

Where to plant: Garden

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When to harvest: 100 to 120 days after seeding, when pumpkin rinds have fully colored and hardened

Produce storage: Store in a cool, dry place (55 to 65 degrees is ideal) for several months. Harvest with several inches of stem intact for optimum shelf life.

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