The Jack O’Lantern Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) is an ideal multi-use, true pumpkin for carving and for consumption. Each fruit averages about 12-18 lbs. and has smooth firm, bright orange skin. The mildly sweet flesh is ideal for canning and cooking. The seeds make a delicious and nutritious snack. Harvest when the skin is bright orange and hard and the stems are starting to shrivel. Leave as long of a stem as possible on the harvested pumpkin.
Planting Tips for Jack O’Lantern Pumpkin:
Pumpkins are friends with corn, melon and squash. You can also plant marigolds, nasturtium and oregano with your pumpkins to help deter pests. Very sensitive to frost, so wait until the days temps average 70 deg F. before putting out. Pumpkins do best when planted directly outside, but in areas with shorter growing times should start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost. Allow for good drainage, ample room and protect from wind. Mulching around the base of plants helps keep weeds out and moisture in.
Germ: 10-14 days
Maturity: 100-110 days
Net Wt. per Packet: 2 grams
Approximate Seed Count: 12-20 Seeds/Packet
All pumpkins are squash, but not all squash are pumpkins! Pumpkins all belong to one particular species of squash, Cucurbita pepo that is generally characterized by certain characteristics like its leaves and stem and color (orange). These come in many shapes and sizes. Other pepo squashes include zucchini, pattypan, yellow summer, acorn, spaghetti and others. Native Americans domesticated pepo squash from wild gourds in Mexico some 8,000 – 10,000 years ago. These first pumpkins had the characteristic orange pigmentation that we now consider true pumpkins. Another group of Native Americans in eastern North America domesticated another gourd, forming a new line of pepo squashes that were primarily green, yellow and white skinned. Botanists apply the name pumpkin to only the line of pepo squashes, but the public does not. For instance, the Cinderella ‘Pumpkin’, otherwise known as Rouge vif’ d’Etampes is actually a Cucurbita maxima, a species that originated in South America. Big Max ‘Pumpkin’ is also an orange-skinned C. maxima squash species and Cheese ‘Pumpkin’ is actually a Cucurbita moschata species originating from South or Central America as is Butternut squash.