by Mike Mangione
Pumpkins in the fall marketplace have some of the highest demand from the consumer. Whether wholesaling, or selling at a roadside stand or farmers’ market, there is profitability in growing pumpkins. Planning and preparation for the upcoming season can be an extremely crucial step in any business. Evaluating varietal performance from years past, predicting what the following season will bring, analyzing the customer base and buying trends, forecasting how the weather will be; all of these factors can make for a tough and extensive planning process. Like anything else, the seed industry is constantly evolving. There are new diseases, insect pressures, and environmental stressors that breeders are constantly selecting resistance to, in order to increase the quality of the varieties they introduce to the market. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting which pumpkin seed varieties you should grow for this season.
1. Strong Stems – Look for pumpkin seed varieties that will have thick, well-attached stems that stand out from the competition. Customers will naturally shy away from pumpkins that have short and flimsy stems and gravitate towards pumpkins with impressive, dark, thick stems. Pictured: Cronus and Gladiator
2. Yield – Make sure that the pumpkin varieties you choose will make the highest profit per acre. If you have limited space, a difference between 1,500 fruit per acre and 2,500 fruit per acre can have a huge impact on your overall sales.
3. Maturity – Choose a pumpkin seed variety that is well-adapted to your area. If it has been a wet spring in your area and you have missed your normal planting window, you may want to stay away from a 110-115 day variety. Look at earlier maturing varieties around 95-100 days to help make up the time you’ve lost due to the wet weather. Not having pumpkins ready to sell when you need them can be detrimental to your fall sales.
4. Disease Protection – Powdery mildew is one of the most common diseases faced by growers today. If powdery mildew is an issue, choose pumpkin seed varieties that offer intermediate-resistance to this disease. While they are not completely resistant, they do offer enough protection to help ensure a high quality crop.
Pictured: Aladdin and Kratos.
View Harris Seeds' Pumpkin Chart for relative days, weight, diameter, stem, shape, color, seeds/lb, and spacing.